SunPatiens Earns The 2016 Medal Of Excellence In Marketing Award

SunPatiens SakataIn the same year as its milestone 10th Birthday, the SunPatiens brand has more to celebrate, as it receives Greenhouse Grower’s 2016 Excellence In Marketing Award. Bred by Sakata Ornamentals, SunPatiens is the first global brand the company has promoted. In the 10 years it has been on the market, it has proven itself as a consistent garden performer that delivers color all season long for growers, retailers, landscapers, and consumers

“Our typical approach is to reflect local market tastes or regional distinctions in the marketing teams, for various reasons, but with SunPatiens we made a very clear decision that we would do this globally, and that has helped the brand,” says Sakata Seed CEO David Armstrong. “It’s like Coca-Cola — whether you go to China, Brazil, or Brussels, you’re going to see SunPatiens called SunPatiens, and it’s going to perform and be marketed the same way. That was an important part of the brand building for Sakata.”

Sakata Ornamentals has supported the brand with a consumer-facing website, SunPatiens.com, a website for the trade, SakataOrnamentals.com, as well as a logo and packaging that looks the same worldwide. The original message found on all tags and branded pots was the tagline, “The Power To Grow,” which is still the underlying foundation of its success, says Product Manager Mark Seguin.

With dozens of varieties in the line, SunPatiens has won 23 awards in the North American market, as well as countless others internationally. Thanks to its performance in both containers and the landscape, the SunPatiens brand has established itself as one of the top-selling bedding plants.

SunPatiens And CBD

SunPatiens got its start in Indonesia, when Sakata plant breeders identified a distinctive impatiens species growing in the wild that was flowering under full-sun conditions. Realizing its genetic potential, Sakata contracted the use of the plant from the Indonesian government under the CBD protocol. After eight years in research and development and countless crosses with other species, Sakata introduced SunPatiens in 2006.

How SunPatiens Overcame The Retail Disconnect

It wasn’t always easy for SunPatiens, Seguin says. In the early years after its launch, the retail presentation was challenging, as growers often produced SunPatiens using the same culture as traditional New Guinea impatiens, which resulted in less-than-ideal finish material. The vigorous nature of the very early introductions were often limited to larger containers with higher price points.

“Initial sales growth was modest, but awards for their outstanding performance in flower trials continued to accumulate,” he says. “We demonstrated this versatile performance in countless flower trials throughout North America, and in the many awards and distinctions earned through presentations to retail merchants and their grower councils. Our broker/distributor partners also played a vital role in promoting the product potential of SunPatiens by supporting the sales and growing recommendations with their grower customers.”

Sakata credits The Home Depot and its grower council with seeing the promise of SunPatiens’ extraordinary garden performance early on.

“The series really developed with the introduction of the Compact SunPatiens,” Seguin says. “Growers refined their production techniques, and with the improved genetics were able to deliver high-quality plants in various sizes and containers to retailers and landscapers alike.”

SunPatiens resists downy mildewThe Downy Mildew Dilemma

Another sales boost for SunPatiens came with the unfortunate onset of Impatiens Downy Mildew. The disease was death for seed impatiens, while New Guineas and SunPatiens proved resistant. Trials showed the side-by-side comparison of SunPatiens standing up and thriving in the same beds where Impatiens walleriana were completely wiped out. With the supply chain and consumers looking for shade alternatives to the millions of units sold of Impatiens walleriana in the aftermath of Impatiens Downy Mildew, many people were exposed to SunPatiens who may not have been, Seguin says.

“While New Guineas were often pushed as an alternative, because they, too, are resistant, I think people found the SunPatiens offered more, given their vigor, so fewer plants are needed in the landscape,” Seguin says.

“The downy mildew issue really opened the door for people to try SunPatiens, and they have been happy with the performance and come back for more. The result has been extraordinary growth, as more end-users discover the real value SunPatiens deliver.”

That growing awareness of SunPatiens and its reputation for excellent garden performance will likely be helped along by Sakata Ornamentals’ recently expanded agreement with garden guru and plantsman P. Allen Smith, who will promote SunPatiens as one of his partner brands in consumer media. Smith has called SunPatiens a gamechanger in impatiens because it can be grown anywhere, provides disease resistance, and allows consumers to be successful.

“SunPatiens is a hero product because it’s one that consumers are likely to not fail with, and the more of those that we can roll out, the more confidence we can build among consumers. We’ve got to keep that momentum going.”

Topics: , , ,

Leave a Reply

More From Varieties...
Francis Kwong, PanAmerican Seed

August 15, 2017

Ornamental Seed Scientist Francis Kwong Dies at Age 65

Kwong was most recently the Director of Seed Technology for PanAmerican Seed, and his research was instrumental in the development of calibrachoa, angelonia, and other plants.

Read More
Candy Tops Snapdragons Series (Sakata Ornamentals)

August 3, 2017

Five Characteristics Breeders Want in Top-Performing Spring Annuals

New spring annuals have to provide something for everyone — longevity, durability, performance, and more — if they want to meet breeders’ high standards for market-worthy plants.

Read More
Petunia 'Headliner Pink Sky" (Selecta)

August 3, 2017

Why Eccentricity is the New Black in Spring Annuals

Consumers judge plants by appearance, color impact, and ease of maintenance, which is why retailers want new spring annuals that are novel standouts.    

Read More
Latest Stories
Francis Kwong, PanAmerican Seed

August 15, 2017

Ornamental Seed Scientist Francis Kwong Dies at Age 65

Kwong was most recently the Director of Seed Technology for PanAmerican Seed, and his research was instrumental in the development of calibrachoa, angelonia, and other plants.

Read More
Candy Tops Snapdragons Series (Sakata Ornamentals)

August 3, 2017

Five Characteristics Breeders Want in Top-Performing Sp…

New spring annuals have to provide something for everyone — longevity, durability, performance, and more — if they want to meet breeders’ high standards for market-worthy plants.

Read More
Petunia 'Headliner Pink Sky" (Selecta)

August 3, 2017

Why Eccentricity is the New Black in Spring Annuals

Consumers judge plants by appearance, color impact, and ease of maintenance, which is why retailers want new spring annuals that are novel standouts.    

Read More

August 1, 2017

39 New Vegetables and Herbs for 2018

New vegetable and herb introductions for 2017 offer unique shaped fruits, distinctive foliage, intense flavors, improved disease resistance, high yields, and more. Here are 39 new vegetable and herb varieties to consider for your product mix in 2018.

Read More
2018 Griffin Catalog

July 31, 2017

Griffin Releases Print and Digital Versions of Its 2018…

The 250-page print catalog features more than 350 new varieties from leading breeders, while the enhanced digital version has extra features on crop culture, grower tools, and more.

Read More
Emerald-Coast-Growers-Guide-Feature-Image

July 27, 2017

Emerald Coast Growers Offers Updated Guide on its Newes…

This year’s guide features new varieties while maintaining Emerald Coast’s ornamental grass program and expanding its perennial plants line.

Read More
Terra Nova Shipping Box

July 20, 2017

Terra Nova Nurseries, Dümmen Orange to Partner on Unroo…

Terra Nova Nurseries has contracted with Dümmen Orange to produce unrooted cuttings (URCs) from Terra Nova private stock located at Dümmen Orange’s Central America facilities. The URCs will fulfill orders in North America and Europe.

Read More

July 20, 2017

New Perennials, Trial Gardens, and Merchandising Were H…

Darwin Perennials Day has steadily become one of the must-attend perennial events of the summer. This year, even the weather cooperated.

Read More
2018 Ball Seed Catalog

July 17, 2017

Ball Seed’s 2018 New Varieties Catalog Now Available

The expanded guide includes breakthrough breeding from Ball in annuals, perennials, vegetables, potted plants, and more.

Read More
Pleasant View Open House

July 16, 2017

Pleasant View Gardens, D.S. Cole Growers Hosting Open H…

The event gives horticulture industry professionals the chance to check out nearly 80 new introductions from Proven Winners, as well as Pleasant View’s new Savor Edibles & Fragrants line.

Read More
All American Selections

July 12, 2017

All-America Selections Celebrates Milestone Anniversary…

Coinciding with its 85th anniversary celebration, AAS is hosting an open house at its new offices, and has also released its annual report.

Read More

July 8, 2017

Plant Patent Law: Protecting the Variety Pipeline

Breeders call for better cooperation in protecting intellectual property while considering how stricter laws and expensive patents could impact the future of innovation.

Read More
Calibrachoa ‘Superbells Holy Moly!’ (Proven Winners)

July 8, 2017

Are Utility Patents Tying Up Innovation With Litigation…

The opportunities for innovation in plant breeding could be greatly advanced by creating an industry-led patent licensing platform.

Read More

July 8, 2017

Fleuroselect and CIOPORA Offer Organizational Leadershi…

Learn why breeders feel these organizations should be emulated in an industry-led initiative to protect plant breeding efforts.

Read More
Thalictrum Nimbus White (Terra Nova Nurseries)

June 30, 2017

Kelly Norris Dishes on New Plants, Going to Seed, and B…

From woody perennials to genetically modified petunias, Kelly Norris gives his take on what turned out to be a busy spring.

Read More
Jim Devereux, Green Fuse Botanicals

June 24, 2017

Green Fuse Botanicals New Vice President is Focused on …

Jim Devereux, who will oversee production, sales, and marketing for Green Fuse, says he hopes to bring genetics to the market that break from traditional production methods for finished growers.

Read More
Ushio Sakazaki feature

June 22, 2017

Japanese Breeder Ushio Sakazaki Wins Medal of Excellenc…

From Supertunias to Superbells, this innovative Japanese breeder has used wild genetics to create game-changing plants that help consumers reconnect with the beauty of nature.

Read More
CallaFornia Red

June 20, 2017

Dümmen Orange Enters Calla Market With Acquisition of G…

Golden State will continue to supply the market through September 2018, at which time Dümmen Orange will assume supply and delivery of much of Golden State’s product line.

Read More