December 22, 2008

Fabulous Foliage

Fort Lauderdale, Fla., becomes the fashion runway for tropical foliage plants each January, when new varieties and interiorscaping concepts make their debut at the Tropical Plant Industry Expo (TPIE). The theme of this year’s event is “Tag It Tropical,” Jan. 15-17 at the Broward County Convention Center. Check out the following varieties and many more at the show. For more information about the show, visit www.tpie.org. Corn. Bak B.V. Dutch breeder Corn. Bak B.V. has introduced three new guzmania varieties that fit together as a series. Plants are fast-growing and suitable for 4-inch pots. ‘Ritmo’ (top) has an orange star-shaped inflorescence and is a welcome addition to the current assortment. ‘Tinto’ (middle) has a bordeaux red star-shaped inflorescence, bringing a new color to the collection. ‘Glossita’ (bottom) has a salmon-colored, star-shaped inflorescence. Florica Farms Florida grower Florica Farms has introduced two new dracaenas. ‘Art’ is similar to the old standby, […]

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December 19, 2008

How Many Poinsettias Can You Fit In A Car?

While the poinsettia season has been disappointingly soft for growers and retailers, consumers are taking advantage of bargains. Gary Mangum of Bell Nursery shared a picture his representative Kevin Spear took in the parking lot of a BJ’s Wholesale Club in Philadelphia. The customer bought 30 10-inch poinsettias to give as gifts. The year before, he came too late and all the 10-inch were gone. Do you have any pictures to share of your holiday crops or a recap of the season? Send them to Editor Delilah Onofrey at [email protected] and we’ll present them in a future edition of Benchrunner.

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December 18, 2008

Too Much White Christmas

Louisiana growers have come to expect the multiple hurricanes that plow through their region each year to cause structural damage to their greenhouses. But snow? Two to eight inches of it fell in a single day across the state a couple of weeks ago, and the snow’s weight caused many greenhouses to collapse. Fifteen of 18 greenhouses at Poole Brothers Nursery’s main location were damaged recently by unexpected Louisiana snowfall. Thirty-five of the 70 greenhouses at Poole Brothers Nursery in the central Louisiana collapsed under the weight of the snow. Owner Debbie Head says six inches fell at the nursery’s main location in Lecompte, where three of 18 houses were left standing. Poole Brothers has five locations in all, and some of its affected structures were new. Astoundingly, Head says the snow-caused damages are worse than the wind and heavy rain damages her nursery’s structures sustained from hurricanes Gustav and […]

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December 18, 2008

The Classic City Awards: Perennials

The Classic City Awards are presented in November after months of evaluation in The Gardens at the University of Georgia. Click here for the lowdown on the top 10 perennials from 2008 for the 2009 market. Miscanthus ‘Gold Bar’ ‘Gold Bar’ has exceptional posture, providing a highly useful structure as a border plant. The half inch creamy yellow bars that accent each bright green blade are striking and lure the viewer as they approach the plant. In this, its second year in the garden, plants were two and a half feet tall at the peak of summer. Tricyrtis ‘Kohaku’ What an exquisite beauty! The lavender petals gradually fade into a blue center. From the center of the bloom, a light yellow pistil and stamens arise, speckled with burgundy. Gaura ‘Snow Fountain’  Cascading petals of white resemble falling snow frozen in time without the bite of cold weather. The brightness of […]

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December 18, 2008

Rocky Mountain Poinsettia Report

Two weeks ago, marketing consultant Jerry Montgomery shared his assessment of retail poinsettias at North Florida box stores. This week, he offers his thoughts on poinsettias at independent garden centers and box stores in Denver, Colo. Introduction With less than 12 shopping days left, the roads were clogged and some retailers were extremely busy on Saturday, Dec. 13. Poinsettia inventories were fairly large, and most retailers were offering discounted prices ranging from 20 to 25 percent. At the national retailers, inventories were 90 percent red whereas independents like Paulino’s Garden Center, Echter’s, and Tagawa Garden Center offered an array of colors, novelties and painted poinsettias. Paulino’s Garden Center: One of the best marketers of poinsettias anywhere, featuring high-quality products that are very well merchandised on tables with appropriate spacing. They have really used the painted concept to differentiate themselves with unique artistic offerings. Echter’s Garden Center: A high-end retailer offering […]

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December 17, 2008

Proven Winners Taking Action Against Illegal Propagators

Occasionally, you’ll read about growers who’ve been caught propagating cuttings illegally. But in many cases, those growers may get away with a slap on the wrist. Proven Winners North America takes a different approach. In the most recent year alone, Proven Winners, through Royalty Administration International (RAI), caught 137 growers illegally propagating its plants. And it is taking even more aggressive steps in the coming year to protect its breeders and the integrity of the industry. Since 2000, Proven Winners has levied assessments of more than $1 million against illegal propagators. To discourage illegal propagation, Proven Winners recently increased its illegal propagation fine from $1 to $2 per cutting. And RAI, an organization providing patent and royalty enforcement support to Proven Winners North America, flower breeders and other plant marketers, will be increasing the number of grower visits it makes with better territorial management and the hiring of additional field […]

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December 15, 2008

A New Take On Poinsettias

Lloyd Traven at Peace Tree Farm in Kintnersville, Pa., has created a new look for the poinsettia this holiday season. He calls it a Christmas Tree and poinsettia all in one. They are being grown in limited numbers and can set independent garden centers apart by offering a different take on the time-honored tradition of poinsettias at the holidays. Peace Tree Farm also offers unique poinsettias like standards that are up to five feet tall and a desktop version, as well. For more, contact Lloyd Traven at [email protected] or call 610-847-8152.

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December 9, 2008

Two New Roses Added To Easy Elegance Collection

The Easy Elegance Rose Collection has new additions for Spring 2009: ‘High Voltage’ and ‘Kashmir.’ Both roses have large, full blooms that are ideal for landscapes and containers, and feature disease resistance for greater success. ‘High Voltage’ provides beautiful medium yellow flowers with an upright growth pattern. Hardy in Zones 4-9, double blooms are 2 to 3 inches wide. Its petal count is 22. ‘Kashmir’ features soft wine-colored petals that mature into a breathtaking rich hybrid tea bloom. Blooms measure 3 inches, and it is hardy to Zones 4-9. The rose’s petal count is 50. For more information, visit www.EasyEleganceRoses.com.

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December 9, 2008

NHGC Gives Flower Carpet Rose Seal Of Approval

‘Flower Carpet Pink Supreme’ rose earned a 96 percent approval rating in a nationwide consumer test and, consequently, earned the National Home Garden Club (NHGC) seal of approval. Pink Supreme now has the rights to carry the NHGC seal of approval on its packaging and in its advertising. The results were announced in the January-February 2009 issue of the NHGC’s official magazine, Gardening How-To. “This is a great endorsement from the people who are most important: gardeners,” says Anthony Tesselaar, president of Tesselaar Plants, which introduced Flower Carpet roses in the United States. “Pink Supreme is one of the Next Generation Flower Carpets, with 20 years advanced breeding.” Flower Carpet Pink Supreme is the second Next Generation Flower Carpet groundcover rose to receive the NHGC seal. In 2007, ‘Flower Carpet Scarlet’ received the honor, earning a 90 percent approval rating. For more information on Flower Carpet roses, go to www.flowercarpet.com.

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December 9, 2008

Orchids Like You’ve Never Seen Them Before

DeLeon’s Bromeliads in Goulds, Fla., unveiled a series of 2-inch Phalaenopsis orchids late last week called Miniature Moments, which are designed to serve as the ideal blooming desktop plant. Miniature Moments are shipped in 2.5-inch clay pots and arranged in trays that can easily be positioned near garden center cash registers. Each shipping box of Miniature Moments contains two 12-pack display trays, and DeLeon’s is making the series available on a weekly schedule. Be sure to check out the mini orchids in person at the TPIE show next month from Jan. 15-17. The show is taking place at the Ft. Lauderdale Convention Center in Florida, and DeLeon’s will be set up at booth No. 620.

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December 2, 2008

Benary’s Breeding Objectives

As we look ahead at our breeding objectives, one thing that remains a centerpiece of our focus is garden performance. We feel that breeding for garden performance must be a primary objective and not an afterthought in breeding. While color trends may change, scent and texture preferences may vary, one thing will always remain the same, end consumers must be successful in their own gardens if our industry and our products are to thrive. Garden performance is equally important with the landscape trade but performance is only one of the factors in product selection. To meet their needs, we will expand our offerings in products like BIG begonias, where minimal maintenance and adaptability are important features. And we are constantly looking for products like Northern Lights pentas that can tolerate cooler conditions not typical of the species, so that the geographic range of a product’s use can be increased. But […]

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December 2, 2008

Perennials For Plant People

Jelitto Perennial Seeds is a company of plant people. We love perennials and search the globe for durable species and rare gems, and keep our eyes on new versions of the tried and true. We currently offer more than 3,400 varieties. With 51 years in the perennial seed business, Jelitto is looking forward to the next 25 years serving the industry. As breeders, our responsibility is to provide well-tested quality plants, as well as the information to grow and market them successfully. Producing a select seed strain takes years of trials and decision-making. What finally makes it to market is Jelitto’s best effort, and one that is useful in as many gardening climates worldwide as possible. The needs of the young plant grower figures largely in our long-term breeding plans. Each year, Jelitto introduces seed items growers can adapt to their systems–easy to sow, consistent germination, good strong early growth […]

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December 2, 2008

Succeeding With Bedding Plants

Floriculture plants of the future must be both grower friendly and consumer friendly. Growers must make a profit on each plant they grow and consumers must be drawn to the plant on the retail shelf and receive value in postharvest and/or garden performance. The breeding at Dömmen is focused on producing plants that combine both grower and consumer traits. Important grower characteristics are disease resistance/tolerance, plants that require less greenhouse energy inputs, less plant growth regulator inputs, better branching, day-length neutral for spring plants, cold/heat tolerance, plants that fit automation, excellent shipping and excellent flower/plant “wow” on the retail shelf. Plants with these characteristics reduce production costs with more plants per square foot, less inputs of heating and cooling, less photoperiod lighting requirements, reduced chemical applications, less labor demands and reduced shrink without sacrificing the most important consumer demands. Plant characteristics important for consumers are postharvest/garden performance that include disease […]

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December 2, 2008

The Classic City Awards From UGA

The Classic City Awards are presented in November after months of evaluation in The Gardens at the University of Georgia (UGA). Plants are evaluated on foliage quality, flowering performance, disease and insect resistance and the ability to sustain landscape performance through the elements. UGA recently announced the winners. Among the annuals award winners are:– Acalypha ‘Bronze Pink’– Angelonia ‘Serena White’– Begonia ‘Ikon Blush White’– Capsicum ‘Purple Flash’– Colocasia ‘Diamond Head’– Impatiens ‘SunPatiens Vigorous Coral’– Pelargonium ‘Calliope Dark Red’– Petunia ‘Red Ray’– Scaevola ‘Surdiva White’– Solenostemon ‘Henna’ And the perennials winners:– Aruncus ‘Misty Lace’ – Coreopsis ‘Big Bang Full Moon’–Gaillardia ‘Commotion Tizzy’–Gaillardia ‘Commotion Frenzy’–Gaura ‘Snow Fountain’–Helleborus ‘Ivory Prince’–Heuchera ‘Caramel’–Miscanthus ‘Gold Bar’–Salvia leucantha ‘Cislano’–Tricyrtis ‘Kohaku’ For more on the Classic City Award-winning annuals and perennials for 2008, click the respective link.

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December 2, 2008

Bedding Plants Of The Future

We at Selecta believe in developing plants for the future considering three main aspects: contentment, convenience and conscience.  What do we mean by that? It is obvious that ornamental plants are used for decorating homes and gardens. They are there to enrich our lives and to bring beauty and a feeling of being in touch with nature. A nice garden area offers us a private haven. To achieve this, breeders are constantly developing new and exciting plant types, such as hanging petunias and calibrachoas, and interesting new colors. But ornamental plants need to be not only beautiful. As an industry, we need to meet the consumer’s desire to achieve more with doing less. Not everyone is a hobby gardener; hence we need to breed plants that are more forgiving and tolerant to less water and wrong planting spots, as well as parasites. These traits will offer consumer and producer benefits […]

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December 2, 2008

High Praise For SunPatiens – Even In Texas

Jimmy Turner, the director of research at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden, initially scoffed at the notion of sun-loving impatiens excelling in North Texas. He later discovered the “gardening myth” behind Sunpatiens, was indeed true. And after praising them in an article, Ecke Ranch, Sakata America and Floragem donated 15,000 Sunpatiens for the arboretum’s summer and fall display. “No plant makes it into our seasonal displays without first proving its metal in our trial program,” Turner says. “We have tested the Sunpatiens the last three years and they absolutely take the full infernal heat of a Texas summer and flower constantly.”  Dave Forehand, vice president of gardens for the arboretum, thinks highly of this particular impatiens, bred by Sakata Seed and distributed through Ecke Ranch. “Sunpatiens have been the unexpected star of our summer and fall displays this year,” he says.  “Their vibrant colors and non-stop flowering have been […]

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December 2, 2008

Poinsettia Open Houses In Ohio, North Carolina

OFA and Ohio State University kicked off their poinsettia trial open houses today at Krueger Maddux Greenhouses in Indiana, and they’ll continue next week with three stops across the state of Ohio. North Carolina State University, meanwhile, is hosting its open house for growers and consumers tomorrow and Saturday. The schedule and locations for the remaining OFA and Ohio State poinsettia trials are as follows: December 8, 1–3:30 p.m. Bostdorff Greenhouse Acres 18832 N. Dixie Highway Bowling Green, OH 43402 419-353-7858 December 10, 1–3:30 p.m. Dill’s Greenhouse 5800 Rager Rd. Groveport, OH 43125 614-836-3700 December 12, 1–3:30 p.m. Barco and Sons, Inc 6650 Branch Rd. Medina, OH 44256 330-725-5400 North Carolina State has an event planned for growers tomorrow (Dec. 4) from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Another event for both growers and consumers will follow Saturday (Dec. 7) from 1-5 p.m. The event is free and no registration is […]

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November 24, 2008

Unrooted Suntory Cuttings More Widely Available

The genetics for Suntory’s best-selling varieties are now all available for nine of its brands, Jackson & Perkins announced last week, to give growers a more cost-effective option for producing bedding plants. The Suntory Collection unrooted cutting (URC) program will be available through the Suntory network of brokers, and cuttings will be shipped from Guatemala and Costa Rica. “Unrooted cuttings provide a fabulous product at an enormous cost savings over rooted liners,” says Lou Aguirre, Suntory licensing manager for Jackson & Perkins. “They also provide growers with more flexibility to grow premium plants in various sizes and forms.” The following brands are included in the URC program: – Million Bells calibrachoas–Surfinia petunias–Tapien verbenas–Temari verbenas–Summer Wave torenias–Angel Earrings fuchsias–Marietta bidens–Summer Splash nierembergias–Surdiva scaevolas

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November 24, 2008

A Breeder’s Challenge

The last 25 years have seen dramatic changes for grower, retailers and the end consumer. Plants have become better performers in the garden and on the bench, with brighter, longer-lasting colors and enhanced resistance to diseases and pests. But there’s always room for improvement, and the industry’s leading companies are continuously looking for ways to improve their products to benefit growers, retailers and, of course, the end consumer. Here’s what some of those breeders think the next 25 years will bring in terms of new varieties, and what’s on the wish lists of some of Greenhouse Grower’s readers when it comes to breeding better plants. Developing New Poinsettias by Paul Ecke III Bedding Plants Of The Future by Nils Klemm Succeeding With Bedding Plants by P. Allen Hammer Breeding At Kieft by Jeff McGraw The Next “It” Plant by Steve Jones Perennials For Plant People by Mary Vaananen Benary’s Breeding […]

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November 24, 2008

Young Plants Companies Unite Under Fleuroselect

Representatives from 40 European young plants companies met at the European Ornamental Young Plant Producers Convention and elected to unite under the Fleuroselect umbrella. Organizations for young plants producers already exist at the national level, but the group felt a platform was needed for all of Europe in order to network, share experiences and develop strategies. The group chose Fleuroselect for several reasons. It likes the fact that Fleuroselect encompasses production and distribution companies, as well as breeders of vegetatively propagated material. It also likes the fact that it’s an independent, non-political, international organization. Many of the 40 companies uniting are already members of Fleuroselect anyway, and all 40 will now have voting rights as members of the organization. Herman Hamer of Florensis and Josef Clodius of Syngenta will represent the group at the board level on the production and distribution business unit. Permanent working groups will be set up […]

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