Christmas trees, lights and a mechanical Santa Claus are worthy household decorations to celebrate the holidays.
But for the hundreds of Manatee area residents that traditonally attend Orban Nursery's once-a-year open house, it doesn't get any better than purchasing a blooming poinsettia.
Thousands of poinsettias -- 100,000 to be exact -- will be on display and available for sale from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the nursery at 9601 Ninth Ave. N.W. A portion of the proceeds will go to benefit Southeastern Guide Dogs.
Ice Punch, a poinsettia that is white in the center, Winter Rose, Sparkling Punch, a mix of white and red foliage, and Luv U Pink, which was sold during October Breast Cancer Awareness Month and for Mother's Day, are some of the variations of poinsettia available. The plants will cost between $3 to $50. The 14-
inch buckets are $50.
"Everybody wants something different," said Marty Orban, owner of Orbans Nursery.
The open house is the only day of the year the public is invited to the 30-acre nursery. The public gets a chance to see more than the blooming poinsettias before they are shipped to garden centers, Publix stores and other locations. On Monday, a shipment of plants were sent to Orlando International Airport.
Orban expects as many as 500 cars will visit the nursery on Saturday, which marks the nursery's 22nd annual open house.
"It's kind of interesting to see how everyone reacts when they come out here," said Tyler Orban, Marty's 21-year-old son. "We see it everyday."
Poinsettias grow wild in Mexico and were introduced to the United States in 1825 by minister Joel Roberts Poinsett. Marty Orban said the plants can live until March if the owner keeps it moist.
The Orbans have been growing plants for decades. Marty's father grew plants in Ohio awnd continued the business in Florida when he opened the Bradenton nursery in 1974. Marty Orban took over the business in 1977.
"It's in my blood," Marty Orban said. "My dad has done this since the 1940s."
In addition to the poinsettia, ferns, herbs, tomatoes, annuals and hundreds of roses will be on sale.
"It's like buying produce," Marty Orban said. "It's fresh."