Surging Interest In Succulents

Sedum 'Chocolate Ball' from Hort Couture

Succulents are popping up everywhere. Highlighted as trendy new additions to wedding bouquets, table floral arrangements and even guest favors, succulents have become the wedding it-plant for 2012.

Beyond the wedding market, succulents are favorites in the garden as
topiary garden art, living wreaths, terrariums and miniature fairy gardens, as well as in the landscape, hanging baskets and combination planters.

“Succulents are very popular with younger consumers for their low-maintenance and interesting forms and textures,” says Juan St. Amant of Plug Connection in Vista, Calif. “Novice gardeners and hardcore enthusiasts alike find succulents very rewarding.”

Surging consumer interest in succulents has led to increased production and more offerings from breeders. Let’s explore what some breeders are building into their portfolios.

Sense New Demand

As the largest producer of tissue-cultured succulents in the United States, Rancho Tissue Technologies develops unique and innovative varieties that can benefit all levels of the supply chain, says owner and founder Heather May.

“All Rancho Collection varieties are produced by tissue culture for superior uniformity and consistency,” she says. “We have developed a proven and dependable reputation for providing high-quality liners and micro cuttings that ensure a crop is vigorous and disease-free.”

The new Rancho Collection includes varieties like Agave ovatifolia ‘Vanzie,’
distinguished by its leaf cupping, which May says is more intense than previous ovatifolia selections.

“We created our new Rancho Collection specifically to showcase plants that set themselves apart from the rest in performance and appearance,” May says. “We’re constantly adding new varieties to the collection, knowing that it will help growers differentiate from their competitors.”

Rancho Tissue’s effort to expand its selection of hardy succulents and see the potential for new varieties is an answer to the growing demand for succulents, from both growers and homeowners.

“Succulent demand is at an all-time high, as growers and consumers discover their potential beyond their excellence in the landscape, to containers both indoors and out,” May says. “As the product range and availability grows, so does interest.”

Mix Up Succulents

In Vista, Calif., Plug Connection is ramping up its succulent offerings with its Tessera Collection. The collection includes more than 150 varieties of high-demand succulents in 72 or 102 trays, as well as assorted mix trays.

“Our Tessera succulents program offers a high-quality succulent liner to growers seeking profitable diversity,” says St. Amant, who’s involved in new product development. “With our assortment, growers are able to design a succulent program to suit their production system needs and local and regional markets.”

Some of the highlights of the Tessera collection include echevaria, sedum, hardy sempervivum and hardy delospermum. Tissue culture varieties include blooming aloes, agave and beschomeria and assorted mixed trays. All succulent orders from Plug Connection may be ordered with Tessera Succulents brand picture tags.

“Succulents are great for attractive container gardens and hanging baskets,” St. Amant says. “They are tough and hardy and low maintenance with a high return, which is a win-win for everyone.”

Finish Quicker

Hort Couture is working with several growers to fulfill its Sunny Succulents program, which has been successful with many grower-retailers, according to Hort Couture’s Jim Monroe. Sunny Succulents offers 36 plant varieties, including echevaria ‘Ruffles,’ crassula ‘Diamond Necklace’ and sedum ‘Chocolate Ball.’

Growers can buy into the Sunny Succulents program in one of three ways. An unrooted cuttings program from Mexico offers the opportunity to include Sunny Succulents pots and tags as part of the purchase.

Rooted liners are available from C. Raker & Sons in Litchfield, Mich., in
18-cells, offering a large liner that requires very little finish time, Monroe says. Sunny Succulents packaging is included.

As a third option, grower-retailers can buy finished plants as part of Hort Couture’s Florida Tres Chic Tropicals program through Kraft Gardens in Fort Pierce, Fla. Available in the Stackable shipping system or via LTL from the Hort Couture broker network, growers can also buy through Morning Dew Tropicals in Delray Beach, Fla.

“This approach gives access to the Sunny Succulents brand at all levels of the supply chain,” Monroe says.

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