Succeeding With Bedding Plants
P. Allen Hammer on making plants grower and consumer friendly.
December 2, 2008
Floriculture plants of the future must be both grower friendly and consumer friendly. Growers must make a profit on each plant they grow and consumers must be drawn to the plant on the retail shelf and receive value in postharvest and/or garden performance. The breeding at Dömmen is focused on producing plants that combine both grower and consumer traits. Important grower characteristics are disease resistance/tolerance, plants that require less greenhouse energy inputs, less plant growth regulator inputs, better branching, day-length neutral for spring plants, cold/heat tolerance, plants that fit automation, excellent shipping and excellent flower/plant "wow" on the retail shelf. Plants with these characteristics reduce production costs with more plants per square foot, less inputs of heating and cooling, less photoperiod lighting requirements, reduced chemical applications, less labor demands and reduced shrink without sacrificing the most important consumer demands. Plant characteristics important for consumers are postharvest/garden performance that include disease resistance/tolerance, thrive under extremes in weather and flower/plant power. Additional consumer characteristics include plants that are different and unique.
Dömmen breeding also recognizes the need for environmentally friendly products. Dömmen is using genetics to minimize greenhouse production inputs of energy and chemicals, creating production sustainability important for both the grower and the environment. It will be increasingly important for breeding programs to use sustainability as a factor in plant selection.
The Dömmen Premium series of poinsettias and potunias are examples of breeding plants for the future. Both of these series provide growers with plants requiring less energy and chemical inputs, easier production, less shrink and that all important "wow" on the retail shelf. They are also plants that perform well and provide value for the consumer - the Premium poinsettia in the holiday setting and the potunia in the planter, hanging basket or garden.
P. Allen Hammer is in Product Development & Support at Dömmen USA.