It’s almost time for California Spring Trials! Are you ready? This yearly, week-long event brings members of the horticulture industry to California to begin planning for the next growing season. CAST is a new plant extravaganza with more than 50 exhibitors showing off new varieties. Many breeders also show off outdoor trial programs, packaging, signage and merchandizing display ideas. Growers and brokers join retail buyers, industry media and other hort professionals, trekking from Northern to Central California to see what’s new for the 2020 season.
Danziger’s display is in Gilroy, CA at Headstart Nursery. This year’s event will include more new introductions than ever before. But company officials say they’re not only focused on new, but they’re also focused on better. “Our customer’s success is our number one focus,” says Lisa Heredia, marketing and key accounts for Danziger North America. “Our team of professional breeders, scientists and researchers are developing innovative varieties that are easier to grow, deliver more profits and provide dependable performance for both the grower and the home gardener. These are key issues in our industry and our new varieties address them in different ways.”
New varieties that save growers time is one topic we see taking center stage at many of the exhibits at CAST 2019. Industry media experts agree. We asked several horticulture trade media members, who are veterans of CAST, to tell us what they think the hot topics and new trends will be as the 2020 varieties are unveiled. Time and labor topped everyone’s list.
“Labor shortage is a HUGE issue with growers,” says Jennifer Zurko, managing editor at GrowerTalks magazine. “A lot of breeders have already been trying to develop new varieties that help growers save on time and labor. I think this will continue.”
California Spring Trials 2019 – Danziger Introductions
Many of Danziger’s series and new introductions address these grower issues directly. COLIBRI™ Calibrachoa is a good example. COLIBRI Calibrachoa is bred with both the grower and end-consumer in mind. This compact, well-performing series features loads of blooms and good branching with little PGR use, providing growers with more profit per square foot with the least amount of effort. COLIBRI™ is perfect for quart programs, however, it will also make a compact basket or combo. COLIBRI™ continues to grow and bloom well in the home garden, making consumers feel more successful. New for 2020, Blizzard is an early flowering variety that features large, snowy-white blooms.
What other trends to experts expect to see?
“I expect breeders will be working on natural compactness, novel colors, better plant habit and better uniformity within series and collections,” says Chris Beytes, editor at GrowerTalks, GreenProfit and Acres Online.
“We believe you’ll be seeing a lot of compact series at CAST this year,” says Mike Fernandez, market manager for Danziger North America. “End consumers are gardening in smaller spaces, but they still want plenty of color and loads of flowers. Our VANESSA™ Compact Verbena delivers both, with a compact habit and a plant that won’t cycle out of bloom.”
VANESSA™ Verbena is bred for mildew tolerance and flower power. Danziger tests prospective varieties by inoculating the seedlings with mildew. Only those that stay clean and in full color are brought to market. The new VANESSA™ Compact Series brings the same big color of the original VANESSA™ in a smaller package. Great for quarts, this series features a compact habit in more than ten color options including Compact Neon Pink, Compact Violet, and Compact Bicolor Purple.
Another trend editors see is targeting the do-it-for-me end consumer. “Combos and mixes are certainly nothing new, but I feel like the category will continue to grow and expand,” says Jasmina Dolce, managing editor of GPN. “From hanging baskets to really elaborate patio planters, consumers love ready-made recipes that they don’t have to think about. Instant gratification. So, anything that the grower can do to make that happen will be a hit at retail.”
“I believe we’ll also start seeing more annuals suited toward container growing as one-pot-wonders,” says Janeen Wright, managing editor of Greenhouse Grower. “Meaning they fill containers quickly, providing an instant garden, and they are easy to maintain for those with limited time.”
Displays at the Danziger CAST location will offer inspiration for both growers and retailers. “We have a number of new introductions that fill the one pot wonder role very well,” adds Lisa Heredia. “This year we are focusing on helping our customers understand how to best use our existing lines and new introductions, offering more information on where they fit in their programs. We’re outlining what works best for quarts, baskets and premium programs, so growers will know if they place a Danziger variety, they can count on it. With this information, they’ll be able to choose the variety that will grow and show best, giving them better sell thru. That translates into better profitability.”
CAST 2019 runs from March 23-27. Make plans to visit Headstart Nursery to see all the new 2020 Danziger varieties. Visit http://www.springtrialsregistration.com/ to register. Want a sneak peek at our new varieties? Click here!