Day three on the trail took us to the last three stops in the north, American Takii, Sakata Seed America, and Floricultura, which showcased a number of companies.
Arriving at American Takii on Day Three of California Spring Trials 2017, we found that Takii had grouped all of its pollinator-friendly varieties together – series that were new in recent years including the Salvia Summer Jewel Series, and oldie but goody series that not only attract pollinators, but perform well all season long, like the Salvia Hummingbird Series, Agastache Arizona Series, and Achillea ‘Flowerburst Red Shades.’ All produced from seed, these offerings provide an economical option.
American Takii is working on seed technology, and getting some experimental new varieties of geranium ready to go, including some new male sterile zonal pelargoniums. Other introductions include Evening Scentsation scented petunia, an experimental series of Fantasy linaria, new experimental clors of Canna South Pacific, and experimentals in Trilogy petunia and a compact, potted F1 Helianthus.
HMA also presented a display of its availabilities at Takii. The young plant specialist has been producing unrooted cuttings for a number of breeders at Floraplant. Based in Ohio, it has more than 100 varieties of succulents, and is expecting an additional 60 more in the next few months. It offers a full line of material, representing both large and smaller, independent breeders, which allows growers to customize their selection. HMA is expanding its availability in perennials.
American Takii has partnered with Fred C. Gloeckner and Philips Lighting to conduct lighting research, and Philips’ LED products were on display in the greenhouses, as well. The high-output lights offer a higher-efficiency option to HPS lights, said Gloeckner’s Ricardo Campos. Trials are set up at Takii and at Colorado State University, as well as at a number of grower operations throughout the U.S.
Mycorrhizal Applications was on site, showing results of fertilizer trials on rudbeckia and lavender, as well as well as a wilt test on rudbeckia. Graham Hetland says growers are starting to really become accepting of and excited about the mycorrhizal product when they see that they can reduce fertilizer loads, and improve drought resilience, and resistance to wilt. More to come on that.
For more than 20 years, OHP has displayed its offerings at Takii’s CAST site. This year, it highlighted plant growth regulator trials, showing the effects of products like Triathlon on different plants. OHP is also launching a new biocontrols program, representing Vestaron Industries and its Spear-O product, which is made from spider venom. Registration is expected in August, says OHP’s Ken Kuhajda. The company also recently launched its new PGR app to aid growers in determining ideal application rates for different crops.
Sakata Seed America
This year marks Sakata Seed America’s Ruby Anniversary, which means the company has been in North America for 40 years. A subsidiary of Sakata Seed Corporation, which celebrated its 100th birthday in 2013, Sakata Seed America opened its doors in San Francisco in 1977. To celebrate the Ruby Anniversary, Sakata highlighted its new Zinnia ‘Profusion Red,’ which is a true, ruby red and a 2017 All-America Selections winner for superior garden performance. Other highlights included a new series of Candy Tops snapdragon, a three-color series of Harmony Double Anemone, and a new series of stock called Mime.
Sakata presented a visual test of its SuperCal petunias in comparison to other petunias on the market. Product Manager Mark Seguin demonstrated how many growers run plants through a water tunnel before shipping, and SuperCal’s strength that holds up to watering and rain. In another test, he showed how SuperCal’s genetics can withstand shipping after being watered, put in a box, and riding around in a truck for a few days, compared to other varieties. Seguin says SuperCal hasn’t caught on as well yet as a grower-friendly series because of its uniformity issues, but that’s something Sakata has put resources into, and is now ready to market the product as a flagship solution similar to its line of SunPatiens impatiens.
MasterTag and Summit Plastics also presented new products and concepts at Sakata this year. Highlights include a new DIY starter garden – a production-friendly, self-merchandising edibles garden kit , which MasterTag’s Joe Fox says would be one step away from being similar to the very popular Blue Apron meal service, if it was paired with media, fertilizer, and containers. Based on consumer research from Home Garden Panel and Produce Marketing Association, it’s the kind of thing that’s missing in the garden center, Fox says. Offering a six-pack of plants is easier for consumers than a 12-pack, and the larger plants will give them a jump on gardening. A similar DIY spring garden kit was also displayed, with a handle presenting container planting guidelines to make it easy for consumers and answer as many questions as possible. Look for more on these concepts in Greenhouse Grower.
At our last stop in the north, Floricultura hosted Westhoff Flowers, which also represents PAC Elsner, Beekenkamp, Plug Connection, Gediflora, and Flamingo Holland.
Westhoff presented a range of new genetics, including its Constellation petunia series, Floriglory cupheas, Bumble ageratum, and two new series of begonias – Rise Up and Shine Bright. These two series were named by the women of Luxflora during the Week 24 Flower Trials trip!
Beekenkamp’s Sirekit Mol showed us the new LaBella Maggiore large-flowered dahlias. The addition allows Beekenkamp to present a full range of dahlia sizes, from the very large, Maggiores, the intermediate Grandes, the medim-sized Medios and the tiny Piccolos. Beekenkamp also offers a new series of Bella Fuchsia, and has two varieties of Fragrant Falls begonia, thought they weren’t at the trials.
Plug Connection was on site to show its line of Tessera succulents. The line has been offered at Plug Connection for years, and with the Altmans purchasing the Plug Connection last October, and then purchasing the property and assets of EuroAmerican Propagators, including the stock, and adding them to the Plug Connection, the operation now is wide open to offer a much broader selection of succulents, says J.P. Williams. The Plug Connection also highlighted its plug and liner program, which is ultimately the core business. The operation picked up the full line of Suntory, including all of the genetics that had previously been at EuroAmerican Propagators, and still represents many breeders throughout the industry. Plug Connection will also leverage the Altmans’ trucking company assets for flat-rate shipping in Texas. More details on that later.
The Belgian mum breeder Gediflora has recently moved all of its production to Aris Horticulture in South Florida because it experienced much higher quality of cuttings there during a trial last year, based on feedback from its rooting stations. This year’s it’s releasing a new pink color in its Jasoda line, and a new deep red color in its Vigorelli line. Color mixes can easily be made in each family, because of the uniformity of each.
To complement its mum lines, Gediflora launched a new beer with chrysanthemum extract, and this year it’s adding chocolate with chrysanthemum extract in the middle. It’s a complex and delicious taste, and in Europe, Gediflora is able to cross merchandise the foods and beer with the mums. It’s something that started out as a bit of a joke, but has grown into a whole new enterprise. Chrysanthemum sausages are also new in Europe. Sounds like a delicious line up! The breeder also has launched a new Mum magazine to promote its products and uses for it, as well as its employees.
Flamingo Holland showcased a number of new offerings in calla lilies, as well as a new lily variety. See the slideshow for more, and check back for more information on these and other breeders online and in print.