On Day 5 of the California Spring Trials, the Greenhouse Grower team hit the Southern California Trials and saw a multitude of new introductions and exciting programs.
PanAmerican Seed has worked hard on its Plug & Play container combos, trialing them with homeowners in mind and selecting for performance and retail appeal. There are six new combos this year, all from seed, as well as four new Plug & Play combos that mix edibles with ornamentals. Among the new series PanAmerican highlighted was its Lucky Star Pentas that are bred for fast follow-up of secondary blooms and uniformity across the series.
Ball’s acquisition of Xplant falls well into the PanAmerican Seed line up, providing a line of edible snacking peppers that is an ideal gateway to gardening plant for Millennials. They offer form and function, can be grown in small spaces, and satisfy that craving for DIY food production, while kindling interest and confidence for the next stages of gardening, says Ball’s Katie Rotella. Planted with the interesting filler ornamental oregano ‘Kirigami’ and the ‘Little Prince’ alternanthera, homeowners will have a unique combo.
In its HandPicked Vegetables program, PanAmerican Seed has developed its new catalog to help simplify where its varieties are best suited to grow – in home gardens, fields, and hydroponic production, along with a new production guide. Its new precision pellet seed can be used for garden, field, and hydroponic growing, but especially solves the problem for hydroponic growers, as most seed is typically raw or tumbled. The new precision pellet is water soluble and puts the exact number of seeds and each variety in one pellet, providing better germination and more uniformity of crops. There are several exciting new intros in this collection.
Kieft Seed is trying to make it easier for growers to program perennials like annuals for early spring, summer, fall, and shoulder seasons. It has created a chart that groups varieties into categories according to finish times. Growers can use the chart to pick a selection of perennials that will all finish at the same time, so plants can be in color on the retail shelf.
Darwin Perennials has also created an Excel spreadsheet for scheduling of perennials for retail. Growers can input their desired finish date into the excel sheet, which calculates the production timeline for them. This should help extend the selling season and keep plants fresher on the retail shelf because not everything has to be ordered at once. Darwin also branched out into two new classes of perennials this year ─ dianthus and grasses. The vegetative perennial breeder offers 19 new introductions this year, available from unrooted cuttings or tissue culture. Darwin Perennials Day is coming up on Wednesday, June 21, in the Gardens at Ball. Be sure to save the date!
Last year’s big introduction, petunia Night Sky and its new sister, Pink Night Sky, have been moved into the Headliner series of petunia. The breeder has a new Main Stage petunia series for vigorous growers. Selecta has also relaunched its geranium series, grouping by habit.
An exciting new intro for Selecta this year is the osteospermum Daisy Falls series, a unique, spreading osteo that can be incorporated into hanging baskets, and offers good summer performance.
This year brought several big introductions for Ball FloraPlant – SolarTower Ipomoea is the first climbing sweet potato vine on the market. It looks incredible in combos, and finishes fast. Bloomify lantana is the first sterile lantana, meaning it will never go out of color. It solves a problem for consumers because it is not invasive like other lantanas can be. The main target for this series is landscape, thought it will work in baskets. The new Misty salvia is more compact than Mystic Spired and won’t take over containers.
Ball FloraPlant’s Congo wall showed the rainbow range of uniform, compact Congo calibrachoas, with several new colors introduced this year. The new calibrachoa ‘Can-Can Bumble Bee Pink’ offers a new picotee star pattern never seen before that looks like a bee face is poking out of each flower.
One of the nation’s big veggie brands, Burpee got a new look this year to celebrate 100 years of breeding and give the brand a more modern design. Highlights include a new tag that first names what the product is, lists its name and what it is used for, and provides a photo of what the fruit looks like when ready for harvest. It answers all of consumers’ questions in order of priority, based on research, says Product Manager Scott Mozingo. The brand also groups function by color, including the Boost antioxidant group in Purple, the Foodie collection in steel grey, etc. The Amazing collection is a good place to start, both for grower-retailers and consumers, culminating in 141 years of breeding, and offers a great disease resistance package and performance. There are several new exciting intros in this brand.
The arm of the company that promotes non-proprietary genetics, Ball Ingenuity has some interesting new programs this year, including its Bud to Blossom orchid program. This offers the opportunity for growers who want to carry a smaller selection of orchids. Ball is also now distributing the Skyfall series of trailing mums from Royal Van Zanten, and introducing the new white blackberry, ‘Polarberry.’
With new colors in its mini cyclamen line its large, premium line, and its landscape line, Ch. Morel is focusing on showing growers and retailers how cyclamen can be used in a variety of different ways, including as gift and décor items, and for DIY projects.
Check back to GreenhouseGrower.com to see more on these breeders and more in upcoming coverage.