Just a week before the California Spring Trials, an announcement shook the rose landscape. Brokers and growers who had sold and produced the revolutionary Knock Out roses for 10 years would no longer have access at the young plant stage. When we visited Greenheart Farms on Wednesday during the trials, General Manager and Chief Operations Officer Bill DeVor explained why Conard-Pyle went to a more exclusive arrangement to control production and marketing and rescue the roses from becoming devalued and commoditized in the marketplace.
“The market is saturated now. I’ve seen a gallon pot being sold for three bucks,” DeVor says. “That’s why Conard-Pyle had to get its arms around the product.”
As a young plant producer, Greenheart Farms is more focused on small to medium growers and Northwest Horticulture serves larger operations.
Changes go into effect in July. Also new is packaging requirements for the product. All Knock Outs will be required to be grown in a special pot and carry a new picture tag.
On the bright side for those who lost access, there are other landscape rose lines that are just as good but don’t have the name recognition, DeVor says. Greenheart propagates 140 varieties of landscape roses from all the major breeders and 800 more varieties in miniature roses—the largest collection in the world. Miniature roses range from the tiny Micro Minis positioned to be grown and planted in the garden with annuals, a Table to Garden collection and a robust Cut Flower collection that blends the form of hybrid teas with miniature rose durability.