Sakata Seed America is extending its partnership with plantsman and television and social media personality P. Allen Smith 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.
Nearly a year ago, Sakata announced its intention to partner with Smith to develop the P. Allen Smith Home Grown Seed Collection, which includes 25 garden-friendly vegetables picked from Sakata varieties. This past spring, the company took it further and announced a partnership centering on SunPatiens. The new cut flower collection will build on the existing vegetable collection with cut-flower classics like asters, sunflowers, and snapdragons.
“We really want to work at showing in small-space gardens how people can integrate cut flowers, herbs, and vegetables together in a way that brings ecological harmony to their backyard or whatever space they choose to garden in,” Smith says. “The message behind this collection is that it works not as a separate element, but as an integrated program with vegetables.”
Cut Flowers Are Making A Comeback
Cut flowers are rising in popularity, and consumers are looking to grow them in their gardens and incorporate them into their homes. Sakata hopes to offer consumers a new lifestyle choice ─ easy-to-grow flowers with a long vase life that bring simple beauty into their homes and lives. Part of the idea behind the collection is to improve the consumer experience, by taking the fear out of growing cut flowers. For those who are unsure, the collection will help with decision making and encourage them to try growing something new because they don’t have to think about it too much. It’s also about providing enjoyment.
“I call it the happiness factor,” Smith says. “People want to bring joy into their lives in small ways every day. There is no better way to do that than with flowers and good things to eat, but this is also about helping them relax about growing things. As an industry, we need to remove the fear factor.”
Consumers will have plenty of chances to try the new Sakata varieties included in the P. Allen Smith Home Grown Cut Flower collection, such as Aster ‘Bonita,’ Lisianthus ‘Rosita,’ and Vincent sunflowers and Sonnet snapdragons. Smith says he selected varieties for the collection based upon his experience with the genera and trialing in his own gardens. He looked for plants that would perform well in Southern climates and varieties that would tolerate the high heat and humidity so often prevalent in Zone 7 to 8 gardens. The seasonality of the collection has also been important to him, as he wanted to make sure that something would be blooming throughout the gardening season and that the collection would hold its appeal long into the fall.
Natural-Looking Cut Flowers Have Lots Of Consumer Appeal
Another factor plays into the selection, as well, although indirectly ─ generational differences. Smith says he has observed that Millennials, for example, want to be able to plunk their cut flowers into a Mason jar versus buying a fancy vase for them, whereas Boomers are often attracted to a particular favorite plant or flower. This has led to a trend toward consumers wanting their cut flowers to have more of a natural feel to them versus the formal bouquet look with big, in-your-face blooms.
“It seems like the new cut flower varieties still have long-lasting blooms, but the flowers have more of a wildness to them,” he says. “We aren’t trying to find the biggest, most perfect blooms anymore. It is more about what feels natural. Consumers want their cut flowers to have more of a gardenesque feel to them, to look like they came straight from the garden. That is a trend I am seeing and something I am looking for when I select these varieties.”
Regardless of the generational differences, Smith says the appeal of flowers is ageless and universal, sort of timeless, and that is what will make the difference with this new collection.
“I think people just love flowers, no matter their generation,” he says.
“Sakata is so excited to extend our partnership with Allen,” says Senior Marketing Director Alecia Troy. “He’s the real deal ─ by that I mean he genuinely wants to help people. What better way to do that than to introduce them to the joys of gardening, decorating, and cooking with the bounty of the garden. His philosophy of making it easy and natural, and removing the fear factor is key to our future and the future of our industry.”
Links To Mail-Order Suppliers Coming Soon
P. Allen Smith’s website is a great source of information on ways to use cut flowers. For gardeners looking to grow cut flowers in their backyards, the seed components of the P. Allen Smith Home Grown Cut Flower Seed Collection will be available for gardeners to buy from seed companies that have mail-order divisions. Coming soon, links to these companies will be listed on P. Allen Smith’s website for gardeners’ convenience. For more information, visit Pallensmith.com/homegrown-cut-flowers.