Spring Trials 2014: Beautiful Introductions And Smart Marketing Dominate On Day 1

Love and Wishes salvia from Sunset WesternGarden CollectionSpring Trials 2014 got off to a strong start, with warm weather supplanting the much needed rainfall during the two weeks leading up to the Trials opening. This is the second year that the Trial sites have been brought closer together by moving the Southern California stops to either Central or Northern California.

Today, the Greenhouse Grower editors visited Danziger, Golden State Bulb Growers, Benary and Pacific Plug & Liner, some of which hosted other breeders as well.

Danziger (And Headstart)

An entire wall of new introductions greeted us as we walked into the Danziger trials. The varieties were color blocked with nine of each new introduction in color-coordinated pots grouped together, making a strong impact.

Several of the new introductions are more heat tolerant than past varieties: Bacopa scopia ‘Double Indigo,’ osteospermum Ostica series and its osteospermum Osticade series. Both osteospermum series require no vernalization and can grow in higher temperatures.

Other standout introductions from Danziger include petunia ‘Salmon Ray,’ which has an unusually strong orange hue, petunia ‘Cascadia Autumn Mystery,’ which has the same breeding on last year’s best performer, ‘Indian Summer.’

Headstart had its new cyclamen on display. ‘Ageha Pink Double’ blooms have an unusual umbrella habit and ruffled petals. The ruffled petals and leaves are repeated in several other Headstart varieties, including the Hirari series. Headstart also had an experimental tissue culture variety on display, which garnered a lot of interest from attendees.

Golden State Bulb Growers

Golden State Bulb Growers wants to help growers extend the sales window for callas, and most of its calla displays were geared to show how that could be done. Summer, fall and Christmas-themed calla displays captured the mood of each season. The staff mentioned that Halloween and Day of the Dead would be especially appropriate for callas, given callas early association with funerals. The Day Of The Dead has an added bonus of appealing to the growing Latin American demographic.

Golden State Bulb also had some eye-catching introductions from breeder Brian Corrreiar. The eucomis Aloha Lilies series transforms the usual pungent, unpleasant odor of eucomis (since it relies on flies as pollinators) into a lovely, coconut-like fragrance.

The second was Correiar-bred plant was sciila ‘Caribbean Jewels Sapphire Blue.’ It’s a low-input plant with a true bulb. It also naturalizes well. Expect more colors in the coming years.

Peter Beckman, Golden State’s calla breeder, developed the brand new series, Callafornia, which is highly floriferous with a more symmetrical mounded habit. Each plant had about seven to eight blooms, which were more upright instead of nodding, emphasizing its American roots with the California series name. Callafornia series plants are easy to handle and ship.

Benary
One of Benary’s big introductions is the Success series of petunias, in which all the varieties finish within six days of each other. The red, white and blue mix, Liberty, includes a red variety that finishes within an even shorter window than its companion plants and has excellent germination rates. Success has all new genetics.

Benary had great merchandising, complete with handouts growers can give to their retail customers so they can duplicate the marketing ideas. One such idea was a how-to on creating a fun-house mirror. Benary created two mirrors as part of its new Admire viola series display, which had a mirror theme.

In the Big Begonia display area, Benary offered a frothy pink cocktail, which is created from a 1930s-era recipe. The begonia series has seen a big boost in sales as a result of the concerns with impatiens downy mildew.

In the next room over, Benary hired a graffiti artist to create the signage for its Graffiti pentas series. It also set up a board with a cart stocked with spray paint cans and paint pens so visitors could add their own graffiti art.

Pacific Plug & Liner

Sunset/Southern Living collections: Offering attractive, drought-tolerant plants is especially important for Sunset plants, which targets West Coast consumers, many of whom live in arid climates and who have been suffering through a drought this past year. A couple new introductions that fit in this category are the digiplexis ‘Illumination Flame,’ which has a solid apricot color with no pink, and two salvias, ‘Love and Wishes’ salvia and ‘Ember’s Wish.’ The salvias honor the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Southern Living emphasized a yellow-berry, fringe-leaf mahonia, ‘Soft Caress,’  that won best of show at last year’s Chelsea Flower Show. It also introduced a dashing new nadina intro, ‘Lemon Lime,’ which boasts a vibrant lemon-lime hue in its new growth leaves.

MPS: MPS continues to add growers, while some of the established growers are beginning to add another layer of certification, Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), along with the more commonly used ABC system.

Pacific Plug & Liner: Some of the most talked about introductions of the day were from PP&L. Hula Berries, a white strawberry with red seeds has a distinct pineapple flavor. A popular fruit in Europe, it has taken two years for it to move out of quarantine here in the U.S. It will be in limited release in 2015 with 200,000 units produced. It requires both a male and female plant, about one male to every four females.

Also on display was the highly anticipated Echibeckia Summerina series. Only the brown variety was on display, which has yellow tips and a pronounced eye. The yellow and orange varieties were not yet on display, since they had not yet fully bloomed in the production greenhouse.

Vivero: This is a 100-acre cuttings producer located south of Mexico City that has licensed and supplied American breeders, but this is the first time it is bringing its own production to the American market. Two of its standout introductions for 2014 were a couple of geraniums: ‘GEN Hot Spot Kiss’ and ‘Pac Darko Velvet Red’

Cultivaris: The breeder had many new varieties. The standouts were:

  • ‘Bella’ mandevilla has large flowers but is a compact plant. Josh Schneider says Cultivalis will begin shipping calloused cuttings by midsummer. Schneider also says the variety does not require PGRs to attain its compact form.
  • ‘Amber Alert’ gazania is among the varieties that have been named through crowd sourcing. Schneider posted a photo of the new variety on his Facebook page and asked for suggestions. He had a strong response. Another amusing variety name is the ‘Cloud 8’ verbena. “It’s too short to be called Cloud 9.”
  • The digiplexis ‘Berry Canary’ does not require vernalization.
Topics: ,

Leave a Reply

More From Business Management...

April 26, 2016

“Bee-Friendly” Labels Matter To Plant Consumers, According To Study

Research at Michigan State University shows ornamental plant buyers understand and respond to bee-friendly production practices.

Read More
University of Florida Online Greenhouse Training Courses

April 25, 2016

University of Florida Offering Online Training Courses For Greenhouse Growers

There will be five courses offered, with the first starting on May 30. Courses are available in both English and Spanish and range from beginner level to advanced education.

Read More
HGTV_2015CAST

April 24, 2016

9 Business Predictions Smart Brands Should Pay Attention To

Andreas von der Heydt, Director of Kindle at Amazon, recently predicted what smart businesses will do in 2016 to strengthen their brands and promote their products.

Read More
Latest Stories

April 26, 2016

“Bee-Friendly” Labels Matter To Plant Consumers, Accord…

Research at Michigan State University shows ornamental plant buyers understand and respond to bee-friendly production practices.

Read More
University of Florida Online Greenhouse Training Courses

April 25, 2016

University of Florida Offering Online Training Courses …

There will be five courses offered, with the first starting on May 30. Courses are available in both English and Spanish and range from beginner level to advanced education.

Read More
HGTV_2015CAST

April 24, 2016

9 Business Predictions Smart Brands Should Pay Attentio…

Andreas von der Heydt, Director of Kindle at Amazon, recently predicted what smart businesses will do in 2016 to strengthen their brands and promote their products.

Read More
Lin Schmale 1996

April 23, 2016

SAF’s Lin Schmale Offers Lessons From An Industry…

Schmale represented the floriculture industry on Capitol Hill for more than 20 years. The advocate has recently retired, and shares some valuable insights from her career.

Read More
Scott Schaefer Aris CEO

April 22, 2016

New Aris CEO Scott Schaefer Looks Forward To Dealing Wi…

Schaefer, who has been with Aris for 15 years, grew up working at his family’s greenhouse operation in Illinois.

Read More
Krause Berry Farms Farm To Table Dinner

April 20, 2016

What The Floriculture Industry Can Learn From Farm Mark…

Although we have a lot in common with the produce industry, there is much we can learn from one another.

Read More
Janeen Wright

April 18, 2016

Three Lessons From A Master Greenhouse Vegetable Grower

Three lessons from greenhouse vegetable grower Casey Houweling that you can apply to your business.

Read More
Costa Farms Container Ideas E-Book

April 12, 2016

Costa Farms Targets Consumers With New Container Garden…

The electronic book offers tips on container selection, design, and plant care for millennials looking to grow in small spaces.

Read More
An Edible Evening At Stephen F Austin

April 11, 2016

How The Greenhouse Industry Can Propagate Gardeners The…

Jared Barnes at Stephen F. Austin University says we are the experts at propagating plants. That’s knowledge we can put to good use to envision how to attract new gardeners and future horticulturists to the industry.

Read More
Sanitation programs are essential to preventing and removing food safety concerns.

April 7, 2016

USDA Launches GroupGAP Program For Fruit And Vegetable …

The new certification program is designed to help small and mid-size growers, including greenhouse vegetable producers, comply with new food safety regulations.

Read More
Tropical Fruit Tree Selection (Hopkins Tropical Fruit Nursery)

April 7, 2016

University Of Florida Research Shows Consumers Value Lo…

Compared to conventional plants, consumers reported a higher purchasing likelihood for certified organic or organically produced fruit plants.

Read More
Congressional Action Days 2016

April 5, 2016

Floral Industry Leaders Make Progress And (In Some Case…

Nearly 90 floral industry members gathered in the nation’s capital in March to meet with lawmakers in the annual event coordinated by the Society of American Florists.

Read More
Casey Houweling, owner of Houweling's Tomatoes

April 4, 2016

Houweling’s Tomatoes Grows Produce With Mastery Under G…

Houweling’s Tomatoes, winner of Greenhouse Grower’s Excellence in Vegetable Production award for 2015, exceeds industry standards for locally grown produce while pioneering innovative technologies that improve sustainability.

Read More
Student Video Horticulture Education

April 2, 2016

Use Videos Featuring Your Millennial Employees To Recru…

Your Millennial employees may be the best spokespeople you have for your business. Why not encourage them to make a 30-second video talking about why they got into horticulture?

Read More
Random Acts Of Flowers

March 31, 2016

The Floriculture Industry Needs A Unified Message To Pr…

Seeing the sneak preview of the new varieties that will be presented at California Spring Trials (CAST) spurs a visceral reaction in me. I’m giddy and excited about these gorgeous plants, having taken in some of their beauty and excellent performance already at Costa Farms’ Season Premier. I’m excited to travel to Spring Trials and that spring is coming, and I’m ready to dig in and get gardening. I’m guessing many of you feel the same way. And it’s likely that consumers do, too. Nearly a year ago, upon returning from California Spring Trials, I lamented the absence of ideas translated from CAST to retail. The beautiful displays, the breathtaking combinations, the clever marketing — somehow, all of that effort and enthusiasm focused on business-to-business promotion is not being funneled effectively to the consumer. As an industry, we are not good at working together to market our products in a clear, […]

Read More
Sakata Seed America President David Armstrong

March 30, 2016

Sakata Signs Agreement With Indonesian Government To Co…

This week, Sakata Seed Corp. announced internationally that it has signed an agreement with the Republic of Indonesia to cooperate in the further development and production of its line of SunPatiens interspecific hybrid impatiens, based on the principles of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). Under an agreement based on the CBD, Sakata Seed has worked with the Indonesian government since the early 2000s to identify the origin of the native germplasm collected in Indonesia to develop SunPatiens, and the two parties have agreed on how the indigenous genetic resources will be used for the further development of SunPatiens. There are currently only a few cases in the world of such an agreement, based on the CBD in the category of horticultural plants, made between a resource-rich country and a commercial seed company. Greenhouse Grower contacted Sakata Seed CEO David Armstrong to provide context about this agreement, what it means […]

Read More
One symptom of Botrytis blight is gray, fuzzy sporulation on foliage and flowers, similar to that shown on the flower of this hibiscus

March 25, 2016

American Floral Endowment Will Fund Research Projects A…

AFE’s primary research funding priorities cover everything from pest control to production management. Funding applications are due June 1.

Read More
NGI-SunPatiens-Compact-Hot-Coral-Sakata

March 23, 2016

P. Allen Smith Says SunPatiens Are Hero Plants For Cons…

Plants that ensure consumer success with disease resistance bred into their genetics, and ease of use in a variety of conditions, are heroes for gardeners, especially beginners, and they should be celebrated and supported to promote gardening success and interest. These are the messages the award-winning designer, gardening, and lifestyle expert P. Allen Smith wants the horticulture industry to know, with the recent announcement of his expanded partnership with Sakata Seed. In an exclusive interview with Greenhouse Grower, P. Allen Smith describes his expanded partnership with Sakata Seed to promote SunPatiens and why the now 10-year-old series helps both novice and expert gardeners to be successful. Smith also collaborates with Sakata to promote the HomeGrown Collection of vegetables. SunPatiens Set Consumers Up For Success, Smith Says As a plantsman first, Smith has extensively trialed SunPatiens in his gardens at Moss Mountain Farm in Little Rock, AR, and says he is […]

Read More
[gravityform id="35" title="false" description="false"]