Doing direct-to-consumer

Problem Solvers Supplement - Begonias

One of the world’s longest tenured breeders released the new Begonia Nonstop Joy Series to help growers solve a problem in the horticulture world.

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March 2, 2021

Shipping and logistics can often be a bit of a pain point for growers who would rather spend their time amongst the plants than amongst the pallets.

Plant breeding giant Benary has set out to help commercial floriculture growers with varieties that are screened and selected for ideal shipping qualities. According to Jennifer Calhoun, a marketing specialist for the breeder, this includes traits like increased branching and tough, robust stems.

“Double begonias are a consumer favorite, but their mounded, trailing habit and somewhat brittle stems can be a challenge during shipping,” she explains. “The Begonia Nonstop Joy Series has been bred to be easy to grow and ship, and the fully double flowers have all the appeal of traditional Nonstops, yet they hold better in shipping.”

Calhoun says this results in a “beautiful series of begonias that can be grown and shipped to retail in a 10” hanging basket,” and this past year the breeder introduced Nonstop Joy Red, Orange, and Rose Picotee varieties so plant buyers can have some diversity to select from, our for mixing in arrangements.

“[Nonstop Joy] opens up a whole new premium product, as now growers can produce gorgeous Mother’s Day baskets with huge double flowers and know they will look great at retail as well,” she adds, noting the typically tough-to-track-down variety will also be easier to find this spring season.

Above: 3 new varieties of Benary's Nonstop Joy begonias that will debut at Cultivate '21: Red (middle), Orange (bottom) and Rose Picotee (top).
Photos courtesy of Benary

“And these new varieties are easier to care for,” Calhoun says. “The sturdy stems hold up to challenging weather, maintaining a full basket of color. The plants grow full and lush giving an overall healthy look.”

Consumers seek out begonias every spring for a multitude of reasons: they’re easy to grow, have good drought tolerance and disease resistance, and they do well in direct sun or shade. Today’s consumer is also looking for interesting new colors and tones to add to their home or workspace.

“They are looking for bold colors and bi-colors, interesting flower forms and large flowers,” Calhoun agrees. “Of course, they also want outstanding outdoor performance, and we’re hoping that our newest begonia introductions like Nonstop Fire, BIG White Green Leaf and Groovy Rose are exactly what they are looking for.”

Benary would know. The breeder that was founded by Ernst Benary in Germany in 1843, and then refounded after World War II by Fredrich Benary in Lower Saxony — the second-generation proprietor biked around Europe collecting seeds for the venture — has 6 generations and 175 years of experience to lean on.

“As a company we have grown through a history of creativity, tenacity, strength and courage,” Calhoun says. “We hold fast to our ideals and are not afraid to make our own path. We genuinely love what we do so we work together to care for each other and our customers and find new ways to help each other to be more successful.”