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...
SunPatiens Sakata Medal of Excellence Feature

June 29, 2016

SunPatiens Earns The 2016 Medal Of Excellence In Marketing Award

With its reputation for excellent garden performance from spring to frost, and as a problem-solver for Impatiens Downy Mildew, SunPatiens has become a “hero plant” that helps gardeners succeed.

Read More
Kelly Norris - feature

June 28, 2016

Kelly Norris: Three Variety Trends That Caught My Eye This Spring

My reflections on promising new plants, the realities of market penetration, and adding value along the supply chain.

Read More
Dr Allan Armitage

June 25, 2016

Three Types Of Plant Consumers To Watch

There are three emerging groups of plant consumers that you should be targeting for plant sales in the future, according to Allan Armitage.

Read More
Latest Stories
SunPatiens Sakata Medal of Excellence Feature

June 29, 2016

SunPatiens Earns The 2016 Medal Of Excellence In Market…

With its reputation for excellent garden performance from spring to frost, and as a problem-solver for Impatiens Downy Mildew, SunPatiens has become a “hero plant” that helps gardeners succeed.

Read More
Kelly Norris - feature

June 28, 2016

Kelly Norris: Three Variety Trends That Caught My Eye T…

My reflections on promising new plants, the realities of market penetration, and adding value along the supply chain.

Read More
Dr Allan Armitage

June 25, 2016

Three Types Of Plant Consumers To Watch

There are three emerging groups of plant consumers that you should be targeting for plant sales in the future, according to Allan Armitage.

Read More
FleuroStar Award Ceremony

June 20, 2016

Begonia Hybrid ‘Miss Malibu’ Takes Home FleuroStar Awar…

The award from Fleuroselect was announced at the Green Inspiration Event in Amsterdam.

Read More
Caryopteris 'Beyond Midnight Bluebeard'

June 20, 2016

Keep The Sales Coming With 16 New Blooming Varieties Fo…

Plants that put on a show from first frost long into fall and offer the color options consumers want for their gardens go a long way toward extending sales further into the season and can help maintain your sales momentum going strong. Check out these 16 new blooming varieties, both traditional favorites and new alternatives, for your fall crop selection.

Read More
'Osaka' Flowering Cabbage (Sakata Ornamentals)

June 18, 2016

Mark Your Calendar For Sakata Seed Trials In August

Sakata has set two dates for its California-based trials: Aug. 15-17 in Salinas, and Aug. 17-19 in Woodland.

Read More
Tomato Congress Logo

June 15, 2016

International Tomato Congress In Mexico Will Focus On G…

The event, which takes place in San Luis Potosi from July 20-22, will feature discussions on production strategies, cost management in protected structures, and optimizing your greenhouse environment.

Read More
Nir Nursery Wax Flower Pot Plant

June 14, 2016

Danziger Reaches Deal To Distribute Nir Nursery Varieti…

With the agreement, Danziger becomes the exclusive distributor of Nir’s product line, which includes cut flowers, foliage, pot, and garden plants.

Read More

June 14, 2016

Dümmen Orange Expands Its Succulent Offerings Through N…

According to Dümmen Operations Director Kate Santos, succulents are an attractive growth category because of their ease of use, shelf life in stores, drought tolerance, and versatility in application.

Read More
'Osaka' Flowering Cabbage (Sakata Ornamentals)

June 14, 2016

New Cool Season, Vegetable, And Foliage Crops For Fall …

Whether you’re providing pansies and violas to the garden center for fall color or decorative edibles to grace patio containers, consider these 16 varieties for fall crop sales, newly introduced for 2016 and hitting retail in 2017.

Read More
Calibrachoa Chameleon Sunshine Berry (Westflowers) - Feature

June 9, 2016

Fall Crop Alternatives That Can Increase Your Sales

There’s a lot of competition for grabbing your share of fall mum sales. Give your program a boost with new varieties that complement traditional fall crops.

Read More

June 7, 2016

It’s Time To Rethink The Value And Timing Of Cali…

Fourteen years ago, Greenhouse Grower saw an opportunity to bring next-day coverage of California Pack Trials (now California Spring Trials or CAST) to your inbox. The objective was to be your eyes and ears on location, to report the debut of the newest varieties and marketing programs, and report major breeder announcements, especially for those not attending. We continued to develop new story-telling tools with video capabilities, slideshows, and more. And once social media took hold, everyone attending CAST became reporters of their favorite varieties and displays at trials. So we’re left with the question — how should we continue to evolve our coverage, to bring the most value for you? It’s easy to fall into a certain pattern, to stick with what works — or seems to work. And just because you’re working really hard at something that you’ve had success with in the past, it doesn’t mean it’s […]

Read More
Carex 'Eversheen' (Hoffman Nursery)

June 7, 2016

Hoffman Nursery Has A New 30-Year Anniversary Look!

The new redesign of the Hoffman Nursery website packs in more content than ever with updated resources and 30 years of experience growing grasses.

Read More
GG June Cover image

June 6, 2016

The State Of Plant Breeding In 2016

Breeding companies look to strengthen their competitive advantage, easing the way for growers to procure new plant varieties and for consumers to grow with confidence.

Read More
Petunia Queen of Hearts

June 1, 2016

Danziger Introducing New Petunia Amore Series, And More…

Danziger “Dan” Flower Farm is planning to introduce 60 new varieties from its 2016-17 collection at the annual event, including petunias, bidens, and calibrachoa.

Read More
Nathan Lamkey Chuck Pavlich Allan Armitage talk about muckgenia

May 31, 2016

Allan Armitage: Three Trends (Good And Bad) That Caught…

We need to put the same energies we invest into California Spring Trials to get plants into consumers’ hands and encourage young people in the industry to attend.

Read More
National Garden Bureau California Vegetable Summer Trials

May 26, 2016

California Summer Vegetable Trials In August Will Cover…

The National Garden Bureau is once again organizing summer vegetables trials this August in California, giving attendees the opportunity to visit with several breeding companies.

Read More
Eason 2017 Perennials Guide

May 25, 2016

Eason Horticultural Resources Releases New Perennials G…

The two guides are available in digital and print versions and offer information from several breeders.

Read More
[gravityform id="35" title="false" description="false"]