At GroLink in Oxnard, several companies came together for an incredible display of color.
Hort Couture is known as the fashionista of the industry, especially among the independent retailer set, as its varieties are completely exclusive to independents. Fifteen new varieties mostly focused on containers and combinations, including several foliage items. Two new Under The Sea coleus were eyecatchers, Copper Coral and especially Fish Net, with its green background and purple coloring that intensifies under shade and is truly incredible in a combination. Homacladium ‘Ribbons and Curls’ makes an interesting texture item for combinations and looks especially cool with other foliage intros.
The biggest introduction for Hort Couture was asclepias ‘Monarch’s Promise,’ an annual milkweed variety with variegated, red-tinted foliage and red and orange flowers. It is vegetatively propagated and tends to attract aphids; however, growers said that is okay with them because that way they can tell it hasn’t been sprayed. ‘Monarch’s Promise’ was bred by an independent breeder in Florida, who just broke into the market with this, her first plant.
“This is perhaps our most important introduction to date,” says Jim Monroe, founder and CEO of Hort Couture. “It is exclusive to independent garden centers and will give them a wonderful plant to raise awareness about the issues facing our Monarch butterfly populations in North and South America.”
At PlantHaven, the Welsh breeder of the Penhow Cherry nemesia series and Towers of Flowers diascia series was on hand to talk flower genetics with Dr. Allan Armitage. The two had an engaging conversation about the direction these crops are going. In addition to several varieties of nemesia and diascia, PlantHaven’s variety introductions include an interesting perennial adenophora and new colors of existing varieties.
Florist Holland introduces new Garvineas, in its Sweet, Classic and Spider series, with Sweet Spice, Lydia (Classic) and Alexandra (Spider). A new peach-colored, large-flowered experimental variety is joining the Patio series.
Gediflora explained a common production problem that many American growers tend to have. The company, which specializes in mum breeding, growing, production and sales in Belgium, says growers need to plant their cuttings deep in the soil, with the first bottom leaves under soil level. This makes for a stronger plant that is more robust and uniform, and doesn’t fall over at retail.
Flamingo Holland showed off its new Speckle series of callas. All flower at the same time and are very uniform. The white variety is much more pure than those currently on the market. An all-black calla, from the foliage to the flower, catches the eye, as well. Three new series of freesia are available, as well — Nano, Lovely and Mainstreet — and represent different variety sizes.
AmeriSeed is new to California Spring Trials this year. As a breeder based in Asia that’s been selecting plants for humidity for the past 30 years, it had some interesting offerings, including an experimental, disease-resistant zinnia series in a Magellan form. Its red Solar salvia was bred for heat and humidity, so where some series might wilt under high heat, this one will perform. Radiance petunia with 10 colors is selected for disease tolerance, humidity and heat tolerance and its trailing habit.
Three growers also exhibited at GroLink, including Athena Brazil, Heritage Perennials and Vivero International, which produces annual cuttings in Mexico and supplies to the North American market.