Plants that ensure consumer success with disease resistance bred into their genetics, and ease of use in a variety of conditions, are heroes for gardeners, especially beginners, and they should be celebrated and supported to promote gardening success and interest. These are the messages the award-winning designer, gardening, and lifestyle expert P. Allen Smith wants the horticulture industry to know, with the recent announcement of his expanded partnership with Sakata Seed.
In an exclusive interview with Greenhouse Grower, P. Allen Smith describes his expanded partnership with Sakata Seed to promote SunPatiens and why the now 10-year-old series helps both novice and expert gardeners to be successful. Smith also collaborates with Sakata to promote the HomeGrown Collection of vegetables.
SunPatiens Set Consumers Up For Success, Smith Says
As a plantsman first, Smith has extensively trialed SunPatiens in his gardens at Moss Mountain Farm in Little Rock, AR, and says he is impressed with the series’ disease resistance, and with SunPatiens’ performance in sun and shade.
“SunPatiens were really a gamechanger in impatiens in the industry,” Smith says. “They deliver big color and in areas that you might think would be problematic, with the light quality or light conditions being too disparate, it’s a plant that always performs.”
“What l love about SunPatiens is its disease resistance. When we can produce products in our industry that don’t require the use of hard chemicals, that is such an important message and that’s what Sakata is doing here. These genetics don’t require spraying or hard chemicals to deal with the pathogens that affect plants, so stronger genetics are very important for us to live a greener life and and have a safer environment for our children and our friends and ourselves.”
With new gardeners coming on every day, products that promote success and empowerment in gardening are more important than ever, Smith says.
“SunPatiens is a hero product because it’s one that consumers are likely not to fail with, and the more of those that we can roll out, the more confidence we can build among consumers that, ‘Hey, I can garden, I can do this, I can be successful.’ And we’ve got to keep that momentum going,” he says.
Smith Says His Partners Promote Gardening First, Products Second
As the host of two public television programs, P. Allen Smith’s Garden Home, P. Allen Smith’s Garden to Table and the syndicated 30-minute show P. Allen Smith Garden Style, in addition to digital media, printed platforms, and social media platforms, Smith has developed a fan following with about 27% in the 45 to 65 age range, with the majority younger than 45. His media efforts target adults who are 25 and up, with the center of his target including adults ages 35 to 46, homemakers with children and pets in the home, with a household income above $75,000. Sakata is one of several partners Smith works with, including Bonnie Plants, Proven Winners, Jobes Organics, and Le Creuset.
“What I like about Sakata is that it’s a 100-year-old company that has a lot of integrity,” Smith says. “Sakata has been so good about supporting our industry. They recognize that when you’ve got something that is exceptional, you really need to get behind it and let people know about it, and that’s what they’ve done with SunPatiens. It’s refreshing for me to work with partners in the industry that are about promoting gardening. They want to promote their brand, but it means just as much to them to promote the gardening lifestyle. All of my partners are like that, and it goes a long way and lets you know they’re in it for the right reason, and in this for the long haul.”
Speaking directly to growers, Smith says choosing varieties to produce that are proven to be effective and solve problems for consumers, instead of based on cost to produce, is an important consideration to maintain and grow the number of active gardeners, and increase the industry’s reach and success.
“We all need to support good genetics and good breeding because over time it does impact the success of the gardening public,” Smith says. “It’s important for growers to recognize that Sakata has gotten behind SunPatiens in a big way to create pull through at retail with messages about SunPatiens’ performance. Sakata is dedicated to bringing on new gardeners, so by growers producing SunPatiens,and making them available, you are actually helping to grow a new generation of gardeners because you’re putting product out there that is easy to grow — it’s a win-win. We just have to set our end customers up for success.”
Learn more on P. Allen Smith’s website promoting SunPatiens and other partners.