Franz Fruehwirth
with Winter Rose



Franz with Winter Rose in a field of Flaming Spheres A native of Hungary, Franz was trained as a tailor in Germany, then came to America and became a self-taught poinsettia breeder.

Poinsettias in the early 1960's were fragile and tender plants with light green foliage, flexible stems and short life spans. By 1968, Franz 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 Ecke poinsettias back to the cut flower market.


Thank you for stopping by! If you would like to leave a message, please click the link below:


April 6, 2003 ~ San Diego Union-Tribune "Fruehwirth Honored" by Mary Hellerman James

April 4, 2003 ~
AHS Luther Burbank Award
May 13, 2002 ~ We mourn the loss but celebrate the life of Paul Ecke Jr.

September, 2000 ~ After 38 years at the Paul Ecke Ranch, Franz retires

October 7, 1999 ~ Congressional Record

September 30, 1999 ~ San Diego Union-Tribune "Encinitas Poinsettia Breeder to be Recognized" by Dan Kraft December 13, 1998 ~ San Diego Union-Tribune "Winter Wonder" by Debra Lee Baldwin

1998 ~ 'Winter Rose' makes its debut

1992 ~ Paul Ecke III becomes sole owner of the Ecke Ranch

1991 ~ Paul Ecke, Sr. leaves us with wonderful memories (1895-1991)
1991 ~ The 'Freedom' variety premieres

1985 ~ Franz introduces 'Lilo', the poinsettia

1968 ~ Franz develops 'C-1', the first long-lasting variety with good looks

1963 ~ Paul Ecke Jr. becomes president of the Paul Ecke Ranch

November 1962 ~ Franz returns to the Paul Ecke Ranch and is eventually introduced to poinsettias by Paul Ecke Sr. (more )

July 1, 1960 ~ Franz leaves Germany and brings his family to America where fate brings them to the Paul Ecke Ranch on their first night (more)