What’s In? Edibles, Color And …

What's In? Edibles, Color And …

We caught up with Nicholas Staddon, Monrovia‘s director of new plant introductions, and asked him five questions about Spring 2010, the future for Monrovia and emerging industry opportunities.

GG: What is your industry forecast for spring?

Staddon: “I think consumers are excited. It’s been a snowier, wetter, colder winter in many parts of the United States. Last year and, really, the last half of 2008, were difficult years for pretty much everyone in the nursery industry. That’s when the downturn in the economy really hit. Nursery products certainly suffered.

“Sales have been brisk with smaller items–4 inch, gallon and 2 gallon. We’ve certainly seen people pursue those items. We’ve seen people focus more on color items. I think when the economy goes [bad], people look for an immediate satisfaction on items.

“The strongest category of all has been fruit or edibles. The container demand has been insatiable. We just cannot produce enough plant material. This is one item that leads the charge for us. We see those crops continuing to be very popular.”

GG: What are other trends you’re seeing develop at Monrovia?

Staddon: “I think the opportunity we have in the industry is to place edibles as part of the consumer’s wellness program, so that it’s a foundation plant.

“Another great trend is people are very much into plants you can grow into the garden–or harvest the flowers–and bring those indoors. The plants could be hydrangeas or grasses–consumers want to bring them indoors.

“We see more and more people working with patio plants that they’d like to overwinter in the (colder) regions.”

GG: How is Monrovia changing its business to adapt with some of these developing trends you mentioned?

Staddon: “Blueberries are a great example of how we’ve changed our business. For many years, blueberries were grown primarily in the Northern part of the [United States]. There were some very innovative breeders in the Southern part of the U.S. who took these Northern varieties of blueberries and crossed them with native varieties of blueberries. One particular plant is called Rabbiteye (blueberry).

“Blueberries did well on the West Coast of the U.S. and down through the South into Georgia and Florida. Working with these various breeders and hybridizers, it became very apparent to me that there was a great opportunity to move blueberries into the warmer climates of the U.S. where historically we had not seen them. So, in collaboration with our customers and sales forces, we said, ‘Yes, this is a program we want to do.’ So, over two or three years, we started bringing these plants into the nursery. And the program has been enormously successful.”

GG: But are blueberries attractive as a landscape plant?

Staddon: “Historically, blueberries have been used for fruit. Now, we’re using them for color. We’ve got great color of leaves during the growing season. Many of the varieties in the warmer regions are also evergreen. So we have the opportunity to take a plant that has normally been identified as a fruit-bearing plant and use it as a landscape plant.

“Blueberries are still first being sold for the edible factor at the garden centers. But from a business perspective, blueberries become a multiple-sale item. If someone’s going to use blueberries for a hedge, they may buy more.”

GG: The industry is constantly seeing new varieties hit the scene, but is their opportunity to revive old-time favorites this year? If so, which plants will be making a comeback?

Staddon: “There are actually two areas of importance with new varieties. First, I think there are a lot of plants that have been buried. There were plants brought into the U.S. or any country, say back in the late-1800s, which were put into botanical gardens or people’s private gardens, and they were passed over.

“One of the fun things I like to do is bump into these plants that were discovered years ago by plant explorers or plant hunters and bring them into our inventory and see if we can find a place for them. People are always looking for those old and new plants.

“Then there is the category that takes older plants and improves them. A great example is gardenias: Many growers across the U.S. grow gardenias. Everyone carries gardenias. But in many parts, they look good for a year and falter.

“Having said that, we have a great customer in San Diego–Walter Anderson Nursery–that suggested we graft our gardenias on a very old gardenia called thunbergii. Thunbergii has some fabulous qualities in that it is more resistant to root nematodes, which are a plague on gardenias. The plant continues to draw nutrients from the soil when other gardenias have stopped doing that in cold. Thunbergii also continues to draw nutrients from the soil, even in the 50s. It’s a much stronger root stock. So what you’re doing is taking a gardenia and putting it onto a root stock–your leaves are greener, your blooms are larger–and it’s generally an overall improved plant.”

About Nicholas Staddon: Staddon is the director of the New Plants Team and has been a Monrovia craftsman for 20 years. Working with breeders, hybridizers and professional plant explorers, he scours the globe for new creations and discoveries in the plant world. He travels extensively for Monrovia in his quest for great new and notable plants for American gardeners.

Leave a Reply

More From Varieties...
Coleus Fancy Feathers Pink (Terra Nova Nurseries)

May 23, 2016

Take A Sneak Peek at Terra Nova Nurseries’ New Coleus Fancy Feather Series

A brand-new collection of Terra Nova Nurseries coleus varieties called the Fancy Feathers Series is now available to growers for online orders. The series produces narrow, feather-like leaves and offers a mounded habit.

Read More
Rotary Botanical Gardens, Wisconsin

May 16, 2016

All-America Selections Summer Summit In Madison, WI, Will Offer Display Garden Tours And Much More

Registration is now open for the 2016 Summer Summit, which takes place in August and features a focus on the locally grown movement.

Read More

May 10, 2016

13 New Native Plants And Nativars For Going Green [Slideshow]

Native plants are becoming a bigger part of living green, as consumers become more aware of the role regional native plants play in promoting biodiversity in the garden, in urban landscapes, and in habitat restoration. Here are 13 new native plants breeders are offering to consider for your product mix.

Read More
Latest Stories
Coleus Fancy Feathers Pink (Terra Nova Nurseries)

May 23, 2016

Take A Sneak Peek at Terra Nova Nurseries’ New Coleus F…

A brand-new collection of Terra Nova Nurseries coleus varieties called the Fancy Feathers Series is now available to growers for online orders. The series produces narrow, feather-like leaves and offers a mounded habit.

Read More
Rotary Botanical Gardens, Wisconsin

May 16, 2016

All-America Selections Summer Summit In Madison, WI, Wi…

Registration is now open for the 2016 Summer Summit, which takes place in August and features a focus on the locally grown movement.

Read More

May 10, 2016

13 New Native Plants And Nativars For Going Green [Slid…

Native plants are becoming a bigger part of living green, as consumers become more aware of the role regional native plants play in promoting biodiversity in the garden, in urban landscapes, and in habitat restoration. Here are 13 new native plants breeders are offering to consider for your product mix.

Read More
Pennisetum alopecuroides ‘Ginger Love’ (Aris Greenleaf Plants)

May 10, 2016

12 New Ornamental Grasses For Low Maintenance Garden Ap…

Nothing says low maintenance like ornamental grasses. They add texture, movement, and all-season color to the garden. Check out 12 new ornamental grasses and grass-like varieties for growing in your greenhouse or the garden.

Read More
Blueberry ‘BrazelBerries Perpetua’ (Fall Creek Farm & Nursery)

May 9, 2016

Why Star Roses And Plants Is Buying The BrazelBerries P…

The purchase includes the brand, variety portfolio, and grower network, and allows Star Roses to capitalize on increased berry consumption among consumers.

Read More
Wave Petunias Team

May 3, 2016

Hot Pink Wave-Rave Van Making Its Way To The Big Apple …

Imagine driving down the road, minding your own business, when you’re passed by two smiling, waving, happy women driving a hot-pink van that’s adorned with petunia and pansy flowers. That’s not something you see every day, but motorists in the Midwest and Northeast may catch a glimpse of the Wave-Rave van this week as Ball Horticultural Co.’s Claire Watson, Product Marketing Manager, and Katie Rotella, Marketing Communications Manager, make their way to a media tour and plant giveaway in New York City. Watson and Rotella visited Cleveland’s WOIO Channel 19 news on Tuesday morning to tell consumers about Wave Petunias and Wave Pansies, and remind them to visit their local garden centers to purchase gifts for Mother’s Day this weekend. Check out this clip on Periscope. After the morning news, the ladies stopped by to visit the Greenhouse Grower staff at Meister Media Worldwide in Willoughby, OH. Next stop: Chelsea Garden Center in Brooklyn, NY, where […]

Read More
National Garden Bureau CAST 2016 Bloggers

May 3, 2016

5 Things Gardens Bloggers And Writers Learned At Califo…

For the second year in a row, the National Garden Bureau hosted five popular garden bloggers and writers on a trip to California Spring Trials. Here’s what each of them had to say about their experience.

Read More
Chick Charms

April 29, 2016

Kelly Norris: Why The Plant Collector Market Is Set To …

In his latest column for Greenhouse Grower magazine, Kelly Norris says there are more plant collectors out there than we think, which opens the way for the gift plant market to explode.

Read More
Pennisetum Fireworks

April 28, 2016

Why Ornamental Grasses Are Great For People In Condos A…

Allan Armitage says breeders need to do a better job of making growers, brokers, and garden centers aware of better ornamental grass cultivars for the increasingly shrinking garden space.

Read More
Andropogon gerardii Blackhawks (Intrinsic Perennial Gardens)

April 27, 2016

Know Your Market When Choosing Ornamental Grasses

Growers have no shortage of choices in the ornamental grass market. Narrowing down the selection comes down to finding the right plant for the right purpose.

Read More
Bee on Bidens

April 25, 2016

Breeders Go The Distance To Bring New Plant Varieties T…

Breeders are meeting the demand for new varieties that perform and sell well by extending trialing to engage the grower community, using advanced technology, and encouraging international collaboration.

Read More
Dr Allan Armitage

April 20, 2016

Growers And Breeders Are Always Looking For A Better To…

While edibles become more diverse, there's one goal that hard-core gardeners and urban foodscapers share.

Read More
Syngenta Pentas

April 20, 2016

Syngenta Flowers Opens Its Perennial Genetics To The Ma…

California Spring Trials 2016 visitors to Syngenta Flowers found the breeder company and its employees happy and excited for the future, in the wake of the announcement of its acquisition by ChemChina. Now Syngenta Flowers is ready to move forward with its breeding efforts in geraniums, pentas, and other crops, and it is opening its perennials offerings to the whole supply chain for a better chance to get those plants to retail.     Syngenta Wants To Revolutionize Geranium Breeding The big news in this year’s trial, says Karl Trellinger, Technical Services Representative at Syngenta, is the change in Syngenta’s breeding efforts in geraniums and pentas. The Calliope geranium series, long considered a premium line in the market, is getting a makeover. Growers have told the breeder that they love the colors available in the Calliope series, but the plants are just too vigorous for smaller containers and combinations. As […]

Read More
Petunia Vista Bubblegum (Proven Winners)

April 20, 2016

Proven Winners Funds Gardening “It Couple,” Names Plant…

Since 1992, Proven Winners has been changing the gardening game, and it’s not stopping now. With new plants, improved series, and interesting retail customers, the brand aims to make planning easier for growers, and make gardening easier and more fun for consumers. At its new 2016 California Spring Trials location at Kirigin Cellars in Gilroy, Proven Winners had the space and a beautiful setting to lay all of its offerings out, from new and improved varieties in annuals, perennials, and shrubs, to marketing and retail programs. Check out the slideshow below for highlights.   Proven Winners Is Flexing Its Marketing Muscle One of the ways Proven Winners is working toward better use of its products and gardening in general, is by supporting the gardening authorities that gardeners of all ages trust on social media. Director of Marketing Marshall Dirks says while searching for influential gardeners, he came across a young […]

Read More
Scaevola 'Purple Haze' (Danziger 2016)

April 19, 2016

Allan Armitage Picks His Favorites From Proven Winners,…

From “crazy” petunias to container pentas, there was plenty that caught Allan’s eye during the final day of 2016 California Spring Trials.

Read More
CallaFornia Red

April 19, 2016

Golden State Bulb Company Shows Off New Concepts In Cal…

There’s no question that Golden State Bulb Company’s specialty is in breeding virtually any color of Calla Lily, available in about any habit — cut flower, bouquet pot, upright pot type — the list goes on. But now, the bulb specialist is focusing on making calla lilies more accessible to the masses, for use in combination planters and the landscape, with calla six-packs. Calla breeder Peter Beckman showed us the shrunken-down version of these beauties, and they’re certainly perfect for patio pots, planting along paths or at the front of the garden, or en masse for an elegant statement. This presentation makes it easy for consumers to pick up and use callas, without the intimidation they might feel from a bulb crop, says Dr. Allan Armitage.   They’re also versatile for growers to plant in early to mid-February to add to finished containers in the spring, or to sell in […]

Read More
Disney Trial Garden

April 17, 2016

Mark Your Calendars For Florida Flower Trials In May

The two-day event, which takes place in Orlando, is held in conjunction with the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival and offers educational seminars, tours, and open houses.

Read More
Dianthus Paint the Town Fuchsia_CJW14 (2)

April 16, 2016

Proven Winners Focuses On A Better Consumer Garden Expe…

Excellent, long-lasting performance, and easy maintenance are at the core of Proven Winners’ introductions.

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