Perspective: McHutchison’s Vaughn Fletcher

Perspective: McHutchison's Vaughn Fletcher

Vaughn Fletcher visited a dozen variety trial sites this year, including the California Spring Trials, Costa Farms, the Dallas Arboretum, Colorado State University and C. Raker & Sons. As Midwest sales manager for McHutchison, the information Fletcher gleans from his visits adds value to his grower customer relationships–as well as the other McHutchison representatives with whom he shares his information. Fletcher is also one of Greenhouse Grower’s Medal of Excellence panelists.

Recently, Fletcher reflected on his 2010 trial visits with Greenhouse Grower, and he shared his thoughts on new varieties, variety trends and the world of distribution. Fletcher also shared a few varieties photos he took during his summer tours.

GG: What are your thoughts on the number of new varieties in the industry? Too many, too few or the right number?

VF: Plant breeding and significant introductions are critical to the profitability and long-term strategy of the breeding company. They’re the lifeblood of our industry. The breeding companies are striving to offer complete programs of plant varieties, and this is creating some confusion for the growers when it comes to production decisions. If you add new varieties to the program what are you going to delete?

More choices lead to more indecision and confusion for the grower, so plant selection focusing on grower-friendly varieties and improved landscape and garden performance is essential.

GG: A few varieties, ‘Black Velvet’ petunia included, have dominated industry headlines this year. But what are a couple of the lesser-known varieties that performed spectacularly at many of the trial sties that growers should know about?

VF: I chose ‘Black Velvet’ as my Medal of Excellence choice for the year because I feel it’s the best introduction. But I also think SunPatiens are outstanding. I’ve seen them from north to south, and they’ve been truly outstanding in landscape sites. The landscapers I’ve talked to have been happy with their performance, and I’m finding a lot of growers are shifting some of their New Guinea impatiens business over to SunPatiens.

Other plants that have been outstanding in summer trials and landscape sites include rudbeckia ‘Denver Daisy,’ pennisetum ‘Jade Princess’ and the gaillardia Gallo series.

GG: Is there a color or a characteristic lacking in the market for which there’s a real need?

VF: The industry needs non-fading dark blues, deep yellows, picotees and doubles.

We could use more picotee flowers in vegetative lines. We have a few picotees in petunias but not other plants. We could use more in calibrachoas. We’re seeing some in verbenas and even geraniums. It seems like this year at retail, the consumer was really attracted to anything picotee or unusual. Anything with bright, vibrant colors sold very well. I think that will continue to be a breeding trend or a breeding focus.

We could also use more double flowers with greater heat tolerance. We have a few doubles in petunias, calibrachoas and bacopas, but we need more double flowers in more series with more colors.

Black is also going to be a niche color. When it was combined in other plants to accent this summer, it was very attractive in containers. If you plant black plants with yellow lantanas or anything white, it’s going to stand out. And, yes, it’s going to sell.

GG: What other variety trends are emerging?

VF: Disease resistance, compactness, early flowering, garden performance and significant new and unique colors are all here. But compactness: We have a lot of genetics coming out with more compactness. The reason for this is the grower wants to produce a plant that’s more production friendly. If, in fact, growers have less input costs in a variety, they’re going to save money.
But with all the genetics going into the marketplace, how does Mrs. Consumer know when she’s buying a compact plant? Maybe she wants something that really trims down. So it requires education from the retailer. It’s not going to happen at the box store. They buy what they think looks good.

GG: Has there been a shift from growers working with brokers to growers selling direct? If not, do you see a shift in the future?

VF: I don’t think we’ve seen a major shift. The brokerage chain is still very important. We offer a lot of very important things. Most of the brokerage companies offer a professional sales force. A lot of reps are well informed and educated, so they offer value to the grower. Also, distribution allows the brokerage company to handle the credit, order processing, resolution of claims and other ordering concerns.

Leave a Reply

More From Varieties...
Dr Allan Armitage

June 25, 2016

Three Types Of Plant Consumers To Watch

There are three emerging groups of plant consumers that you should be targeting for plant sales in the future, according to Allan Armitage.

Read More
FleuroStar Award Ceremony

June 20, 2016

Begonia Hybrid ‘Miss Malibu’ Takes Home FleuroStar Award

The award from Fleuroselect was announced at the Green Inspiration Event in Amsterdam.

Read More
Caryopteris 'Beyond Midnight Bluebeard'

June 20, 2016

Keep The Sales Coming With 16 New Blooming Varieties For Fall

Plants that put on a show from first frost long into fall and offer the color options consumers want for their gardens go a long way toward extending sales further into the season and can help maintain your sales momentum going strong. Check out these 16 new blooming varieties, both traditional favorites and new alternatives, for your fall crop selection.

Read More
Latest Stories
Dr Allan Armitage

June 25, 2016

Three Types Of Plant Consumers To Watch

There are three emerging groups of plant consumers that you should be targeting for plant sales in the future, according to Allan Armitage.

Read More
FleuroStar Award Ceremony

June 20, 2016

Begonia Hybrid ‘Miss Malibu’ Takes Home FleuroStar Awar…

The award from Fleuroselect was announced at the Green Inspiration Event in Amsterdam.

Read More
Caryopteris 'Beyond Midnight Bluebeard'

June 20, 2016

Keep The Sales Coming With 16 New Blooming Varieties Fo…

Plants that put on a show from first frost long into fall and offer the color options consumers want for their gardens go a long way toward extending sales further into the season and can help maintain your sales momentum going strong. Check out these 16 new blooming varieties, both traditional favorites and new alternatives, for your fall crop selection.

Read More
'Osaka' Flowering Cabbage (Sakata Ornamentals)

June 18, 2016

Mark Your Calendar For Sakata Seed Trials In August

Sakata has set two dates for its California-based trials: Aug. 15-17 in Salinas, and Aug. 17-19 in Woodland.

Read More
Tomato Congress Logo

June 15, 2016

International Tomato Congress In Mexico Will Focus On G…

The event, which takes place in San Luis Potosi from July 20-22, will feature discussions on production strategies, cost management in protected structures, and optimizing your greenhouse environment.

Read More
Nir Nursery Wax Flower Pot Plant

June 14, 2016

Danziger Reaches Deal To Distribute Nir Nursery Varieti…

With the agreement, Danziger becomes the exclusive distributor of Nir’s product line, which includes cut flowers, foliage, pot, and garden plants.

Read More

June 14, 2016

Dümmen Orange Expands Its Succulent Offerings Through N…

According to Dümmen Operations Director Kate Santos, succulents are an attractive growth category because of their ease of use, shelf life in stores, drought tolerance, and versatility in application.

Read More
'Osaka' Flowering Cabbage (Sakata Ornamentals)

June 14, 2016

New Cool Season, Vegetable, And Foliage Crops For Fall …

Whether you’re providing pansies and violas to the garden center for fall color or decorative edibles to grace patio containers, consider these 16 varieties for fall crop sales, newly introduced for 2016 and hitting retail in 2017.

Read More
Calibrachoa Chameleon Sunshine Berry (Westflowers) - Feature

June 9, 2016

Fall Crop Alternatives That Can Increase Your Sales

There’s a lot of competition for grabbing your share of fall mum sales. Give your program a boost with new varieties that complement traditional fall crops.

Read More

June 7, 2016

It’s Time To Rethink The Value And Timing Of Cali…

Fourteen years ago, Greenhouse Grower saw an opportunity to bring next-day coverage of California Pack Trials (now California Spring Trials or CAST) to your inbox. The objective was to be your eyes and ears on location, to report the debut of the newest varieties and marketing programs, and report major breeder announcements, especially for those not attending. We continued to develop new story-telling tools with video capabilities, slideshows, and more. And once social media took hold, everyone attending CAST became reporters of their favorite varieties and displays at trials. So we’re left with the question — how should we continue to evolve our coverage, to bring the most value for you? It’s easy to fall into a certain pattern, to stick with what works — or seems to work. And just because you’re working really hard at something that you’ve had success with in the past, it doesn’t mean it’s […]

Read More
Carex 'Eversheen' (Hoffman Nursery)

June 7, 2016

Hoffman Nursery Has A New 30-Year Anniversary Look!

The new redesign of the Hoffman Nursery website packs in more content than ever with updated resources and 30 years of experience growing grasses.

Read More
GG June Cover image

June 6, 2016

The State Of Plant Breeding In 2016

Breeding companies look to strengthen their competitive advantage, easing the way for growers to procure new plant varieties and for consumers to grow with confidence.

Read More
Petunia Queen of Hearts

June 1, 2016

Danziger Introducing New Petunia Amore Series, And More…

Danziger “Dan” Flower Farm is planning to introduce 60 new varieties from its 2016-17 collection at the annual event, including petunias, bidens, and calibrachoa.

Read More
Nathan Lamkey Chuck Pavlich Allan Armitage talk about muckgenia

May 31, 2016

Allan Armitage: Three Trends (Good And Bad) That Caught…

We need to put the same energies we invest into California Spring Trials to get plants into consumers’ hands and encourage young people in the industry to attend.

Read More
National Garden Bureau California Vegetable Summer Trials

May 26, 2016

California Summer Vegetable Trials In August Will Cover…

The National Garden Bureau is once again organizing summer vegetables trials this August in California, giving attendees the opportunity to visit with several breeding companies.

Read More
Eason 2017 Perennials Guide

May 25, 2016

Eason Horticultural Resources Releases New Perennials G…

The two guides are available in digital and print versions and offer information from several breeders.

Read More
Echinacea ‘Butterfly Rainbow Marcella’

May 25, 2016

15 New Perennials For Bees, Butterflies, And Other Poll…

These 15 new perennials, available for retail in 2016 and 2017, will produce colorful flowers and foliage year after year, providing habitat and food for bees, butterflies, birds, moths, and other pollinators.

Read More
P.Allen Smith Cut Flowers

May 25, 2016

Sakata Seed America And P. Allen Smith Extend Partnersh…

Sakata is taking its partnership with plantsman P. Allen Smith a step further to create the P. Allen Smith Home Grown Cut Flowers Collection, a selection of premium cut flower seed hand-picked by Smith and bred exclusively by Sakata.

Read More
[gravityform id="35" title="false" description="false"]