It’s no surprise that Benary, which built its company on begonia breeding more than 100 years ago, still has a magical touch when it comes to the genus. Two standouts among a field of great introductions were begonias.
Benary has followed up on its popular Begonia boliviensis ‘Santa Cruz’ with a new rose-hued variety, ‘San Francisco.’ Like ‘Santa Cruz,’ ‘San Francisco’ has a fuchsia-like habit and appearance, making it ideal for baskets, although it will perform in the garden, as well. As Benary’s Jennifer Calhoun told us, “It looks exotic, but it’s bulletproof.”
The second begonia introduction guaranteed to make waves is Nonstop Joy, The original Begonia × tuberhybrida Nonstop series was introduced in the 70s and is time tested in its garden performance. Nonstop Joy is designed to dazzle in a basket. The first variety in the series, Yellow, has flowers on top, as well as a trailing habit. Expect several more colors to create a full series of Nonstop Joy in the next couple of years.
Fun Marketing Ideas
Benary excels at offering ideas for independent retailers to help the pull through-appeal of their plants. In recent years, it set up several interactive display ideas that are either free or require only simple materials to pull off. This year was no different.
The Chill Lounge used black landscape cloth, black lights and as many items it could find to glow in the dark – paint, colored plastic cups, decals and even chairs. The Chill Lounge at Benary had a laid back, nightclub feel (yes, there was a disco ball), but the same concept could easily apply to a Halloween room, which could transition into a holiday lights room.
Benary built on last year’s Big Begonia ideas with strong POP materials, fun facts and ideas that can be used in retailer newsletters and in displays.
Throughout Benary’s displays were factoids about how consumers interact with plants, which is based on extensive research it participated in. Here are a three of Benary’s research results from Metrolina’s Home Garden Panel:
- 60 percent of consumers say they would like more tips and ideas
- 69 percent of people garden with family or friends
- 50 percent of consumers are interested in a garden center clinic for kids
More Introductions From Benary
There were several more introductions beyond the two begonias at Benary:
- Two new pansy series, Inspire Plus and Inspire Double are not built on the same genetics as the original Inspire series, but have their own complete genetics. Both have large blooms, with Inspire Double leading the pack with big blooms.
- Benary is introducing a true Impatiens walleriana series, Lollipop, which has seven colors: Orange, Fruit Punch Rose, Raspberry Violet, Cherry Red, Pomegranate Carmine, Coconut White and Peach Salmon.
Established Series With New Colors
- Admire violas has four new colors: White, Blue, Yellow Purple Wing and an Improved Yellow.
- Big begonia has a new Rose, which has green leaves.
- Nightlife begonias has two new colors: Pink and White Improved.
Expect Big Strides In Perennials
Benary will be doubling its budget for perennial seed production, so the industry can expect a great deal in the coming years in this category.
Benary already has its FastraX perennials program, which features plants that will bulk and bloom in the first year.
A New To The U.S. Breeder: Volmary
Benary hosted a small German breeder and young plant supplier, Volmary, at its location, since the two companies have a close relationship. It is testing the U.S. market with this year’s trials.
It displayed a range of plants, a few of which are already available, a few which are not: lantana, bacopa, salvia, a creeping zinnia (Sanvitalia procumbens), Dahlia x hortensis (which had five colors), both an upright and creeping varieties of verbena and a Helichrysum stoechas.