On the last day for CAST 2017 exhibitors at GroLink and the second to last for the Greenhouse Grower team, the wealth of genetics, marketing programs, and announcements were pleasing to our eyes, ears, and hearts.
Florist Holland is capitalizing on a recent NASA study that reported that gerberas are the number one flowering plant for cleaning the air. Recognizing that this idea would appeal to environmentally conscious consumers, particularly Millennials, the company created a retail display and packaging concept called Pure Blooms that encourages shoppers to purchase seed gerberas for their homes as a living, air-filtering bouquet.
Hort Couture’s stunning display played off the farm-to-table trend, with its new varieties as the main menu. The new varieties featured prominently in the place settings of a long table filled with flowers, herbs, and veggies. Pallet chandeliers hung over the table with some of Hort Couture’s mini plants in half-quart jars hanging down overhead. Last year, Hort Couture set out to revamp its Culinary Couture line. The varieties it displayed are phase two of this process.
Captain Solo, a new yellow calla, joins the Captain series. The addition of a yellow calla to the series is an important addition for the North American market. Quantities are available for the full market for 2018.
Vivero Internacional is an independent cutting producer that offers a full line of premium spring plants and geraniums from Endisch, Kientzler, PAC Elsner, Volmary, and Westhoff. It displayed some of the great new genetics from the lines it offers, including some new Darko pelargoniums (PAC) and two new Constellation petunias (Westhoff).
With a variety of new introductions to reveal, PlantHaven is promoting the use of water wise plants, using flowers more in green wall construction, and offering unique and interesting ideas to growers. It’s working on new POP for programs like its ‘Rhythym and Blues’ salvia, American Pie dianthus, and Painter Series of large-flowered dahlias. One super eye-catching new introduction is Corydalis ‘Porcelain Blue,’ with electric blue flowers that draw in pollinators. Look for a number of PlantHaven selections in the Southern Living and Sunset Western collections. The new Nemesia ‘SunGlow Yellow Bicolor’ is now being distributed via Ball Seed, and it’s a breakthrough bicolor, and also special because it doesn’t contain frutecans, which is often the culprit for disease in other nemesia series, says PlantHaven’s Dave Doolittle, who is now full time with the company. PlantHaven also recently welcomed Amanda Flint, who formerly worked at EuroAmerican Propagators.
This breeder, based in the Far East, has the heat and humidity in its favor, and this certainly reflects in the genetics it brings to the marketplace. This year was the “year of the duck,” promoting the new Little Duck and Big Duck marigolds, with superior disease resistance and heat tolerance. The breeder is working on making the flower size of its MegaFlow trailing vinca as large as its MegaBloom upright vinca. It received two All-America Selections awards for its MegaBloom Orchid Halo and Pink Halo varieties. AmeriSeed also highlighted its AmeriVeg line of veggies, which includes lettuce, peppers, tomatoes, and eggplant.
It’s good news for growers who have wanted to get their hands on more Suntory Flowers genetics. Some of the breeder’s biggest brands are now available as unrooted cuttings. Growers now have a choice between rooted and unrooted cuttings to finish in the interspecific hybrid argyranthemum Grandessa series (cuttings available through Dümmen Orange and InnovaPlant); Senetti pericallis, including Baby Senetti and Senetti Sparkle (cuttings available through Dümmen Orange and InnovaPlant, and a limited assortment available through Cohen Nurseries and HMA/Floraplant); Soiree catharanthus, including Soiree Ka-wa-i-i, Soiree Double, and Soiree Crown (cuttings available through Dümmen Orange and InnovaPlant); and Sun Parasol mandevilla, including Garden Crimson and the original group of genetics (cuttings available through Aris Horticulture and Vivero Internacional).
New intros from Suntory include the new ‘Surfinia Trailing Red’ petunia, with large, vibrant colors and outstanding garden performance. The new ‘Million Bells Butter Pop’ calibrachoa has dark-yellow centers in pale yellow flowers. Beedance Yellow’ is a new, compact solid yellow variety with a high flower count and honey fragrance. Sales of Beedance bidens hybrids benefit the Pollinator Partnership. Suntory also debuted three new mixes, including two in the Beedance bidens line – Bee Bananas and Bee Colorful, as well as Purple Reign, a mix of Summer Wave torenia.
A European leader in blooming potted plants, Schoneveld debuted a new dwarf version of its Sprinkles ranunculus, which offers uniform blooms and compact growth without the use of plant growth regulators. Its original Sprinkles series is popular among U.S. growers, and this more genetically compact series will allow for even more sales. It’s best for early spring, timing with primula, and can also be used in early spring combos.
Other intros are the campanula Florentes collection, which include Avida, Adansa, and Ambella – each with different flowers and colors – but each with hundreds of flowers and continuous blooming. The Primula acaulis Perola series is also getting attention among growers for its heat and drought tolerance.
Royal Van Zanten
The mum and potted plant breeder is contracting with Ball Seed to distribute its series of trailing Skyfall garden mums, which look great in baskets and containers. The series naturally times later than most garden mums, which is ideal for Southern and Western growers; however, with blackclothing it can be timed earlier. Garden asters are back with the electric colors of the Showmakers Royal Aster Collection. Colors include Lilac Sunset, Pretty Pink, and a showy Blue Bayou, which has a yellow center. The flowers are thick with two and three layers of petals.
MPS – More Profitable Sustainability
Our friends at MPS showcased at CAST again this year. More and more growers are signing up for sustainability certification. And crop protection companies are also meeting with MPS to get on board with its color coding system. This way when they work with growers to trial new crop protection programs, they can let them know the MPS color the product falls under.
Next year at CAST, MPS will be training growers on its ProductProof program, a kind of seal that indicates at the product level that certain active ingredients have not been used in cultivation. ProductProof is an add-on for the MPS-ABC program. Growers using it have to be participating in the MPS-ABC certification program, do daily registration of crop protection use, among other requirements. Look for more information in upcoming news on MPS.