The Orchid Explosion

The Orchid Explosion

No longer a niche crop for hobbyists, orchids have eclipsed poinsettias as the highest value crop in terms of dollars, according to USDA’s Floriculture Crops Summary, which surveys production and wholesale value in the top 15 floriculture states. While more poinsettias are produced by more growers for the Christmas season, each orchid produced generates considerably more dollars.

In 2010, 678 growers produced 36.1 million poinsettias, generating $146.1 million in wholesale sales in those 15 states. Comparatively, 176 growers produced 21.1 million potted orchids, generating $170.8 million.

“The high value of orchids likely prompted many growers to start producing this crop,” says Yin-Tung Wang, who has been at the forefront of building the market for orchids in the United States for 20 years, first as a plant physiologist at Texas A&M University and more recently as director of research and development and now sales at Matsui Nursery. Wang also serves as executive secretary of the International Commercial Orchid Growers Organization based in Taiwan.

Once a cut rose specialist, Matsui Nursery has nearly 3.5 million square feet of greenhouse production in Salinas, Calif., and just opened a state-of-the-art greenhouse in New Jersey. While phalaenopsis is the bread-and-butter orchid crop, Matsui also specializes in a range of orchid species–cymbidium, dendrobium, encyclia, epidendrum, masdevallia, miltoniopsis, oncidium/intergeneric and zygopetalum. Most of the orchids produced for mass market sales in the United States are phalaenopsis.

Connecting With Consumers
Green Circle Growers chose the “Just Add Ice Orchids” slogan to address consumers’ fear of caring for the plants, and all indications are the campaign is resonating with novices. Large, attractive tags direct consumers to JustAddIceOrchids.com, where they’ll find a wealth of supportive and engaging information and features. Social media is a big component, too.

“We’re getting 40,000 hits a month on our website and have more than 8,000 followers on Facebook,” says Green Circle’s Sales and Marketing Director Scott Giesbrecht. “We posted seven new videos in May and we’ve had 45,000 views on YouTube. Each week, nearly 100 people submit their stories on our blog for a chance to win an orchid. It’s about the connection with the consumer and teaching her. The information we’re giving her is resonating with her.”

In January, Green Circle conducted an extensive survey of more than 2,200 Just Add Ice Orchids customers, capturing their demographics, interests, preferences and experiences. The results revealed the typical buyer is a 50- to 65-year-old married woman, who owns her home and has a high school diploma. She prefers to match the pot color to her home décor instead of to the holiday or season. The styles she likes are traditional, as well as modern, but not country, earthy or antique. And she likes to display her orchid in her living room.

Most of the orchids purchased were white, pink and purple. Although she likes purple and the bicolors, the flower color doesn’t matter for the next orchid she purchases. Eighty percent of the customers rated themselves as beginners and for 78 percent, the purchase was their first orchid. While 59 percent purchased for themselves, 41 percent received the orchid as a gift, with birthdays being the most popular occasion.
Understanding consumers and satisfying their needs is the key to growing sales, Giesbrecht says. “We think there’s a lot more potential, but only if we continue to listen to the consumer and create what she sees as value. We’re also looking at taking this same approach to generate interest in other indoor potted plants.”

Salinas has become “orchid valley,” with major players including Matsui, Rocket Farms and Dutch propagator Floricultura. Florida is another orchid grower hot spot with Costa Farms, Kerry’s Nursery, DeLeon’s Bromeliads and Silver Vase, which introduced the controversial dyed blue orchid, Blue Mystique, at the Tropical Plant Industry Expo in January.

One northern grower that entered the market in a big way is Green Circle Growers in Ohio with its Just Add Ice Orchids program. MidAmerican Growers in Illinois is another production partner. Both are Van Wingerden operations. The first crop debuted at retail in February 2009 for Valentine’s Day sales.
Green Circle has partnered with European tissue culture labs and built greenhouses for European-style production. Switching to a biomass heating system offset the fuel costs involved.

“The initial journey was in two phases. We finished phase two construction last summer and will start finishing plants. It takes a while to build up inventory,” explains Green Circle’s Sales and Marketing Director Scott Giesbrecht. “As inventory and availability have increased, demand has with it. We’re seeing growth in the category and will double our availability again this fall.”

Bookings are strong and Green Circle is shipping to all 48 states and Canada. Retailers range from regional and national supermarkets, home improvement chains and mass merchandisers and wholesale clubs to smaller chains. Together, Green Circle and MidAmerican will produce 5.5 million orchids in 1.2 million square feet of greenhouse space this year.

“The dream we started with was to produce a plant that’s a great value for the consumer, which means grow a top-quality plant, drive costs out aggressively and distribute as effectively as possible,” Giesbrecht says.
Matsui’s Wang expects the market to become increasingly competitive. “The Van Wingerdens are latecomers but have done a great job producing phalaenopsis orchids with extremely aggressive and effective market strategies,” he notes. “There is no question the marketplace is extremely competitive and the price likely will continue to decline. As a result, reducing production costs becomes an important task for growers to stay profitable, or in some cases stay above water.”

Revolutionizing Production
One factor that dramatically expanded production in the last six years is the ability to import orchids as starter plants and prefinished in growing media. USDA relaxed Quarantine-37 in 2005 to allow this. “In 2010, orchid growers in Taiwan exported an estimated 400 40-foot containers of phalaenopsis by sea to the United States,” Wang says. “Many growers do not raise phalaenopis from young plants any longer and have become forcers with four to five months of turnaround time for each crop.”

This model has been successful for Rocket Farms, which went from producing zero orchids five years ago to 3 million this year. Matsui Nursery starts its orchids from flask plants, all of which are propagated and imported from offshore sources to lower costs. But most California growers import liners and mature plants for immediate forcing.

“The move currently in Taiwan is to develop means to export plants that are already forced to spike or be induced to spike while at sea with LED lighting under each tray on the racks in containers,” Wang says. “When successfully done, it will further shorten the production time of phalaenopsis in the United States.”

Other growers import liners from European sources. Floricultura is a leading breeder and young plant producer based in Holland. Its new facility in Salinas should make its products compelling for growers in California and throughout North America.

Cracking The Codes
Born and raised in Taiwan, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in horticulture from the National Chung-Hsing University, Wang has spent most of his career unlocking the secrets of orchid production. After earning his masters and doctorate degrees in plant physiology at Oregon State University, he joined the faculty of Texas A&M University as a professor.

He started researching phalaenopsis orchids in 1990, seeing great potential for the crop in the United States. “Back then, potted orchids were mainly a hobby market with many small growers and a few sizable ones that mainly engaged in cut-flower orchid production,” he says. “I started by researching the proper medium, nutrition, growth enhancement, scheduling and programming for year-round production to develop modern production technologies for future orchid growers.”

At Texas A&M, Wang’s research advanced the industry by:
–Laying the underlying foundation for the development of shipping potted phalaenopsis orchids in their original medium (sphagnum moss) and pots by temperature-controlled sea containers.
–Developing a barkless growing medium for the oncidium/intergeneric orchids that induces fast growth to cut down the production time by a year or more, while reducing water and fertilizer levels and application frequency and improving root systems. This results in more double spiking, a higher flower count and improved shelf life.
–Establishing production guidelines for growing and flowering the nobile dendrobium that requires cold treatment for flower induction. Wang developed a technology that makes these orchids bloom under noninductive temperature conditions for year-round flowering.
–Saving energy by running higher day temperatures above 86°F or greater for eight to 10 hours and then dropping temperatures to 72°F at night without spiking. This resulted in 14 to 20 percent energy savings at Matsui Nursery.

For more than 10 years, Wang was the sole orchid researcher in the United States while working on joint research projects with scientists and commercial growers in Taiwan. He would like to see orchids receive the level of research and trialing attention that poinsettias receive at U.S. universities and floriculture programs.

“Orchid growers are pretty much on their own like a stepchild,” Wang says. “Even though I’ve been working at Matsui for 3.5 years, growers still contact me for advice. But who is willing to do research on something no one funds, particularly in today’s academic atmosphere?”

Beyond Phalaenopsis
When asked why phalaenopis dominates orchid production, Wang says it grows relatively fast and can be easily programmed to spike and flower. “Taiwan has done a tremendous job to become the major phalaenopsis breeding country,” Wang explains. “Most of the varieties, including those being propagated in Europe, are Taiwanese clones. The flowers of phalaenopsis come in all colors of the rainbow and color combinations, except the true blue, which gives consumers a range of selection.” Flowers can last up to six months, providing consumer satisfaction for money spent.

Other than phalaenopsis, the group of oncidium and intergeneric orchids are increasing in popularity. “Taiwan is spending $1 million in conducting research on the nobile dendrobium with the goal of it being developed into another crop for export,” he says. “This was after I made a presentation in July 2009 of my five years research on this crop.”

Miltoniopsis, “the pansy orchids,” are large, showy and fragrant but require a cool climate and are mainly produced in central coastal California. Matsui will grow 1 million miltoniopsis in 2012. The phalaenopsis type of dendrobium orchids flower year round but require a warm climate.

Even though phalaenopsis may be on its way to becoming a commodity, the outlook the crop and orchids have as a whole is great. Growers who stay on top as leaders will continually provide new varieties, engage in efficient production to lower costs and reduce energy input and be able to predict what the market needs will be, Wang says. “As for the opportunities, let’s put it this way: only one in eight people in the United States bought one orchid in 2010,” he says. “We have the opportunity to make the pie much bigger by selling orchids to the other seven. I love to stay optimistic.”

Leave a Reply

4 comments on “The Orchid Explosion

  1. hello greenhouse,
    this is TOGA (Taiwan Orchid Growers Association),
    we would like to purchase the magazine every month,
    could you tell me the fee?
    could you send to taiwan?
    thank a lot.

  2. I enjoy reading this article and I enjoy growing Orchids its a pleasure to know more about the production of this flower. Phalaenopsis or any kind of Orchid which is very nice to see, please give/send me magazine monthly. Thank you very much Mr Wang from Taiwan you are the best . GOD BLESS US all.

  3. I am a professional orchid grower and previous grower for the AOS before its financial decline. My specialty is private collections and greenhouse maintenance. Also , i am a floral designer using orchids exclusively. Please, can anyone direct me to a job bulletin? I have been in the process of dealing with family matters and am ready to get back to work. My email: kasselorchid@yahoo.com

More From ...
Bob_Peters

July 28, 2015

J.R. Peters’ Founder Dies At 97

J.R. Peters announced that its founder, Robert (Bob) Peters has died. Here is how his family and coworkers honored him: It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Robert (Bob) Peters, 97 years old, founder of the Robert B Peters Company. Our mentor, father and grandfather passed away peacefully surrounded by his family on July 18 in Allentown, Pa. He was a true floriculture chemist who designed and formulated the earliest Peters Fertilizer Products that still carry his name today. Born October 12, 1917 in Hanover, Pennsylvania, he was the oldest of 6 brothers. He made his home in Allentown where he started his first business, Peters Horticultural Services, in his mother’s garage in 1947. Bob was happily married for over 50 years and has 4 children, 13 grandchildren and 7 great grandchildren. His passion for plant nutrition began in 1947 after he completed his service in […]

Read More
2016 SHSG covers.indd

July 28, 2015

SHS Griffin Releases 2016 Catalog In Print And Expanded Digital Formats

SHS Griffin has announced the release of its annual seed and plant catalog for the 2015-16 season. Available in both print and digital formats, the 2016 catalog features more than 400 new and improved varieties from the industry’s leading breeders. The 262-page print catalog covers the company’s full seed portfolio — more than 3,400 cultivars of annuals, perennials, ornamental grasses, herbs and vegetables. From the SHS Griffin vegetative offering, the complete spring-annual assortment from Syngenta Flowers is featured, alongside new introductions and top sellers from nine top suppliers such as Proven Winners, Dümmen Orange and Suntory. More than 120 vegetative perennials from Syngenta Flowers are also included, including several SHS Griffin exclusives. The SHS Griffin 2016 digital catalog includes all of the product information and photography from the print edition, and more. For the first time, SHS Griffin has added a range of digital-only bonus content: detailed crop culture, quick […]

Read More
Cal-Poly fields

July 28, 2015

Cal-Poly To Preserve Campus Agricultural Land

California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo will no longer consider development of nearly 43 acres of prime agricultural land just west of its campus core, as the university proceeds with the two-year process of updating its campus master plan. In May, the university had released an update to its Master Plan that indicated that almost all of its orchards, horticulture facilities and field sites may be repurposed for future development of university housing and other campus infrastructure. Most of the land in question is classified Class 1 farmland. The acreage is used now for lemons, grapevines, mandarin oranges, a deciduous orchard and silage for the university’s livestock. The proposed changes would have directly affected the current orchard plantings and other long term plans for the department, according to a letter from Scott Steinmaus, the horticulture and crop science department head. Steinmaus encouraged industry members to submit their comments to the university. An […]

Read More
Latest Stories
Bob_Peters

July 28, 2015

J.R. Peters’ Founder Dies At 97

J.R. Peters announced that its founder, Robert (Bob) Peters has died. Here is how his family and coworkers honored him: It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Robert (Bob) Peters, 97 years old, founder of the Robert B Peters Company. Our mentor, father and grandfather passed away peacefully surrounded by his family on July 18 in Allentown, Pa. He was a true floriculture chemist who designed and formulated the earliest Peters Fertilizer Products that still carry his name today. Born October 12, 1917 in Hanover, Pennsylvania, he was the oldest of 6 brothers. He made his home in Allentown where he started his first business, Peters Horticultural Services, in his mother’s garage in 1947. Bob was happily married for over 50 years and has 4 children, 13 grandchildren and 7 great grandchildren. His passion for plant nutrition began in 1947 after he completed his service in […]

Read More
2016 SHSG covers.indd

July 28, 2015

SHS Griffin Releases 2016 Catalog In Print And Expanded…

SHS Griffin has announced the release of its annual seed and plant catalog for the 2015-16 season. Available in both print and digital formats, the 2016 catalog features more than 400 new and improved varieties from the industry’s leading breeders. The 262-page print catalog covers the company’s full seed portfolio — more than 3,400 cultivars of annuals, perennials, ornamental grasses, herbs and vegetables. From the SHS Griffin vegetative offering, the complete spring-annual assortment from Syngenta Flowers is featured, alongside new introductions and top sellers from nine top suppliers such as Proven Winners, Dümmen Orange and Suntory. More than 120 vegetative perennials from Syngenta Flowers are also included, including several SHS Griffin exclusives. The SHS Griffin 2016 digital catalog includes all of the product information and photography from the print edition, and more. For the first time, SHS Griffin has added a range of digital-only bonus content: detailed crop culture, quick […]

Read More
Cal-Poly fields

July 28, 2015

Cal-Poly To Preserve Campus Agricultural Land

California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo will no longer consider development of nearly 43 acres of prime agricultural land just west of its campus core, as the university proceeds with the two-year process of updating its campus master plan. In May, the university had released an update to its Master Plan that indicated that almost all of its orchards, horticulture facilities and field sites may be repurposed for future development of university housing and other campus infrastructure. Most of the land in question is classified Class 1 farmland. The acreage is used now for lemons, grapevines, mandarin oranges, a deciduous orchard and silage for the university’s livestock. The proposed changes would have directly affected the current orchard plantings and other long term plans for the department, according to a letter from Scott Steinmaus, the horticulture and crop science department head. Steinmaus encouraged industry members to submit their comments to the university. An […]

Read More
Syngenta CAST 2015

July 27, 2015

New App Brings Syngenta Flowers’ Portfolio To Gro…

Syngenta Flowers' newest app allows growers and brokers to quickly access information, descriptions, photos, culture and more on all of Syngenta's varieties.

Read More
Heating Feature image

July 27, 2015

In Hot Pursuit Of Heating Trends For The Greenhouse

From biomass boilers to hydronic-heating systems, growers have a range of options to fit their operation’s unique needs. Here’s what five manufacturers had to say about the latest trends.

Read More
Suzanne McKee

July 27, 2015

ePlantSource’s Suzanne McKee To Hike Grays Peak T…

Just a few years after welcoming their two daughters into the world, Gordon and Kristen Gray are faced with the agonizing diagnosis that their girls, Charlotte and Gwenyth Gray, both have Batten Disease CLN6, a rare neurodegenerative disorder that currently has no cure and is fatal. Children afflicted with this usually do not survive past the age of 12. Since the diagnosis, the friends and family of the Grays, including Suzanne McKee from ePlantSource, have come together to show an enormous amount of support through viral social media campaigns, silent auctions, lemonade stands and various other events and fundraisers. Celebrity support has also come in droves from celebrities such as Ali Larter, Channing and Jenna Dewan Tatum, Drew Barrymore, Dwayne Johnson, Eva Longoria and countless others. The Colorado friends of the Gray family are hiking Grays Peak on August 29 in support of Charlotte and Gwenyth. McKee and Brooke Michaels […]

Read More
Bunching onion warrior

July 27, 2015

All-America Selections Introduces First AAS Winners For…

All-America Selections announced another group of edible AAS Winners for home gardeners, gourmet gardeners, farm-to-table growers, market growers and anyone interested in a unique, delicious addition to their vegetable assortment. These three winners are the first for the 2016 Garden Season. Additional winners will be announced this fall and winter as the 2015 trials conclude and the breeders meet specified criteria. The first group of AAS Winners for 2016 includes: Bunching Onion ‘Warrior’ (Regional Winner) Mizuna ‘Red Kingdom’ F1 (National Winner) Radish ‘Sweet Baby’ F1 (Regional Winner) All-America Selections has had bulb onions as award winners in the past, but ‘Warrior’ is the first bunching (or green) onion. Similarly, there have been green mustard AAS Winners, but never a red Mizuna (or Japanese Mustard). ‘Sweet Baby’ radish joins nine other radishes that are previous AAS Winners adding a violet colored beauty to an assortment of radishes that range from white […]

Read More
Home Factory_Dramm2

July 24, 2015

The Dramm Corporation Will Be Featured On “Home Factory…

The Dramm Corporation, a family-owned manufacturer of watering tools, is in the national spotlight for making an eye-catching product. Dramm’s 30-inch ColorMark Rain Wand will be featured in a segment on July 27 on FYI’s “Home Factory.” The Home Factory production crew shot a segment showing the process of making the Rain Wand from start to finish. “Our grandfather, John G. Dramm, a florist by trade, invented the Water Breaker in the early 1940s to provide an efficient and even flow of water for flower growers,” says Hans Dramm, third generation owner of the Dramm Corporation. “This was the beginning of the Dramm Corporation and the foundation of the beautiful Rain Wands you will see highlighted in our Home Factory segment.” Dramm’s Rain Wands allow you to apply large quantities of water quickly to the plant base, where it soaks deep into the soil. The 30-inch ColorMark Rain Wand is equipped with a […]

Read More
Berns_Roberto Lopez_Purdue6

July 22, 2015

Cultivate’15 Greenhouse Learning Tour Showcases G…

Growers took advantage of the Greenhouse Learning tour held Saturday, July 11 at Cultivate'15 to see the strategies and technology two successful growing operations are using to tackle production challenges and come out ahead of the game.

Read More
HGTV HOME CAST 2015

July 22, 2015

Cultivate’15: Keynote Nancy Fire Says Use Passion…

In the second keynote presentation at Cultivate’15, Nancy Fire, founder and creative director of Design Works International, discussed how the horticulture industry can capitalize on the latest design and lifestyle trends. Fire works with companies to help bring their designs to the next level, and she has expertise with textiles and surface design, market analysis and corporate rebranding. She was appointed as design director for HGTV HOME in 2011. Fire says customers today are interested in companies that show passion for what they do. That, combined with following the general direction of trends and maintaining a brand, are what will keep horticulture businesses relevant to their customers. A trend isn’t just a passing fad, Fire says, but rather, it indicates that something is developing or changing in a certain direction. Plants are important to consumers today, and fit into current trends, both inside and outside the home, Fire says. “I don’t […]

Read More
LuxFlora logo feature image

July 21, 2015

Luxflora Launches With Cultivate Speaker Event, New Web…

A new organization for women in horticulture that aims to change the way consumers think about flowers, launched at Cultivate’15 by sponsoring Ketty Maisonrouge, a marketing expert, who presented “How To Create A Luxury Brand.” Luxflora recently launched its website, as well as a page on LinkedIn, to facilitate networking among women in horticulture. The organization is working on next steps, including setting up a board of directors and officers. Updates and information on future events will be available at the Luxflora website as they are scheduled. Read about Luxflora’s mission and what it hopes to accomplish in “Luxflora Wants To Create A Lifestyle Movement.” In the session during Cultivate, Ketty Maisonrouge, owner of KM & Company, adjunct professor of luxury strategy at the Columbia University Business School and the author of “The Luxury Alchemist,” presented her ideas and expertise on luxury strategy marketing, and how it applies to horticulture. […]

Read More
Coleus-Campfire-BallFloraPlant

July 21, 2015

Costa Farms Trial Garden Update: 2015 Late-Season Top-P…

The Costa Farms team announced its late-season top performers in the 2015 Season Premier Trial Garden in Miami, Fla. Its research and development team has been working to grow and evaluate hundreds of varieties and have published their findings here. The plants you’ll find in the link have thrived in Miami’s late-spring conditions. Every spring, the research and development team trials 500 varieties of annuals, perennials and tropical plants from plant breeders around the world. All of the varieties were tested in the 2-acre trial garden. Varieties are assessed for abundance of bloom, crop uniformity and overall performance, which includes factors such as clean foliage, little to no pest damage and the plants’ overall habits and appearances. About 70 varieties scored as top performers during the evaluation period, which lasted from week five to week 19. Transplanting into the trial garden occurred at week 51, and plants were grown in 6-inch pots to finished […]

Read More
Cornell_annual-bed

July 20, 2015

Cornell Floriculture Field Day To Take Place August 11

Cornell’s Floriculture Field Day will be Tuesday August 11 at the Cornell campus in Ithaca, N.Y. An alumni event will be held the evening prior. More information and online registration for both events is available online. Here is some of what will be happening during Cornell’s Floriculture Field Day: 1. New Cornell Alumni and Friends reception. Come to Ithaca, N.Y an evening early for the 2015 alumni and friends event at the Cornell Plantations visitor center. The event, which will be Aug. 10, 5:30-7 p.m., will feature appetizers, New York wine and jazz. It will take place at the Nevin Welcome Center. 2. Armitage and Konjoian kick off the morning program. During the morning program at the Cornell Veterinary School, Allan Armitage, professor emeritus, University of Georgia, will talk about some of his favorite annuals, perennials and veggies for the landscape. Peter Konjoian, of Konjoian’s Floriculture Education Services, will inspire you to […]

Read More
Aerial_view_of_the_Bayer_cross_high_res

July 18, 2015

Bayer CropScience Welcomes New Head Of Marketing For Tu…

Environmental Science, a division of Bayer CropScience LP, recently announced the appointment of Glenn Rougier as head of marketing for the North American turf and ornamentals (T&O) business. In his new role, Rougier is responsible for driving best-in-class innovation, portfolio development, communications and customer programs through his integrated team. His leadership will help ensure that Bayer continues its journey of marketing excellence through strong customer intimacy and global collaboration. “Glenn brings a wealth of unique insights and experiences,” says Mark Schneid, chief marketing officer of Bayer Environmental Science. “His diverse strategic background and history with Bayer will help us continue our journey to provide best-in-class customer relationship management and insight-driven innovation.” Rougier has worked within the Bayer family of businesses for 12 years, assuming a number of roles in strategy and operations. Most recently, he served as director of strategic marketing for the Bayer Healthcare Radiology business, where he led […]

Read More

July 17, 2015

Young Plant Survey: Do You Grow Plugs And Liners?

If your operation produces plugs or liners for wholesale growers, please take a few minutes to participate in Greenhouse Grower’s 2015 Young Plant Grower Survey. We know you are very busy and we value your time and input. This survey should only take a few minutes. Greenhouse Grower’s Young Plant Grower Survey has played a key role in building our Top 20 Young Plant Growers list over the years. The information helps us zero in on trends taking shape and the challenges you’re facing as young plant growers. If you have any questions about this survey or you are not the right contact for this at your operation, please email me at ldrotleff@meistermedia.com, or please forward the survey link to the appropriate person. We would like to wrap up this survey by July 24, so please take it soon! Thank you in advance for your participation. We value your opinion! » […]

Read More
WaterPulse-retail-mats

July 17, 2015

WaterPulse Irrigation Mats Installed In Wal-Mart Garden…

Just in time for summer, WaterPulse, Inc. recently announced it is working with Wal-Mart to reduce the amount of water used in approximately 3,700 garden centers located inside its stores across the U.S. Through the use of WaterPulse irrigation mats, Wal-Mart will not only increase the health of the plants it sells, but will also significantly reduce water usage in garden centers . Before the implementation of the mats, Wal-Mart associates would manually water the thousands of plants sold in an average garden center. Today, the mats do all the work. Water savings comes from the capillary action of the mats, which enables the soil to take in the water it needs, no more, no less. “Wal-Mart‘s leadership in investing in a technology that dramatically reduces water consumption comes at an auspicious moment,” says Jim Heffernan, WaterPulse CEO and chairman. “Based on WaterPulse tests in other facilities, we estimate that by […]

Read More
P. Allen Smith

July 17, 2015

Sakata Seed Forms New Partnership With Garden Expert P.…

Sakata Seed America has announced a new partnership between the company’s Home Grown Vegetable division and P. Allen Smith Garden Home. Effective immediately, Sakata Home Grown is the official vegetable seed brand of P. Allen Smith. Furthermore, Smith has identified a collection of Sakata varieties and branded it under the P. Allen Smith Home Grown Seed Collection. Smith’s national television and radio shows, digital media, printed publications and social media platforms are followed by a large number of fans. And now, gardeners and cooks alike will be able to tune into Smith’s television shows and subscribe to his YouTube channel, social media platforms and digital communications to learn more about the new collection, how the varieties are performing in the test garden and how to grow and cook with Sakata fruits and vegetables. “A great joy is eating something you have grown in your own garden. I am delighted to share with […]

Read More

July 15, 2015

Cultivate’15 Town Hall Meeting: Not Your Grandma&…

Young and innovative industry minds threw down ideas about future of gardening in the new millennium at the Cultivate’15 Town Hall Meeting. Traditionally one of the most innovative, captivating, controversial, edge-of-your-seat, interesting discussions at the whole show, this year’s Town Hall Meeting was no exception. The set up for this discussion addressed the radical change within the world of horticulture over the past decade, due to economics, demographics, technology, retail competition and the redefinition of gardening. The premise: Change cannot be ignored, and our old strategies won’t win us the game anymore. This session acted as a “callback” to the drawing board to determine what gardening actually means to consumers, how the horticulture industry needs to respond to meet the demands of the new millennium and the consequences that may result if we don’t. The esteemed panel included some of the brightest young and innovative minds in horticulture: Brienne Arthur of […]

Read More