Greenhouse Grower hit the Central Coast of California on our Day 4 of California Spring Trials, and what we saw was inspiring and exciting.
The theme of the trials at Dümmen Orange this year was Wild Romance, inspired by a new double-flowered, bedding shade impatiens series by the same name. The team, dressed all in khaki, safari-oriented gear, guided us through the many new varieties introduced this year. Notables include trailing coleus Great Fall Series, which was incorporated into the new Confetti Gardens Safari subseries; the Bloomtastic large-flowered calibrachoa series with two colors; the new Empress landscape verbena series, and several more.
On the production side, Dümmen Orange is working to distinguish its SunStanding impatiens by offering QTs, or quick turn cuttings, which means the production farms where unrooted cuttings are produced hold these cuttings a bit longer to mature and thus absorb some of the propagation time for growers, says Dümmen Orange’s Tanner Cole. It’s not a callous cutting, but in a similar category, and allows growers to finish SunStanding when finished in packs. Or if they don’t have direct stick capabilities, growers can order liners from Dümmen Orange rooting stations, but the QT liners will take a bit longer to finish when transplanted into larger containers than the direct stick unrooted cutting option.
Perennial combos are being further developed in the Mix-and-Match program, which allows growers to choose from 21 components, all of which time and grow well together, requiring the same facultative day length light. There are two new leucanthemum intros available for the combos. Participating growers receive the cuttings they receive in a kit, all at the same time.
A new I’conia begonia brand is bringing Dümmen Orange begonias into a premium line for retail, with attractive POP available. The 2016 Fleurostar winner, ‘Miss Malibu’ is among the selections for this line, which also includes ‘Miss Montreal,’ and the Unbelievable and Unstoppable begonia series, for an upscale, luxurious look.
This year Dümmen Orange developed several new retail concepts for input from trial attendees. The concepts have been tested in Europe, and are based on consumer research and their needs. They include an Effortless Autumn series, tied to consumers’ desire to decorate for the fall; and the KinderGarden, which focuses on primary colors to attract kids, lower benches and shelves to allow kids to interact, and pollinator-friendly plants to educate kids on that issue. Based on the herbs Dümmen Orange acquired last year from Florexpos is a foodie-inspired concept grouping herbs into three classes, for tea, grilling, and pizza. The graphics are clean and simple, relying on iconography and using the Pantone color of the year as a backdrop. This year’s color is Greenery, which looks great with the herbs, but branding can easily incorporate new colors as they come along, says Kate Santos.
Finally, a concept inspired by Pinterest and consumers’ quest to achieve great-looking container gardens, ultimately deconstructs the different steps of the process, and allows consumers to choose media and pots, then decide on approved component plants, and finally put them all together to create a nice container.
Three Israeli operations opened their own trial at Chisan Orchids in Los Alamos. The companies – Hishtil Nurseries, Cohen Nurseries, and Jaldety Nurseries – all distribute unrooted cuttings through the entire distribution network of brokers in North America. There are no exclusives or partnerships.
Cohen produces rooted cuttings for GGG, Volmary, Suntory, and Westhoff Flowers. It also has a breeder exclusive with Breiercross, and keeps and produces the genetics.
Down the road a bit was Windmill Nursery, which played home to Terra Nova Nurseries, J. Berry Nursery, KiwiFlora, and Kientzler, as well as hard goods companies DRAMM, McConkey, and Pelemix. Look for more on those hard goods companies in a different issue.
Terra Nova Nurseries. Terra Nova set up four vignettes based on consumer challenges that they have, like choosing the right plants for easy care landscapes, selecting pollinator-friendly plants, saving resources with water-wise plants. The displays aimed to show growers, brokers, and retail partners which plants are ideal for different issue. Not all of the plants on display were new – many were recent introductions from the past year or two. However, the company was able to highlight some of those plants, as well – even solving availability issues. For example, Terra Nova was having difficulty producing verbascum liners, and the series was not able to be produced. The folks there figured out it was because the leaves were like a rain shield, so water was not getting in. Switching watering to capillary mats worked, and growers were able to build up availability for 2017.
Notable highlights included the new Holiday and Nautilus begonia series, as well as a striking variegated Scabiosa called ‘Vivid Imagination.’
Kientzler. Based in Germany, with offshore farms in Costa Rica, Kientzler has long promoted genetics in other areas of the world; however, the company set up distribution of its genetics in North America just two years ago. Now, the company is gearing up on its offerings to be able to take the market by storm, says Steve Rinehart. He says Kientzler had the best year ever with its Begonia bolievensis, and plans to continue to breed in the direction of its Summerwind Elegance line, with many smaller flowers. It’s also gearing up its petunia breeding, and selecting for earliness and weather resistance. A new double-flowered experimental petunia will be coming on the market soon.
Kientzler’s Innovaplant facility still also produces unrooted cuttings for Suntory, Sakata, PlantHaven, and Concept Plants, as well as Kientzler varieties.
J. Berry Nurseries inc. Hollywood Hibiscus is a showstopper at J. Berry, with bright, vibrant colors, large flowers, and an attractive disease resistance package. The new series has caught on with tropical plant growers across the nation and won a “cool new product” award at TPIE, says breeder Jim Berry, and a new series is on its way. Its Black Diamond crape myrtle, also on display, has gotten significant attention, as well.
The operation also presented a Deck-orations line of pots for plants, to show how consumers want to decorate their outdoors.
KiwiFlora. With plants in the Southern Living and Sunset Western Collection, including ‘Meerlo’ lavender and Agapanthus ’Little Blue Fountain’ (also known as ‘Brilliant Blue’), the company continues to introduce more varieties. Although it wasn’t at the trials, Scent from heaven dianthus now has availability of cuttings through Green Leaf plants, says product representative Marc Englert. The free-flowering dianthus is and heat tolerant and did well in the Southern trials, Englert says, as well as being fragrant.