Greenhouse Management: What trends do you see in the overall calibrachoa market?
Mike Fernandez, market manager — North America: The trend is to breed for early to flower varieties that have tighter internodes to promote more flowering and better branching. Also, breeding for pH sensitivity and always for larger more colorful flowers. All these things will provide a better experience for the end consumer.
GM: What sets Danziger calibrachoa breeding apart from the others?
MF: I believe what sets Danziger apart from others is the location of our breeding. All varieties are bred in Israel and this gives us an advantage for heat tolerant varieties. I also believe that our trialing and testing process around the world gives us more data before introduction. Having our own labs for diagnostics, TC supply and R&D is also a huge advantage. All of these things combined enable us to go to market confident in the introduction. Additionally, having our own supply chain for each market helps to add value for our customers.
GM: What exciting new innovations in this crop does Danziger have in the pipeline for the future?
MF: I believe one of the most exciting things is our initiative to breed controlled growth products. Controlled growth means a plant that grows and looks like it has had plant growth regulators (PGR) but it hasn’t. This will make easier to grow varieties for the grower and a better-quality plant overall. It also lengthens shelf life which is very important to both the grower and retailer. We also have more unique novelties in the pipeline. These are always appealing to consumers.
GM: How can a grower fit these products into their current offerings?
MF: The best way is through trialing. Danziger makes all varieties available for trial free of charge because we believe that this is the best way for the grower to know if it will work for them. Another important factor is for the grower to attend regional trials to see the varieties growing in their own area. Danziger is making a list of these trials available to all growers so that they will know where they can see our genetics at unbiased regional trials.
GM: What can growers do to finish the best cali crop possible?
MF: Although the breeding is for the varieties to be able to tolerate a higher pH, it is still important to know your water pH and alkalinity so you can make the best decision on fertilizer and acid injection as necessary. A good scouting program for insects and pH testing are also key. Knowing the finish timing, correct PGR rates for each variety, overall habit and vigor is all important for finishing a strong and marketable plant.