The Intensia phlox series, introduced in 2003, was based on an interspecific hybrid with a wild species that gave the series a huge jump forward in heat tolerance, powdery mildew resistance and overall vigor.
One of the other advantages to interspecific hybrids is they are usually sterile, or at least produce fewer seed. And because the plants expend less energy in setting seed, that energy instead goes into performance.
These are just standard examples of what you should expect to see with this kind of breeding.
As with every emerging new crop group, there are always improvements to be made. ‘Intensia Blueberry’ improves again on a great bit of breeding. By changing the parentage of the cross, you get a beefier plant with larger leaves and thicker stems. These two characteristics give growers some improvements from which they can really benefit.
One of the weaknesses of this line of breeding was stems were thin, and in early-season production, it was easy to overwater the crop and tough to get plants to root in and size up as quickly as possible. ‘Intensia Blueberry’ has larger, thicker leaves and stems, which give the plant more vigor in the early season for establishment and heavier branching without additional pinching.
This improvement in early season performance allows growers to finish the crop with fewer issues. The retail and consumer life of ‘Intensia Blueberry’ is the same as other Intensia varieties. Disease resistance, extended season of performance and rich, jewel-toned flowers all still work together to make the plant easy to sell in the critical weeks of early spring.
Production guidelines are pretty straight forward. Balanced feed of 200-300 ppm nitrogen with minors, high light levels and controlling watering are essential to quality crop production. ‘Intensia Blueberry’ still has the fibrous root system of these genetics. Growers will want to allow plants to dry somewhat between watering. Plants can be finished under cooler conditions, but during establishment, keep daytime temperatures between 65 and 75°F.
Finding ‘Intensia Blueberry’
Four Star Greenhouse
Pleasant View Gardens
Or, check with your favorite broker.