California Spring Trials 2016 visitors to Syngenta Flowers found the breeder company and its employees happy and excited for the future, in the wake of the announcement of its acquisition by ChemChina. Now Syngenta Flowers is ready to move forward with its breeding efforts in geraniums, pentas, and other crops, and it is opening its perennials offerings to the whole supply chain for a better chance to get those plants to retail.
Syngenta Wants To Revolutionize Geranium Breeding
The big news in this year’s trial, says Karl Trellinger, Technical Services Representative at Syngenta, is the change in Syngenta’s breeding efforts in geraniums and pentas.
The Calliope geranium series, long considered a premium line in the market, is getting a makeover. Growers have told the breeder that they love the colors available in the Calliope series, but the plants are just too vigorous for smaller containers and combinations. As a result, the original line is being renamed the Calliope Large series, with four colors including the new Large Pink, and more colors on the way, including a Coral Salmon.
Additional breeding efforts have produced a geranium series with less vigor and a smaller habit, in all the same colors growers like in the Calliope series. This new offering will be called the Calliope Medium series, with six colors including the new Medium Dark Red, Medium Pink Flame, and Medium Scarlet, and more colors coming, Trellinger says. These medium Calliope varieties are ideal for combinations, including geranium custom combos, also highlighted at the trial.
Syngenta is also putting resources into breeding new varieties in the Caliente series. One hot new color this year is Coral Salmon, and more colors are on the way.
“We are about to change the future of geranium breeding,” Trellinger says.
Three New Pentas Series Add To Syngenta’s Portfolio
One of the biggest things people were talking about at Syngenta’s trials was the addition of three new pentas series, including the compact Bee Bright series from seed in four colors (Lipstick, Pink, Red, and White) and a mix, the medium-vigor series from seed in the HoneyCluster series with four colors (Deep Rose, Pink, Red, White) and a mix and, most importantly, the breeding breakthrough trailing pentas in the vegetative Falling Star series, with three colors (Pink Bicolor, Rose, and White) and a red variety on the way. These three series add to the vegetative Starcluster series, which won Greenhouse Grower’s Medal Of Excellence Industry’s Choice Award in 2013.
Pentas is not only a heatlover and drought tolerant, but it’s also a pollinator-attracting plant, making it ideal for spring and summer combinations and the landscape. With the new trailing habit in the Falling Star series, pentas could be a replacement for other trailing plants in combinations, to withstand summer heat.