At Windmill Nursery’s California Spring Trials location, Terra Nova Nurseries, Kientzler, KiwiFlora, and Kapiteyn presented their new varieties and concepts for growers’ and retailers’ consideration.
Terra Nova Nurseries
Terra Nova Nurseries had several nice introductions, featuring unique genetics for growers looking to offer something a little more distinct. Dicentra ‘Amore Pink,’ a hit at the Costa Trials due to its long bloom time, was on display, along with the intergeneric X Mukgenia ‘Nova Flame.’ Even though ‘Nova Flame’ came out last year, Terra Nova didn’t have plants set then, so the team wanted to give growers a second look at this Zone 3 variety.
The shade-loving X Heucherella ‘Plum Cascade’ is a color breakthrough in trailing types, bringing the heuchera colors into heucherellas with a nice burgundy. Begonia ‘Revelation Maroon’ is a big-leafed trailer with rose-red leaves and olive-green veins.
Begonia, ‘Angel Blush’ sports palmate leaves with green veins. It is a sterile, upright, cane-type variety, hardy to Zone 5. It emerges early with good heat and humidity tolerance. Other new intros to watch for include ‘Cara Mia Rose’ and ‘Puff Vanilla’ echinaceas and ‘Red Ripple’ coleus.
To answer the question, “Where can I find it?”, Terra Nova Nurseries is working to solve its distribution challenges with a number of tweaks. Earlier this spring it announced the change in tag policy, which allows growers the option of purchasing Terra Nova Nurseries tags with each young plant — or not. Additionally, the company provided a map to show the number of cuttings producers it’s working with worldwide, and the widespread geography and diversity of young plant growers in the U.S. who are licensed to root Terra Nova cuttings.
With its own production farm in Kenya, Terra Nova Nurseries is also providing any grower the option to buy unrooted cuttings, which doesn’t interfere with the young plant growers, because of the quality and convenience they offer. But it does help cater to any size grower’s budget for young plants, says Director of Sales and Marketing Nathan Lamkey. Ultimately, Terra Nova Nurseries wants there to be no obstacles to production of its varieties, and it’s taken all the necessary steps to get there.
Calendula ‘Power Daisy’ was the big draw at Kientzler, who partnered with breeder David Kerley to produce something special. It’s a sterile variety with a lot to offer — mildew resistance, no seed set, continuous flowering to late fall, compact growth, and pollinators love it. Other striking new intros are the new, large-flowered Heliopsis ‘Sole D’ Oro,’ a vegetative variety that is hardy to Zone 5, and Verbena ‘Frosted Pink.’
Kientzler presented most of its full offering of genetics, similar to last year’s trials. One standout is the Saucy Salvias, which aren’t new but have huge flowers that will be attractive to the U.S. market. Andreas Kientzler also explained its expanded partnerships for supplying genetics to the U.S. market. For the 2016-2017 season, Kientzler will have the full Suntory product line. It produced the full Sakata line for spring 2016, and that will continue, as well.
It’s also working with Terra Nova Nurseries on its coleus varieties, and it’s selecting a collection of PlantHaven’s perennial genetics to produce.
In its first time displaying at the California Spring Trials, KiwiFlora displayed an experimental Dianthus Scent from Heaven series, true perennial types that are not interspecific. They are hardy to Zone 4 and tolerate heat, cold, and drought. The series includes six colors and is available in unrooted liners through GroLink.
Coming soon is a new interspecific hybrid between Dianthus caryophyllus and D. plumarius that’s shown good hardiness in Colorado when trialed there, says Marc Englert of Florep, who represents KiwiFlora.
Other notables are KiwiFlora’s stoechas-type lavenders, including ‘Vanessa Leigh,’ ‘Myr Leigh,’ and ‘Pat Leigh,’ which offer large flower bracts. ‘Girli’ is a compact, pink stoechas with large flowers.
The breeder, based in New Zealand and owned by Morten Damsted and Malcolm Woolmore, has also been working to promote its shrub varieties in the U.S., like Cordyline ‘Salsa’ and Pittosporum ‘Beach Ball,’ among others, through collaboration with the Southern Living and Sunset Western Collections.
Kapiteyn is a newcomer to California Spring Trials from Europe with a breeding aim to select vibrant callas with strong, upright stems and a minimum bloom time of four to six weeks. The company showed off vibrant blooms with 11 colors in its pot plant line and 16 in the cut flower collection.
Traditionally, callas are thought of as wedding or funeral flowers in North America, but the company is working to remedy that by developing retail concepts that would develop and market new uses for callas. Why not offer a calla for every holiday, from Halloween and Christmas to Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day? Kapetyn also presented three-color combos that were beautiful and would make any woman feel special.
A final, mind-blowing concept is Kapiteyn’s idea to infuse pots containing callas with a scent or perfume. The packaging on display was infused with the very expensive and recognizable Chanel No. 5, with the objective of catching consumers’ attention as they shop, and bringing plants home with them as a must-have. It’s certainly creative, out-of-the-box thinking, and we can’t wait to see when it gets picked up.