Dümmen Orange’s Edna Valley Vineyard location is a favorite California Spring Trials stop for its view, food, and beverage. But this year’s trials in San Luis Obispo also yielded a number of new variety introductions, new combos, branding, and a streamlined distribution and ordering method that will improve communications and reduce headaches for growers and brokers.
With two farms in Guatemala and one in El Salvador, the company revealed it will generally assign annuals production to Oro Farms in Guatemala and Las Mercedes in El Salvador, while the perennials and herbs it acquired with the Florexpo acquisition in 2015, and its new succulents program will be produced at its Antigua Flowers facility, formerly owned by Paul Ecke Ranch. This shift was made to accommodate crops’ environmental needs, as well as to simplify ordering and fulfillment, says Tom Costamagna, National Production Manager at Dümmen Orange. There will be some exceptions, depending on the crop, but the company has worked out how those exceptions will be handled.
Antigua Flowers has been retrofitted, updated, renovated, and upgraded to streamline production and bring sanitation up to the company’s standards. The farm is compartmentalized to offer individual cubicles that are environmentally tuned to the specific crop being grown there, Costamagna says. The crop micro-environments and sanitation bring “endless production possibilities,” he says. As of Week 14, Dümmen Orange has been shipping out of Antigua Flowers, and there is nothing coming from the former Florexpo facilities in Costa Rica any longer.
Dümmen Orange is working to improve the adoption of its varieties on all levels of the supply chain, and specifically with consumers, by developing websites for some of its major crops, including Confetti, Potunia, and SunStanding impatiens. P. Allen Hammer, Product Developer at Dümmen, says these websites will be supported and updated regularly going forward.
The company has also introduced retail concepts like its 6-pack of Confetti plants for gardeners to pick up and take home to plant their own containers, branded “Dümmen Orange for you” pots that growers have the option to use or not, and SunStanding and Potunia branded pots and 6-packs. Growers don’t have to use these, Hammer says, but if they choose to use branded pots, they have to produce Dümmen Orange plants in them — and that’s something that will be closely regulated.
Getting Acquainted With Dümmen Orange Annuals
In annuals variety introductions, Dümmen Orange has several notable introductions. The Brocade geranium series, with three new colors, is part of the clean stock program. Many of the novelty geraniums on the market are not from clean stock, Hammer says.
The Calibroachoa Chameleon series gets mixed reviews, depending on likes and dislikes, but the general idea is that the flowers change colors depending on light and humidity levels. They don’t change color from one minute to the next, Hammer says, but there is a definite difference between their look in the morning and in the evening.
Suntunia is a new, large-flowered calibrachoa-petunia cross series. It’s ideal for production in the South, providing good garden performance in hot climates and drought conditions.
In impatiens, SunStanding was introduced last year, but it’s being positioned as new this year. It has a large color selection and it performed well in grower trials, showing to be a bit more compact. Paradise Rococo New Guinea impatiens are a ruffled flower series that were exclusive, but are now opened up to the market.
The company is rolling out a new QT cutting program for a few different series. The idea is for growers to have a quick turn (QT), especially for plants like New Guineas, which can grow too large before they’re sold at retail. This program allows growers to buy cuttings, direct stick into 6-packs, and sell the plants in seven to eight weeks.
Dümmen Orange is giving Duos another go. Not to be confused with Confetti, Duos are two different plants of the same genus in different colors, which provide customers with more color, Hammer says.
Garden Party combinations are all planted with one separate liner at the same time — they’re all planted together to provide a diverse and interesting combination for consumer. These can be combinations made with multiple species or a few colors of the same crop, Hammer says.
“Everyone sells geraniums as one straight color, but we know consumers want more color in their combos,” he says.
Colorblast portulacas are new from Westhoff breeding. “When they open, they’re unbelievable,” Hammer says. Foliage has interesting, succulent-like foliage, and plants bloom early.
The Bella lobelia series fits better into Confettis because it’s compact, and doesn’t take over containers, Hammer says. “Bonzai on lobelia acts like a fertilizer,” he says.
Fuchsia ‘Aretels Upright RioGrande’ is a daylength neutral, compact variety that requires no pinch or PGR. Dümmen Orange is starting to breed more for compactness, so growers can avoid using plant growth regulators, Hammer says.
Interest in begonias is in hybrids, he says, and Dümmen Orange is doing a lot of breeding in begonias. The Unbelievable series has a new variety in Tweetie Pie and the Unstoppables have a new variety in Upright Salmon.
Looking at all the Confetti choices, growers could get confused and overwhelmed. If that’s the case, they can’t go wrong with tone-on-tone or more monochromatic varieties, Hammer says. Dümmen Orange has several new Confetti Garden combinations, as well as the components to put in them, including new colors in Calibrachoa Alohas and Hulas, new Sweetunia varieties including Miss Marvel, which joins Johnny Flame and Suzie Storm, and new Surprise petunias.