During my visit to Syngenta on Sunday, there were a number of highlights, including the Starcluster pentas series and the new Kwik Kombo colors that Allan Armitage talks about here. I have to say, I looked at the pentas, especially, and just said, “Wow.” I’ll let Allan tell you why.
But that wasn’t all. The new Florific New Guinea impatiens series is important because it is from seed and grows well in the shade. We’re all looking for plants to fill the gaping hole once occupied by Impatiens walleriana, and the Florific New Guineas might be one of them.
David Jewell, marketing manager for seed-grown plants at Syngenta, says production is very uniform and they can be grown in packs all the way up to gallons. The blooms sit right on top of the foliage, which is important for consumers. There are four colors: white, violet, red and lavender. Jewell says they plan to expand the color palette in the future.
Syngenta is also getting into biocontrols in addition to its traditional chemical program. The new Bioline product program includes beneficial insects and mites for use in integrated crop management to control a wide variety of pests, including aphids, thrips, whitefly and spider mites.
The predators themselves are not new, but how they are bred, shipped and packaged makes them unique. There are a number of packaging options, depending upon the predator and the intended use. Bugline tape is designed to release predatory mites, releasing them through small holes in a long paper tape that can run through a greenhouse bench. The tapes can reduce 75% of the labor needed for other methods. Small bottles with a nutrient ring that provides food for the predators are another option. Growers sprinkle the predators throughout the crop at the recommended spacing. Blister packs and controlled-release system sachets are also available.
Syngenta experts stress that biological should be used as a preventative, not a curative. Pest populations should be under control when the biological are released. The company provides support by training certified agents about Bioline and integrated crop management who can help growers decide what predator and delivery method to use given their individual situation.
And lastly, a marketing concept I saw during my visit was so simple, but promises to be so effective. How many times have you been at a garden center and a customer comes in just wanting “something blue?” Or “something pink,” or some other color. Blue is one of the most sought-after colors in gardening, and Syngenta is testing the “Into the Blue” cart graphics program. The plants are chosen and shipped by flower color accompanied by signage to go on the cart for retail display. It was really eye-catching, and I think consumers will love it. I know it’s only in the testing phase, but it’s a great idea, and I hope to see more of it.