Poinsettia breeder Franz Fruehwirth dies at 83

Franz Fruehwirth

Franz Fruehwirth

December 28, 2015 poinsettia breeder Franz Fruehwirth passed away. He reached the age of 83. On his website he explains how he as a native of Hungary, was trained as a tailor in Germany, then came to America and became a self-taught poinsettia breeder. His curriculum vitae on that website is as follows: “By 1968, Fruehwirth had developed the first marketable long-lasting variety (C-1), and in 1985 he set a new industry standard with the first hardy dark-green leafed variety called ‘Lilo’. The ‘Freedom’ variety premiered in 1991 and combined long-lasting quality with dark-green leaves and vibrant dark-red bracts. It continues to dominate poinsettia production in the United States and represents 60 percent of all poinsettia sales. In 1998, his career-long vision and persistence led to the breeding breakthrough which transformed Ecke’s unknown ‘Flaming Sphere’ into today’s popular ‘Winter Rose’. Besides its success as a potted plant, ‘Winter Rose’ brought poinsettias from Paul Ecke’s Ranch back to the cut flower market.”