By MATT CRANE
The Mississippi State University Horticulture Club is getting into the holiday spirit with its annual Christmas plant sale Friday.
Club President Marianne Spitchley said the sale focuses on selling poinsettias, raised by Horticulture students since the beginning of the semester, as well as Amaryllis and Paper Whites which are currently in bloom.
"For the poinsettias, we have different color choices and all different sizes," she said. "Most Amaryllis bulbs at this time you cannot find in bloom, so this is a real treat for our club to offer to Starkville plant lovers."
For purchasers of pink poinsettias, Spitchley said $1 from each sale will go toward the Susan B. Komen Foundation thanks to a tradition started by former club member Anna Horton.
"I think it is very important to donate to any foundation, and being a strong supporter of the fight against breast cancer, this is a wonderful opportunity for our club to show support," she said. "The rest of the profit will go toward the cost of seeds for our spring sale and our upcoming competition in Orlando, Fla. on Feb. 3, 2013."
Spitchley said the plants available during Friday's sale are all season Christmas plants that will add the perfect touch to any holiday decorating.
"The brilliant colors that these plants provides are so pretty to look at around the holidays," she said. "I know when I pass through a room and see these plants, it puts a smile on my face, and I hope others share that same joy."
The greatest joy of her horticulture work, Spitchley said, comes from understanding the growing and caring process each plant requires, as well as working with the friends in her major who share the same passion as she.
"We all have learned so much together in the past three years and I fully believe that begin in this club has taught me a great amount," she said. "Watching these plants develop over the semester is very cool to me."
Spitchley said the poinsettias available for sale started as plugs that have been growing in the MSU Greenhouse since August.
"It's amazing how small the plant starts off, and week by week gradually gets bigger, and branches out until eventually the leaves turn to color and the bracts establish in the center," she said. "It's not all easy work, but it is definitely rewarding seeing our plants develop beautiful foliage and blooms to go home to our valuable customers."
Spitchley said she and the club are very excited about the upcoming Christmas sale, and said she believes buying plants locally is beneficial to the Starkville community, keeping local growers in business and providing a familiarity when buying flowers and landscaping items.
"Knowing that the plant sitting on your mantle or coffee table has been grown on the MSU campus is very amazing," she said. "Most of the time people buy plants and have no clue where they have been grown, and our customers get the satisfaction of knowing exactly where the plant is coming from."
The MSU Horticulture Club's Christmas plant sale begins Friday from 8 a.m.-5:30 p.m.