Potential With Potted Lilies

Potential With Potted Lilies

Frits Kneppers, vice president of Dutch-based Zabo Plant, visits California on occasion and wonders about the potential potted lilies have in the United States every time he sees those Hollywood-style homes.

Kneppers won’t find that unique Hollywood consumer in The Netherlands–and he’d be pressed to find more than a few consumers like the celebrities who own those gargantuan homes elsewhere in the U.S.–but he makes an interesting statement about potted lily potential: There is a market at the U.S. grower’s fingertips, and higher-quality, higher-priced lilies can drive it.

“You need to target supermarkets and push them to expand their sales windows for potted lilies,” Kneppers says. “The U.S. needs more programs.”

In Europe, potted lilies are sold mostly through supermarkets and sales are at their peak in September and October. In the U.S., of course, the sales window for potted lilies–like most of our industry’s products–is April and May.

Spring is a great start for potted lilies, Kneppers says, but he sees anytime potential and even bigger potential around Valentine’s Day and Christmas. Ko Klaver, marketing manager of Zabo Plant USA, agrees about the potential of expanded sales windows and supermarket potential.

Interested In Lilytopia?

Inspired by the world-famous lily show at Holland’s Keukenhof, Lilytopia is the newest event at Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pa. Longwood will transform its majestic East Conservatory into a breathtaking showcase for the newest varieties of lilies developed by Dutch hybridizers. The event will take place May 21-31, 2010.

“Longwood has a very long history with the Dutch bulb industry,” says Paul B. Redman, director of Longwood Gardens. “Last year, we had almost 300,000 spring bulbs on display in the conservatory and across more than 250 acres of formal gardens.”

“The higher-end supermarket here has tremendous potential,” Klaver says. “It’s really interesting how Europe and the U.S. have different approaches. We (the U.S.) could learn from Europe to pick up more supermarket business, and Europe could pick up more ideas from the U.S. to see there is interest in the material in the spring for the garden.”

Convincing supermarket buyers and retailers they can sell potted lilies year-round is a challenge, but lily bulb suppliers like Zabo Plant intend to convince them next spring when Pennsylvania’s Longwood Gardens hosts a showcase May 21-31 for the newest lily varieties Dutch hybridizers have developed.

“We’re inviting all people,” Kneppers says. “We want the buyers to come and see what’s available. We want them to see the tremendous quality that’s available, because many simply don’t know what’s available.”

History Lesson

Five years ago, Kneppers says the potted lily landscape in the U.S. was vastly different. When Zabo Plant approached the box stores about a potted lily program five years ago, the box stores were on the verge of venturing out of the potted lily business altogether. The quality of lilies was in question, he says, and it was difficult for potted lily growers to provide enough lilies at the times box stores needed them most. Oriental potted lilies, after all, are 95-to 100-day crops.

But around the time the box stores considered dropping potted lilies altogether, Kneppers says Zabo Plant convinced growers to try its potted lily program after university trials with its lilies proved successful.

Box stores later bought into programs like Zabo Plant’s, and Kneppers says growers are now providing enough for their targeted spring sales windows. Zabo’s Lilylooks lilies, for example, are genetic short hybridized potted lilies that offer added value.

There is, however, always room for improvement at the grower level, and Kneppers has one major recommendation for growers looking to improve potted lily quality: Give lilies more space to grow.

Some growers may try to squeeze as many bulbs as they can into tight production spaces, and Kneppers understands this approach because meeting high retail demands is important. But he says the more growers invest in each pot, the better their quality will be. And a higher-quality potted lily means growers can demand a higher price.

Kneppers is impressed with the marketing programs in the U.S., too, and he believes the combination of quality product and strategic marketing can improve the potted lily landscape even further. Hooking the supermarkets and expanding sales windows are the keys, though.

“We’ve had potted lilies in the marketplace that do really well in the spring,” Klaver says. “Until recently, we never had varieties we were able to produce in the winter to hit time frames like Christmas, Valentine’s Day and Easter. People are buying poinsettias, mums and Easter lilies, and there’s room for something exciting and new in the marketplace during those seasons.”

For more information on Zabo Plant and its potted lily programs and varieties, visit LilyLooks.com and ZaboPlant.com.

Leave a Reply

More From Varieties...

May 25, 2017

Genetically Modified Petunia Update: Breeders Take Swift Action, USDA Requires Import Authorization

Now that the initial shock of genetically engineered petunias is wearing off, breeders continue testing for tainted stock and look toward the future. On the consumer side, uncertainties remain.  

Read More

May 23, 2017

USDA-APHIS Bulletin on Unauthorized Distribution of Genetically Engineered Petunias

On May 2, 2017, USDA-APHIS was informed that an orange petunia variety was potentially genetically engineered and had been imported and moved interstate without required authorization by APHIS. This led to testing of numerous petunia varieties, which confirmed this particular variety and several others are genetically engineered, and meet the regulatory definition of a regulated article under APHIS regulations. APHIS continues to work with the industry to ensure unauthorized GE petunias are not distributed in the United States.

Read More
Petunia F1 African Sunset from American Takii

May 22, 2017

Genetically Modified Petunia Update: Question and Answer with AmericanHort’s Craig Regelbrugge

AmericanHort’s key role interfacing with the USDA on the recall of genetically modified petunias has helped the horticulture industry rapidly address the problem. Senior Vice President Craig Regelbrugge talks about recent updates, the impact on the industry, and where it goes from here.

Read More
Latest Stories

May 25, 2017

Genetically Modified Petunia Update: Breeders Take Swif…

Now that the initial shock of genetically engineered petunias is wearing off, breeders continue testing for tainted stock and look toward the future. On the consumer side, uncertainties remain.  

Read More

May 23, 2017

USDA-APHIS Bulletin on Unauthorized Distribution of Gen…

On May 2, 2017, USDA-APHIS was informed that an orange petunia variety was potentially genetically engineered and had been imported and moved interstate without required authorization by APHIS. This led to testing of numerous petunia varieties, which confirmed this particular variety and several others are genetically engineered, and meet the regulatory definition of a regulated article under APHIS regulations. APHIS continues to work with the industry to ensure unauthorized GE petunias are not distributed in the United States.

Read More
Petunia F1 African Sunset from American Takii

May 22, 2017

Genetically Modified Petunia Update: Question and Answe…

AmericanHort’s key role interfacing with the USDA on the recall of genetically modified petunias has helped the horticulture industry rapidly address the problem. Senior Vice President Craig Regelbrugge talks about recent updates, the impact on the industry, and where it goes from here.

Read More
Eason 2017 spring trials report

May 16, 2017

New California Spring Trials Report Now Available From …

The report features genetics from 21 different breeding companies and information gathered from the 15 different stops on this year’s tour.

Read More
Schizachyrium scoparium The Blues

May 13, 2017

How Ornamental Grasses and Sedges Can Play a Role in Po…

Grasses and sedges provide food, shelter, and support for pollinators and the birds and mammals that keep insect populations in balance.

Read More
Asclepias with a bumblebee

May 8, 2017

How to Choose the Best Native Plants for Pollinator Gar…

The popularity of native plants is rising as gardeners become conscious of the need to plant more pollinator gardens. The challenge is to select the right plants to put in them.

Read More
Allan Armitage Of Naked Ladies and Forget Me Nots

May 2, 2017

Allan Armitage: How Growers Can Be Creative to Take Gar…

Our industry does a good job of making things convenient for our customers. It’s time to take it a step further.

Read More
Asclepias tuberosa

April 29, 2017

Greenhouse Growing Tips for Asclepias tuberosa

Madeline Maynor, Growing Operations Manager for Landenberg, PA-based North Creek Nurseries, shares greenhouse growing tips for Asclepias tuberosa, the 2017 Perennial Plant of the Year.

Read More
Andropogon gerardii Blackhawks (Intrinsic Perennial Gardens)

April 25, 2017

Kelly Norris: Diversity is the Key to Growing the Ornam…

Offering a selection of ornamental grasses that cater to customer needs will keep sales from stagnating.

Read More

April 25, 2017

41 New Vegetative Petunias From California Spring Trial…

With the abundance of new introductions for the 2018 retail season, we’ve made it easier for you to sift through them by separating out the vegetative petunias from the Northern sites, which includes selections from Westhoff Flowers, Sakata Ornamentals, Danziger, Proven Winners, and Syngenta flowers.

Read More
Begonia Spectre Silver Terra Nova Nurseries

April 20, 2017

Terra Nova Nurseries Releases Two New, Attractive Begon…

Stardust is the latest addition to Terra Nova Nurseries’ existing T Rex Begonia series, and Silver is the first introduction to the company’s new Spectre Begonia series.

Read More

April 18, 2017

Cool Combos From CAST 2017 – Editor’s Choic…

With container gardening becoming more of a lifestyle among consumers than a trend, and breeders continuing to put more effort in container mixes and components, I feel I would be remiss if I didn't share some of the special combinations that not only caught my eye at California Spring Trials, but absolutely took my breath away and made me want to immediately get started gardening.

Read More
Danziger New Hires

April 16, 2017

Danziger Invests in Continued North American Business G…

As part of a new business structure for its North American market, Mike Fernandez has been appointed Market Manager North America for Bedding Plants and Perennials, and Kate Zvara was named as Key Account Manager and Retail Specialist.

Read More
Florida Flower Trials

April 12, 2017

Looking for Info on New Varieties for Hot Climates? Che…

The Florida Nursery Growers and Landscape Association’s Florida Flower Trials, which are focused on new and improved varieties able to thrive in the extremes of Florida’s climate, are a great opportunity to connect with national breeders.

Read More
Lupinus Staircase Series (Green Fuse Botanicals)

April 11, 2017

Begonias, Celosias Among Dr. Allan Armitage’s Favorites…

Check out some of Allan’s top picks from his final day at CAST 2017, which included visits to Green Fuse Botanicals and Floranova.

Read More
Rex Begonia container mix at Green Fuse Botanicals

April 11, 2017

Green Fuse Botanicals’ Rex Begonias and First Looks; Fl…

Here are the highlights from Green Fuse Botanicals and Floranova on the last day of CAST 2017.

Read More

April 7, 2017

Hort Couture Wows With Farm to Table; Florist Holland R…

On the last day for GroLink and the second to last for the Greenhouse Grower team, the wealth of genetics, marketing programs, and announcements were pleasing to our eyes, ears, and hearts.

Read More

April 7, 2017

California Spring Trials Day Five: Notable New Plant Va…

See some of the new varieties for 2018 displayed at Ball Horticultural and GroLink Plant Company on day five of California Spring Trials 2017.

Read More