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...

August 20, 2017

Proven Winners and Kentucky Nursery and Landscape Association to Partner on Summer Outing

This year, KNLA is combining its summer outing with the Proven Winners Landscape Roadshow for an informative event that will take place on September 21.

Read More
Four Star 2018 Catalog

August 18, 2017

Four Star Greenhouses’ 2018 Catalog Includes New Varieties and Cultural Tips

The new catalog is available in both print and digital formats, and features information on new trays that allow for more plugs per square foot.

Read More
Francis Kwong, PanAmerican Seed

August 15, 2017

Ornamental Seed Scientist Francis Kwong Dies at Age 65

Kwong was most recently the Director of Seed Technology for PanAmerican Seed, and his research was instrumental in the development of calibrachoa, angelonia, and other plants.

Read More
Latest Stories

August 20, 2017

Proven Winners and Kentucky Nursery and Landscape Assoc…

This year, KNLA is combining its summer outing with the Proven Winners Landscape Roadshow for an informative event that will take place on September 21.

Read More
Four Star 2018 Catalog

August 18, 2017

Four Star Greenhouses’ 2018 Catalog Includes New Variet…

The new catalog is available in both print and digital formats, and features information on new trays that allow for more plugs per square foot.

Read More
Francis Kwong, PanAmerican Seed

August 15, 2017

Ornamental Seed Scientist Francis Kwong Dies at Age 65

Kwong was most recently the Director of Seed Technology for PanAmerican Seed, and his research was instrumental in the development of calibrachoa, angelonia, and other plants.

Read More
Candy Tops Snapdragons Series (Sakata Ornamentals)

August 3, 2017

Five Characteristics Breeders Want in Top-Performing Sp…

New spring annuals have to provide something for everyone — longevity, durability, performance, and more — if they want to meet breeders’ high standards for market-worthy plants.

Read More
Petunia 'Headliner Pink Sky" (Selecta)

August 3, 2017

Why Eccentricity is the New Black in Spring Annuals

Consumers judge plants by appearance, color impact, and ease of maintenance, which is why retailers want new spring annuals that are novel standouts.    

Read More

August 1, 2017

39 New Vegetables and Herbs for 2018

New vegetable and herb introductions for 2017 offer unique shaped fruits, distinctive foliage, intense flavors, improved disease resistance, high yields, and more. Here are 39 new vegetable and herb varieties to consider for your product mix in 2018.

Read More
2018 Griffin Catalog

July 31, 2017

Griffin Releases Print and Digital Versions of Its 2018…

The 250-page print catalog features more than 350 new varieties from leading breeders, while the enhanced digital version has extra features on crop culture, grower tools, and more.

Read More
Emerald-Coast-Growers-Guide-Feature-Image

July 27, 2017

Emerald Coast Growers Offers Updated Guide on its Newes…

This year’s guide features new varieties while maintaining Emerald Coast’s ornamental grass program and expanding its perennial plants line.

Read More
Terra Nova Shipping Box

July 20, 2017

Terra Nova Nurseries, Dümmen Orange to Partner on Unroo…

Terra Nova Nurseries has contracted with Dümmen Orange to produce unrooted cuttings (URCs) from Terra Nova private stock located at Dümmen Orange’s Central America facilities. The URCs will fulfill orders in North America and Europe.

Read More

July 20, 2017

New Perennials, Trial Gardens, and Merchandising Were H…

Darwin Perennials Day has steadily become one of the must-attend perennial events of the summer. This year, even the weather cooperated.

Read More
2018 Ball Seed Catalog

July 17, 2017

Ball Seed’s 2018 New Varieties Catalog Now Available

The expanded guide includes breakthrough breeding from Ball in annuals, perennials, vegetables, potted plants, and more.

Read More
Pleasant View Open House

July 16, 2017

Pleasant View Gardens, D.S. Cole Growers Hosting Open H…

The event gives horticulture industry professionals the chance to check out nearly 80 new introductions from Proven Winners, as well as Pleasant View’s new Savor Edibles & Fragrants line.

Read More
All American Selections

July 12, 2017

All-America Selections Celebrates Milestone Anniversary…

Coinciding with its 85th anniversary celebration, AAS is hosting an open house at its new offices, and has also released its annual report.

Read More

July 8, 2017

Plant Patent Law: Protecting the Variety Pipeline

Breeders call for better cooperation in protecting intellectual property while considering how stricter laws and expensive patents could impact the future of innovation.

Read More
Calibrachoa ‘Superbells Holy Moly!’ (Proven Winners)

July 8, 2017

Are Utility Patents Tying Up Innovation With Litigation…

The opportunities for innovation in plant breeding could be greatly advanced by creating an industry-led patent licensing platform.

Read More

July 8, 2017

Fleuroselect and CIOPORA Offer Organizational Leadershi…

Learn why breeders feel these organizations should be emulated in an industry-led initiative to protect plant breeding efforts.

Read More
Thalictrum Nimbus White (Terra Nova Nurseries)

June 30, 2017

Kelly Norris Dishes on New Plants, Going to Seed, and B…

From woody perennials to genetically modified petunias, Kelly Norris gives his take on what turned out to be a busy spring.

Read More
Jim Devereux, Green Fuse Botanicals

June 24, 2017

Green Fuse Botanicals New Vice President is Focused on …

Jim Devereux, who will oversee production, sales, and marketing for Green Fuse, says he hopes to bring genetics to the market that break from traditional production methods for finished growers.

Read More