Potted Lily Potential In The U.S.

Potted Lily Potential In The U.S.

Lily bulb supplier Zabo Plants was the first scheduled stop of my visit to The Netherlands. I sat down with Zabo’s Frits Kneppers, who discussed lily bulb production, challenges bulb growers are facing today and a recent shift in European growers wanting to exhibit at the FloraHolland Trade Fair in Aalsmeer as opposed to the Horti Fair in Amsterdam. Those were all interesting conversations and I’ll get to some of them in later blog posts, but the conversation with Kneppers that struck me most was our conversation about the state of potted lilies in the United States.

Zabo’s lily supply, of course, isn’t limited to Dutch or other European growers. Zabo has a presence at U.S. box stores like Walmart and Home Depot with its Lily Looks potted lily program that includes about 17 lilies. When Zabo approached Walmart about a potted lily program five years ago, Kneppers says Walmart was on the verge of venturing out of the potted lily business altogether. The quality, Kneppers says, simply wasn’t being provided, and potted lily growers weren’t providing enough lilies when they were needed most.

But right around the time Walmart was considering dropping potted lilies, Kneppers says Zabo convinced growers to try its potted lilies after three university trials proved successful. The quality of potted lilies being produced then slowly improved at the box stores, and the U.S. growers growing potted lilies are now providing enough for the box stores’ targeted sales window.

Still, Kneppers sees room for improvements in the U.S. potted lily market.

“The quality of pot lilies is still much more developed in other countries,” he says. “When I drive along the West Coast (of the U.S.), I see the size of the houses and wonder what is being done. Growers are providing a cheap lily, and there is a market right there for higher-priced lilies if quality is improved.”

And until consumers realize potted lily quality has more room for improvement, Kneppers says they’ll continue to buy whatever growers provide at lower prices. The obvious way to improve quality is to decrease production. Right now, he believes U.S. growers put too much emphasis on producing as much as possible. If growers focused on growing less but better quality products, they would have more success.

At least that’s Kneppers belief and recommendation.

“Give your lilies a little more space to grow, and you’ll produce more quality,” Kneppers says. “When you charge 2 or 3 cents more per lily, that’s a 10 to 15 percent improvement per lily. Growers must not consider that in their calculations. Twenty or 30 percent less production should result in savings. A very fast calculation is not a good thing for the U.S. Growers should be much more quality conscious.”

The responsibility of quality isn’t only on growers, though. It’s more important than ever that suppliers like Zabo make color selections consumers want. It’s also the supplier’s job to create programs consumers can get excited about, but it’s even more important for suppliers to update programs with new introductions so consumers come back for more.

Zabo will be keeping its Lily Looks program fresh in the coming years with the introduction of double lilies Kneppers hopes to introduce to the industry next year. Oriental lilies are on the way, as well.

Ideally, Kneppers says U.S. potted lily growers would better be served if their sales window was wider. Potted lilies are typically sold in the U.S. between April and June, but they’re available in The Netherlands well into summer. Perhaps improved or enhanced programs that emphasize potted lilies throughout summer could extend that sales window? Kneppers says programs need to improve at supermarket chains. There’s too much potential with potted lilies not to improve them, he says.

“Even if you have poor quality in the U.S., you can survive because of your marketing strategy,” Kneppers says. “The U.S. is more marketing driven. I like the American market because companies can make easy changes. Here, everything is quality.”

Leave a Reply

2 comments on “Potted Lily Potential In The U.S.

  1. Part of the problem is that the big box stores like Walmart -drive the price down and are more concerned with a lower price than a better product!!

  2. Part of the problem is that the big box stores like Walmart -drive the price down and are more concerned with a lower price than a better product!!

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