Sakata’s Celosia ‘Dragon’s Breath’ Steals The Show In Salinas

Celosia 'Dragon's Breath' (Sakata Seed)Since January, when I first saw celosia ‘Dragon’s Breath’ in the landscape at Costa Farms’ Season Premier, I knew it looked like a great plant that would garner some serious attention. And sure enough, up and down the trials road, people were talking about Sakata’s hot new introduction.

Celosia ‘Dragon’s Breath’ is a seed-propagated, plume-type celosia that is said to actually perform better with less fertilizer and water. If it’s fed too much, its dark leaves lose their reddish-purple coloring and turn green, and by restricting water, it tends to bloom more. It tends to be a more vigorous plant than other plume-type celosias, and its large blooms are quite attractive.

Sakata also introduced a new series of African Marigolds. Proud Mari comes in Orange, Yellow and Gold, and has huge, fist-sized flowers that bloom vigorously. New colors in SuperCal petunias are L.A. Yellow and Pink, and they are fabulous additions to this great line of super-blooming, trailing petunias. Two attractive new bicolors are also available in Colorworks petunia – Homare and Violet Star.

DiscoBelle hibiscus are back, as well.  First available more than a decade ago, Sakata has brought DiscoBelles back to the market to fill demand for a line of seed, large-flowered hibiscus. From Schoneveld breeding, Sakata highlighted a complete line of cyclamen: Mammoth, XL, Allure, Picasso and Micro range in size from very large to tiny, and they provide a bounty of color. The new series of Vitalia vinca provides early blooms, disease tolerance and an easy punch of color.

In the PartyTime coleus collection, Sangria, Lime and PinkBerry provide good color as a mixer in combos, and they also looked great at the Costa trials. There are also new colors in SunPatiens, including Compact Coral Pink and Compact Neon Pink, Spreading Lavender, Spreading Tropical Orange and Spreading Clear Orange. Sakata has a new SunDome portulaca series, in White, Yellow, Rose, Red and Pink.

On the veggie front, there are four new intros: an F1 Melon Citrino, Majestic Red F1 pepper, Little SnowPea White and an F1 slicer tomato ‘Think Pink.’

Master Tag And Summit Plastics Provide Solutions

New 3D containers were on display from Summit Plastics. The not quite square but not quite round containers self-orientate when they’re placed in a tray, to face the correct way, with print facing outward. Different from a round pot system, growers can fit 20 to 30 percent more plants on a rack and 25 percent more plants at retail. Containers are available this spring from pint to 3-quart sizes, and a large volume are already in production.

One of the interesting things about the 3D pots is that when you pick them up, they have a round feel, which customers like, but growers like square pots for production, and the pots fit that need, as well, says Summit Plastics’ Norm Belliveau. Summit worked together with MasterTag to create tags and merchandising for the 3D pots, so they also offer attractive labeling options.

MasterTag also promoted finished products like its grab-and-go three-pack of plants with a sleeve handle, which allows customers to easily pick up and take home to create their own container. It also had a six-pack tray that merchandises itself, and would be ideal for gardening ideas like salsa, Bloody Mary and herb-griller gardens. Both offerings are very “Millennial-savvy,” MasterTag says.

MasterTag’s Flower Forwarders were on hand, as well. The cardboard, half-pallets are perfect for end-caps or cross-merchandising at grocery stores, for instance selling potted plants in the wine aisle or in the gift card aisle.

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