Talking With Anthony Tesselaar

Talking With Anthony Tesselaar

It is hard enough to create a regional plant brand that encompasses all the characteristics necessary to thrive in a variety of conditions, but it is even tougher to create a national brand that creates successful gardeners throughout all the climates of a country.

That is Anthony Tesselaar’s end goal, by the way: successful gardeners. Though it was 10 p.m. in Silvan, 75 miles east of Melbourne (which is 14 hours ahead of the U.S. East Coast), Tesselaar was kind enough to chat with Today’s Garden Center Editor Jen Polanz recently about everything related to the company’s branding efforts. In North America, it has marketed Flower Carpet roses, Tropicanna cannas and Bonfire begonia, and about seven other plants, as the main branded properties from Anthony Tesselaar International. It is also currently trialing a new drought-tolerant petunia called Soleil, which was highlighted at the Selecta First Class California Pack Trials location this year.

“The rest of the world is going toward plants that are requiring a minimal amount of maintenance,” Tesselaar explained. “That’s always been our focus from day one. We cater to the person who wants a garden who doesn’t know how to garden.

“When we go out, that’s the philosophy we go by. It has got to be good for a long time in the garden.”

Those at Tesselaar travel the world to find new plants, then bring them back to the 20-acre trial garden at Silvan for testing. It can take five to seven years on average for a plant to make it to the market, and out of the hundreds that get brought in, only about 10 percent make it to various markets around the world with the Tesselaar name on it.

The plants get tested not only in Australia, but in any market in which the plants could be sold. That means trial gardens all over the world. But Tesselaar says the United States is the most difficult, because of a temperature range of 130 degrees Fahrenheit between the warmest and the coldest regions in the country. A plant that is marketed nationwide has to be able to withstand all types of conditions.

“Next we have to find out whether it’s easy to propagate for the grower,” he adds. “We don’t want a product that’s too expensive to propagate. At the same time, we’re doing work on the branding of the product, looking at the characteristics of the plant, working with public relations people to develop stories, advertising and creating labels that match up. So there’s a lot of background coming into it.”

The Rose That Almost Was

Tesselaar gave an example of a breeder that came to the company with a beautiful, striking blue rose. He thought the rose could be a huge development–the “holy grail” when it comes to roses. The company began to trial it all over the world to see how it would perform. “We started seeing the first flowers, and they were mauve-y,” he says. “We sent the same person to each trial location to photograph them, and everything was mauve. But at the breeder’s garden it was blue.”

After lots of experimentation, they found the perfect mix of care and feeding that made the rose blue. But ultimately, it would be difficult for the average gardener to reproduce at home. “We didn’t go ahead with it,” he explains. “That’s the most extreme case we’ve seen. But we always try to make sure the ultimate outcome is best for the gardener.”

Keeping The Focus

Branding isn’t just a one-time effort to put out a plant in a special pot with tags and point-of-purchase material. It’s a continuous effort, which is why some brands don’t last very long.

“To keep a good branding program is very, very difficult,” Tesselaar says. “There’s a lot of people that run out and say I’ve got a brand, but if you’re going to brand a plant you’ve got to do a lot of work to keep it there. You’ve got to keep coming back to adjust and keep it there. Most brands ultimately fall over quite quickly.”

Anthony Tesselaar International has been marketing Flower Carpet roses since 1992, and has about 15 branded products in markets on four continents across the globe.

Leave a Reply

More From Varieties...
Eason 2017 spring trials report

May 16, 2017

New California Spring Trials Report Now Available From Eason Horticultural Resources

The report features genetics from 21 different breeding companies and information gathered from the 15 different stops on this year’s tour.

Read More
Schizachyrium scoparium The Blues

May 13, 2017

How Ornamental Grasses and Sedges Can Play a Role in Pollinator Gardens

Grasses and sedges provide food, shelter, and support for pollinators and the birds and mammals that keep insect populations in balance.

Read More
Asclepias with a bumblebee

May 8, 2017

How to Choose the Best Native Plants for Pollinator Gardens

The popularity of native plants is rising as gardeners become conscious of the need to plant more pollinator gardens. The challenge is to select the right plants to put in them.

Read More
Latest Stories
Eason 2017 spring trials report

May 16, 2017

New California Spring Trials Report Now Available From …

The report features genetics from 21 different breeding companies and information gathered from the 15 different stops on this year’s tour.

Read More
Schizachyrium scoparium The Blues

May 13, 2017

How Ornamental Grasses and Sedges Can Play a Role in Po…

Grasses and sedges provide food, shelter, and support for pollinators and the birds and mammals that keep insect populations in balance.

Read More
Asclepias with a bumblebee

May 8, 2017

How to Choose the Best Native Plants for Pollinator Gar…

The popularity of native plants is rising as gardeners become conscious of the need to plant more pollinator gardens. The challenge is to select the right plants to put in them.

Read More
Allan Armitage Of Naked Ladies and Forget Me Nots

May 2, 2017

Allan Armitage: How Growers Can Be Creative to Take Gar…

Our industry does a good job of making things convenient for our customers. It’s time to take it a step further.

Read More
Asclepias tuberosa

April 29, 2017

Greenhouse Growing Tips for Asclepias tuberosa

Madeline Maynor, Growing Operations Manager for Landenberg, PA-based North Creek Nurseries, shares greenhouse growing tips for Asclepias tuberosa, the 2017 Perennial Plant of the Year.

Read More
Andropogon gerardii Blackhawks (Intrinsic Perennial Gardens)

April 25, 2017

Kelly Norris: Diversity is the Key to Growing the Ornam…

Offering a selection of ornamental grasses that cater to customer needs will keep sales from stagnating.

Read More

April 25, 2017

41 New Vegetative Petunias From California Spring Trial…

With the abundance of new introductions for the 2018 retail season, we’ve made it easier for you to sift through them by separating out the vegetative petunias from the Northern sites, which includes selections from Westhoff Flowers, Sakata Ornamentals, Danziger, Proven Winners, and Syngenta flowers.

Read More
Begonia Spectre Silver Terra Nova Nurseries

April 20, 2017

Terra Nova Nurseries Releases Two New, Attractive Begon…

Stardust is the latest addition to Terra Nova Nurseries’ existing T Rex Begonia series, and Silver is the first introduction to the company’s new Spectre Begonia series.

Read More

April 18, 2017

Cool Combos From CAST 2017 – Editor’s Choic…

With container gardening becoming more of a lifestyle among consumers than a trend, and breeders continuing to put more effort in container mixes and components, I feel I would be remiss if I didn't share some of the special combinations that not only caught my eye at California Spring Trials, but absolutely took my breath away and made me want to immediately get started gardening.

Read More
Danziger New Hires

April 16, 2017

Danziger Invests in Continued North American Business G…

As part of a new business structure for its North American market, Mike Fernandez has been appointed Market Manager North America for Bedding Plants and Perennials, and Kate Zvara was named as Key Account Manager and Retail Specialist.

Read More
Florida Flower Trials

April 12, 2017

Looking for Info on New Varieties for Hot Climates? Che…

The Florida Nursery Growers and Landscape Association’s Florida Flower Trials, which are focused on new and improved varieties able to thrive in the extremes of Florida’s climate, are a great opportunity to connect with national breeders.

Read More
Lupinus Staircase Series (Green Fuse Botanicals)

April 11, 2017

Begonias, Celosias Among Dr. Allan Armitage’s Favorites…

Check out some of Allan’s top picks from his final day at CAST 2017, which included visits to Green Fuse Botanicals and Floranova.

Read More
Rex Begonia container mix at Green Fuse Botanicals

April 11, 2017

Green Fuse Botanicals’ Rex Begonias and First Looks; Fl…

Here are the highlights from Green Fuse Botanicals and Floranova on the last day of CAST 2017.

Read More

April 7, 2017

Hort Couture Wows With Farm to Table; Florist Holland R…

On the last day for GroLink and the second to last for the Greenhouse Grower team, the wealth of genetics, marketing programs, and announcements were pleasing to our eyes, ears, and hearts.

Read More

April 7, 2017

California Spring Trials Day Five: Notable New Plant Va…

See some of the new varieties for 2018 displayed at Ball Horticultural and GroLink Plant Company on day five of California Spring Trials 2017.

Read More

April 7, 2017

PanAmerican Promotes Pentas, Plug-and-Play, and Veggies…

On Day 5 of the California Spring Trials, the Greenhouse Grower team hit the Southern California Trials and saw a multitude of new introductions and exciting programs.

Read More

April 7, 2017

CAST 2017: Musings of a California Spring Trials Rookie…

The number of opportunities presented to me are enough to make me rethink my location, but I still have a lot of big decisions to make for the future.

Read More

April 6, 2017

Dr. Allan Armitage’s Top Picks From Ball and GroL…

Here are Dr. Allan Armitage’s five variety picks, plus one display, from on Day 5 of CAST 2017.

Read More