Benary Is Big On Breeding

Benary Is Big On Breeding

The timing couldn’t be better to present German flower breeder Benary with our Medal of Excellence for Industry Achievement. This year and next, Benary is celebrating its 100-year milestone of introducing the very first F1 hybrid, which happened to be in its signature genus, begonias.

Introduced in 1909, the begonia was ‘Prima-Donna,’ the first tetraploid F1 hybrid begonia and a semperflorens type. Breakthrough begonias that followed include:

- ‘Tausendschön,’ the first triploid F1 hybrid and a semperflorens type.

- Nonstop tuberous begonias that revolutionized the bedding plant market in 1972 and remain the industry standard.

- Party and Cocktail series in semperflorens types, with Cocktail remaining the most popular bronze-leafed series asked for by name. These series have been upgraded for earliness with the Olympia Sprints.

- The new BIG series, introduced at the California Pack Trials, is an interspecific cross. Robust plants offer large flowers and glossy leaves that flourish in sun or shade in Red with Green Leaf, Red with Bronze Leaf and Rose with Bronze Leaf.

In other exciting news, Benary has brought a new genus to market with Ptilotus ‘Joey,’ which is nominated for all three of our breeding awards this year. Benary also helped the city of Denver celebrate its 150th anniversary by breeding a new rudbeckia just for the city called ‘Denver Daisy.’

A Fascinating Heritage

Ernst Benary founded his own seed breeding company in 1843 in Erfurt, Germany, after traveling throughout Europe, gathering extensive knowledge about breeding varieties from seed. His guiding principles, which remain to this day, were premium quality genetics and innovation.

From the very beginning, the business grew internationally. Erfurt was a budding industrial giant in the world of vegetable and flower seed production because of its ideal climate. It didn’t take long for Benary to be recognized by leaders in the field. His pea seed was used by Gregor Mendel in his famous genetic experiments. There was even Benary Seed on the Titanic en route to the United States when the ship sank.

By 1912, the business had developed into one of the world’s premier seed companies with more than 200 employees and more than 140 acres under cultivation. Then, during World War I, many of the male employees and family members were drawn into the military and did not return from the war. Almost all exports collapsed and the company was forced to shift from flowers to vegtetables to supply domestic needs.

At that same time, new seed production centers were established in California, Japan and The Netherlands. Ernst’s grandsons, Ernst II and Heinrich Benary worked hard to rebuild the business focusing on innovative breeding. In 1927, Benary introduced the first F1 hybrid tomato, ‘Heterosis.’

During this time of restructuring, the Nazi regime emerged, causing problems for the company. Although the founder, Ernst Benary I, had converted from Jewish to Protestant religion shortly before he married, his Jewish ancestry caused problems for the family. At the beginning of World War II, Friedrich Benary II, the oldest son, and his cousin, Heinz, volunteered for military service to protect their families from anti-Semitic persecution.

Heinz did not return from the war, and shortly after Friedrich returned, the family business was disowned by the East German government and Benary was forced to move to sustain the business. Friedrich fled to Western Germany and rebuilt the business in the middle of Germany in the town of Hannoversch Mönden. Because the majority of the breeding projects were left in Erfurt, Friedrich traveled throughout Europe by bicycle to collect seeds to start new breeding efforts.

He was a gifted and passionate breeder, and due to his talent and enthusiasm, the family business was able to rebuild its international contacts and produce new breeding lines. In the 1960s, Benary returned its focus exclusively to flower seed breeding.

An Independent Spirit Lives On

In 2006, Benary completed its succession into the sixth generation. The company has 250 employees and sells 80 percent of its seed abroad to more than 110 countries. In addition to begonias, key crops include pentas and rudbeckia, all of which Benary holds global market share. The company also is one of the leaders in perennial breeding, focusing on niches. 

Today, Benary has an assortment of more than 2,000 annual and perennial items, including more than 200 F1 hybrids. Among these are nearly 20 All-America Selection winners, such as rudbeckia ‘Prairie Sun,’ gaillardia ‘Arizona Sun,’ celosia ‘Fresh Look’ and Salvia farinacea ‘Evolution.’  A passion for breeding has been the heartbeat of Benary for more than 165 years. It has helped the family business overcome national and corporate crises, while yielding fascinating new introductions. As a family business, Benary is proud of its history of independence and believes the best and most innovative creations can only arise from a free spirit. Its strategy is not to become a large breeding conglomerate but to remain independent and focus on its core strengths of quality, reliability and innovation. 

We are proud to honor Benary for its heritage and global achievements in floriculture. 

Leave a Reply

5 comments on “Benary Is Big On Breeding

More From ...
Hendriks-Half-Open-Roof_GGS

March 26, 2015

10 Greenhouse Products For First-Rate Growing Environments

From coverings to fork-lifts, greenhouse suppliers offer a variety of products to make growing easier. Check out the slideshow to learn more about these, plus several other products that can offer you value, versatility and durability.

Read More
Rose rosette on Knockout rose, April 2012. Photo credit: Alan Windham, University of Tennessee

March 25, 2015

$58 Million In APHIS Farm Bill Funding Will Support Horticulture Priorities

Nearly $58 million as been allocated by the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to support the industry's Plant Pest and Disease Management and Disaster Prevention Program, under Farm Bill Section 10007. The program will support mitigation efforts for specialty crops, including providing research and other funding to address plant pest and disease priorities for the specialty crop industry, including floriculture and nursery crops.

Read More
AFE scholarship_Ryan Dickson

March 25, 2015

AFE Educational Grant And Scholarship Application Deadlines Approaching

Apply now for American Floral Endowment (AFE) scholarships or educational grants. Applications can be found online. For educational grants for 2015-2016, applications must be submitted no later than June 1. Scholarship applications are due May 1. AFE will award $40,000 in scholarships for 2015.

Read More
Latest Stories
Hendriks-Half-Open-Roof_GGS

March 26, 2015

10 Greenhouse Products For First-Rate Growing Environme…

From coverings to fork-lifts, greenhouse suppliers offer a variety of products to make growing easier. Check out the slideshow to learn more about these, plus several other products that can offer you value, versatility and durability.

Read More
Rose rosette on Knockout rose, April 2012. Photo credit: Alan Windham, University of Tennessee

March 25, 2015

$58 Million In APHIS Farm Bill Funding Will Support Hor…

Nearly $58 million as been allocated by the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to support the industry's Plant Pest and Disease Management and Disaster Prevention Program, under Farm Bill Section 10007. The program will support mitigation efforts for specialty crops, including providing research and other funding to address plant pest and disease priorities for the specialty crop industry, including floriculture and nursery crops.

Read More
AFE scholarship_Ryan Dickson

March 25, 2015

AFE Educational Grant And Scholarship Application Deadl…

Apply now for American Floral Endowment (AFE) scholarships or educational grants. Applications can be found online. For educational grants for 2015-2016, applications must be submitted no later than June 1. Scholarship applications are due May 1. AFE will award $40,000 in scholarships for 2015.

Read More

March 25, 2015

13 New Shrubs You’ll Find At The 2015 California …

Woody ornamentals serve as the foundation of many great landscapes, but beyond their traditional uses, shrubs also add color, structure, texture and interest to small gardens and even containers. Check out this slideshow to see some of the newest introductions you’ll get to see at this year’s California Spring Trials.

Read More

March 25, 2015

NASS Reports U.S. Honey Production Was Up By 19 Percent…

Honey production in 2014 from producers with five or more colonies totaled 178 million pounds, up 19 percent from 2013, according to a March 20 report from the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS).

Read More
Bloomtown_Screen Shot 2015-03-10

March 24, 2015

Bloomtown Exposes Consumers To The World Of Horticultur…

A new web series called Bloomtown is all about the mud, sweat and tears of horticulture. Filmed in St. Louis, Mo., it chronicles the world of horticulture using local flower growers, greenhouses, wholesalers, florists, consumers, retail shops and arborists, with the goal of opening consumers’ eyes to the world of horticulture around them.

Read More
OxiPhos_BioSafe2

March 23, 2015

BioSafe Makes Label Changes To OxiPhos And ZeroTol 2.0

There have been some recent label changes made to the BioSafe Systems product OxiPhos, a systemic bactericide/fungicide that reduces downy mildew spores when tank mixed with ZeroTol 2.0.

Read More

March 23, 2015

UF/IFAS Appoints Joseph Albano As Director Of Mid-Flori…

The University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) has a new directors for its Mid-Florida Research and Education Center (REC) on Apopka, Fla. The role has been filled by Joseph Albano, a research horticulturist from the U.S. Department of Agriculture with more than 25 years of experience.

Read More
Nufarm_logo

March 23, 2015

Nufarm Fungicides Now Registered For Use On Edible Crop…

Nufarm Americas announced label expansions for two of its fungicides that will provide more pest management options for the ornamental industry. The Cleary 3336 F and EG fungicides are now registered for use across a wider range of edible crops, including select greenhouse vegetables and transplants, herbs and backyard fruit.

Read More

March 23, 2015

Update To Armitage’s Greatest Perennials & Annuals …

A new update to the Greatest Perennials & Annuals app narrows the gap between consumers and grower-retailers, while providing more of Armitage’s top picks and growing advice for success with plants.

Read More
Plantbid website screenshot

March 20, 2015

Plantbid Brings Open Sourcing To Greenhouse Growers

Plantbid bridges the gap between buyers and sellers for sales and marketing networking on their own terms. The web-based, plant-sourcing platform aims to save growers time and make the business of buying and selling plants more efficient.

Read More
National Floriculture Forum 2015 029

March 18, 2015

2015 National Floriculture Forum Focuses On Marketing I…

The 2015 National Floriculture Forum, held March 6 to 7 in Minneapolis, Minn., zeroed in on the topic of marketing in horticulture and included visits to Gertens Greenhouses and Garden Center, Bailey Nurseries, Bachman’s Floral, Home and Garden and Tangletown Gardens. The annual meeting allows greenhouse and floriculture faculty, graduate students and industry partners to meet and share updates on current research, issues and initiatives.

Read More

March 18, 2015

H-2B Situation Goes From Bad To Even Worse

On March 5, the Department of Labor (DOL) announced that it will no longer accept or process H-2B labor certifications or requests for H-2B prevailing wage determinations in light of a March 4 decision. Shortly after the DOL announcement, the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Citizenship and Immigration Services followed suit, announcing it will at least temporarily cease approving visa petitions. These announcements essentially shut down the H-2B program for any company that has not completed the DHS H-2B visa petitioning process.

Read More
SAF CAD

March 18, 2015

Growers Ask For Immigration And Healthcare Reform Durin…

Nearly 90 growers, retailers, suppliers and wholesales attended the Society of American Florists' (SAF) 2015 Congressional Action Days March 9-10. The delegation, representing 18 states, arrived on Capitol Hill at a time when two major industry issues - immigration and healthcare reform - are especially prominent in national headlines.

Read More
2014 Poinsettia Season Report

March 18, 2015

Download Greenhouse Grower’s 2014 Poinsettia Seas…

Poinsettia growers report a strong year in 2014, thanks to a few conditions. Seasonal cold at just the right time put consumers in a festive mood to buy early and often, and with no big snowstorms to hold up shipments and a reduction of supply available in the market, the season was strong from start to finish. Greenhouse Grower’s 2014 Poinsettia Survey received 143 responses from growers around the country. Here, you can download the complete results of the survey, by filling out the form.

Read More

March 17, 2015

Pike Nurseries Implements Employee Stock Ownership Plan

Independent garden retailer Pike Nurseries has announced it will become an employee-owned company. Pike Nurseries management has combined with its sister corporation in California, Armstrong Garden Centers, to operate under an established Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP).

Read More
Hydrangea 'Endless Summer BloomStruck' from Bailey Nurseries

March 17, 2015

Michael Dirr Slated To Address Attendees At Hydrangeas …

Dr. Michael Dirr to deliver the keynote address at Hydrangeas 2015 conference, hosted by the Cape Cod Hydrangea Society in partnership with Endless Summer Hydrangeas. The conference will take place at the historic Heritage Museums and Gardens in Sandwich, Mass.

Read More
Bee on a Sedum

March 17, 2015

4 Key Pollinator Research Projects To Be Funded By Hort…

The Horticultural Research Institute will grant $125,000 in financial support for four key projects as part of the Horticultural Industry Bee & Pollinator Stewardship Initiative. The Initiative has three primary goals. First, to convene a task force to develop a bee and pollinator stewardship program, including creation of best management practices for plant production. Second, to identify and fund research that will help answer key science questions and fill gaps needed to design and refine the stewardship program. Third, to seek to positively position the horticultural community and its customers by collaborating with other compatible groups interested in augmenting pollinator habitat and protection.

Read More