Poinsettias are leaving the Dallas Johnson Greenhouse in Iowa by the truckloads this week. Council Bluffs grower and CEO Todd Johnson and his crew began cultivating about 200,000 poinsettias back in early summer. Now show worthy, these stars of the holiday season are being shipped by the thousands to stores across the region. If you’ve bought a poinsettia at a Menards or a Lowe’s, your plant likely was cultivated by Dallas Johnson Greenhouse.
The company was founded in 1985 with just one acre of greenhouse production. Today it is the 20th largest greenhouse operation in the country, boasting 60 acres of greenhouse space. Dallas Johnson Greenhouse grows and ships 80 million plants a year, most in the 12-week spring season. Spring represents 85 percent of the company’s sales.
“We average 25 to 30 semi-trucks a day in the spring,” says Johnson, president and CEO of the business that was founded by his father.
The trucks aren’t as numerous in November and December, but they still come, ensuring year-round revenue for a business that proved recession-proof in the county’s latest downturn. As consumers traded expensive vacations for more modest home and yard improvements, Dallas Johnson Greenhouse grew, meeting an increased demand for mums in the fall, poinsettias at Christmas, lilies for Easter, hanging baskets on Mother’s Day and bedding plants for the summer garden.
Dallas Johnson Greenhouse has invested in technology and expertise to keep up with the growth of live plant sales at mass merchandisers. It isn’t enough to deliver a vibrant, healthy plant, Johnson said. He also has a team of trained merchandisers who ensure retailers know how to properly water the plants, set up displays and load racks.
“If we can get the product to the stores looking beautiful,” Johnson said, “they don’t stay on the shelves very long.”
Instead they end up in our homes, where they add beauty to our holidays and gardens. So enjoy the poinsettias this Christmas season. They could be the handiwork of Dallas Johnson Greenhouse.