American Takii, Hilverdakooij, and newcomer Horticultural Marketing Associates (HMA) showed off zombie-zone celosia, new dianthus, hip succulents, and many more great plants during California Spring Trials (CAST) 2016.
American Takii is 180 years young this year. It’s a company rich in history that has kept the same name and ownership since its beginning. The company exhibited its Asian vegetables again this year at CAST, but there are no new additions. The company has been holding off this year to reaffirm it has the right play on vegetables in the market before moving forward full speed with the program. Distinctive red Chinese food take-out-box packaging was on display, as well as a living vegetable wall.
Another fun presentation was the Zombie Zone, where Takii promoted its Celosia ‘Armor Red,’ playing off the popular zombie craze with a fun “Armor Yourself” theme with lots of kid appeal. Armor celosia is a cristata-type, often called cockscomb or brain celosia, which offers a long bloom period for extended season sales into the fall.
A full series of experimental perlargonium Everlast was on display. It’s unusual for Takii to have a full line at the experimental stage, but it is hoping to get the series into the hands of breeder reps to see where it fits in the market. This series has sterile flowers, which means less shattering and easier shipping.
A new Melampodium ‘Jackpot Gold’ has large flowers and is a true bedding plant with good garden performance. It likes hot, humid conditions. A nice companion plant to the melampodium is a previous introduction, Takii’s agastache Arizona series, which has first-year flowers and is a quick crop turn in 13 to 14 weeks.
The salvia Summer Jewel series has one new Lavender color addition. White, Red, and Pink in the series are all former 2015 All-America Selections bedding plant award winners. With their continuous blooms, Summer Jewel salvia draw in pollinators.
New to the petunia Trilogy series is Deep Purple. It can be grown pot tight throughout the entire finishing sequence. For the most part, it is a trailing variety, but it will spread to 30 to 36 inches with time. Also new is the red, white, and blue 76 mix.
Other interesting news is American Takii’s partnership with the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam. The grand opening of the museum’s new entrance hall featured a gigantic maze outside made up entirely of Takii sunflowers. The company donated enough ‘Sunrich Orange’ sunflower seeds to produce 125,000 plants for the nearly 2-meter high maze, and the public was invited to visit the museum in order to collect free sunflowers. Sunrich sunflowers are Takii’s number-one selling crop.
Hilverdakooij has been busy with a new Flow series of pot carnation dianthus. Flow dianthus are double-flowered and come in six new colors. Cuttings are available through EuroAmerican Propagators. Other add-ons include two new colors in both the Sunflor and Kahori series, and one each in Olivia and Odessa. In alstroemeria, Moonlight and Magic White join the Inticancha series.
Also on display was the Echinacea Moodz series, which has a short crop time and more crowns per plant. The high crown count makes it cheaper for growers to produce, despite a higher price point. There are two new colors in the series, both unnamed.
Horticultural Marketing Associates
Horticultural Marketing Associates (HMA) is a newcomer to spring trials that had an outstanding display of succulents, supplied through cuttings from Floraplant SA de CV in Mexico. Jeffrey Watt of HMA says when he started out he thought succulents would be a nice hook to draw attention to other crops, but he has since changed his mind. The succulents have been so popular they have been difficult to keep in stock, and the company has since dropped petunias completely, expanding production on its succulent line to accommodate demand. Ball Seed recently became the company’s newest broker.