Hort Couture will be exhibiting at the California Spring Trials for the third time this year with several new varieties, including ‘Glamouflage Grape’ petunia, which sports stunning variegated foliage under bright, grape purple flowers.
Greenhouse Grower recently caught up with Hort Couture CEO Jim Monroe to learn more about Glamouflage and the direction the company’s breeding is going.
GG: In bedding plants, we see breeder focus on flower size, color and some other factors, but not so much on foliage. What’s the opportunity you and your breeder saw in Glamouflage to focus on variegated petunia foliage?
JM: All of the big breeding houses are focused on the big box grower. They are breeding smaller varieties that fit on tighter racks, (take up) less space on bench, etc. We are trying to look in just the opposite direction to find unique items that the small grower can use to differentiate their offering from the larger retailer. Glamouflage brings something to the market that lights up a combo with its exciting, bright foliage. We want breeders to see Hort Couture as a perfect place for the anomaly that is best sold in the IGC (independent garden center) channel.
GG: Besides foliage, what other factors excite you about Glamouflage petunia?
JM: Glamouflage is not only beautiful for its amazing foliage, but it has fully open, large purple flowers and the plant form is excellent. With less chlorophyll, the plant has a tight, slower growth rate compared to other vegetative petunias. There are some amazing opportunities to use this plant in combination baskets.
GG: Do you see opportunities to do non-traditional breeding with the foliage on other bedding plant?
JM: We want Hort Couture to have the coolest new plants. It’s that simple. We are a small, nimble company that can bring specialty, boutique-type genetics to the market probably better than the larger companies. The plants we are getting from small breeders and from IGCs that want them to stay in the IGC channel are amazing. We are just getting started. We have some really cool foliage combined with flowers coming on genera such as geranium and oxalis.