Versatility Positions New Introductions As Potential Winners

Mammoth cyclamen from Schoneveld Twello

Complaining about being tired at the California Spring Trials is like complaining about long lift lines in Aspen. Although everybody involved with the trials is getting a little haggard, we count our blessings that we are here. And the Meister messengers keep on moving–with stops on day six at Sakata, American Takii and Speedling.

Sakata is well known for its fine breeding with the Profusion zinnias and recently the SunPatiens, which this year are equally colorful and eye-catching as ever. I think Sakata’s SunPatiens are well positioned to provide an alternative if necessary for problems with bedding impatiens.

However, Sakata does not live by SunPatiens alone. I saw some excellent new colors of SuperCal Petchoas. The one that caught my eye was Artist Rose. Overall, SunPatiens have been good performers wherever I’ve seen them.

We’ve seen dozens of calibrachoas, but the Calipetites introduced at Sakata were many things – colorful, functional, and let’s face it – cute. They would work very well wherever plants like African violets or other small pot plants are sold. I’m excited to see them because they’re perfect for window boxes or small additions to the patio table on the deck. They are a niche plant for sure, but they are available in many colors.

In addition, Sakata’s relatively new vegetable program, Sakata Home Grown, should provide a good vehicle for embracing vegetable gardeners into the barbecue pit. Good job, Sakata.


Mastertag continues to impress with its creative output, seen in spades at Sakata. They embrace content for the grower and consumer, which is evident in their new programs. Creativity with QR codes should lead to a significant increase in the percentage of codes actually being scanned, as well.

American Takii
From Sakata, off to American Takii where we saw the Trilogy petunias, a group of plants that Takii is promoting and supporting well. Few petunias have the ability to mound and spread effectively, but Takii is proud of their ability to serve both purposes.

Available in seven colors, the vigor allows these petunias to be grown in baskets. But they also look like they may be excellent mounding ornamentals for the traditional garden. I was impressed with the energy Takii is putting behind this program. There are so many petunias, but Takii’s vitality for the program will help provide market traction.

We also looked at Takii’s excellent canna program. Tropcial Bronze is now available to all brokers. In addition, we looked at a couple of interesting ornamental peppers, especially Cubana which is replacing Carnival. Cubana shows the peppers off at the top of the plant.

Takii, of course, is well known for ornamental kale. The partnership with Sahin has also provided very interesting plants like lineria, calendula and nigella.

Speedling was another “eight-in-one” type stop, where we were treated to the wares of many companies. The cyclamen at Schoneveld Twello were nothing short of spectacular. This company now believes it has a better understanding of the American market, and it has introduced some large flowering vigorous series. Its Mammoth series was indeed mammoth.

Thompson & Morgan always provides exciting new plants. ‘Cherry Brandy’ rudbeckia was truly handsome, as was ‘Cosmos Pop Socks Pink.’ Visiting Thompson & Morgan is like visiting a botanical garden. Its introductions are always well appreciated.

Hem Genetics is efficiently working on its new dianthus programs, its compact geraniums and Limbo series groundcover petunias, they would be a game changer if they were able to cover as much ground as promised.

ABZ Seeds was one of my favorite stops because I got to eat strawberries. This Dutch company is breeding strawberries with ornamental flowers and an impressive volume of fruit. These seem like the perfect item on end caps in grocery stores. The consumer gets both the ornamental value and a promise of a plethora of strawberries for breakfast. ABZ has two new introductions in ‘Toscana’ and ‘Gasana’. ‘Toscana’ impressed judges as the top new bedding plant in recent Fleuroselect trials.

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