Joey Wiseman

Departments - Three Questions

The head of ThinkPlants discusses why competitors working together can benefit both breeders and growers.

December 30, 2019

Photo courtesy of Joey Wiseman

Originally announced at Cultivate’18 by Danziger and Syngenta, ThinkPlants is an industry organization aiming to bring more quality perennial genetics to the market. According to ThinkPlants head Joey Wiseman, the organization helps develop the marketing and supply of perennials for growers in North America. That means easier access to Danziger and Syngenta products, but also plants from places like KiwiFlora in New Zealand and Kapiteyn in The Netherlands. It also means incorporating young plant suppliers like the recently added James Greenhouses in Athens, Georgia, to offer liners to interested growers.

Greenhouse Management: What is the benefit to the industry of having something like ThinkPlants?

Joey Wiseman: I get that question a lot because it’s kind of a new concept for the industry. What it is, is basically a marketing collective where we are presenting perennial genetics for the companies working with us. So we aren’t just marketing their products, but developing a supply chain to help get their product to market. The goal is to lift and promote the genetics. And we are trying to create efficiencies in communication, marketing resources and supply chain, which then helps the growers. We are pooling our resources despite the fact that many of us would be considered competitors.

GM: Why do you think this is something that is a novelty in the industry?

JW: If you think about the companies that spearheaded this — Danziger and Syngenta — they are both big breeding houses and they are competitors. But they decided that by working together in the perennial market — and I think a lot of people are seeing that there’s a lot of growth to be had in perennials right now — and pool resources and cooperate on some breeding projects, it will be for the benefit of all of us. The whole industry is consolidating in a way through mass-market sellers and it’s hard to get a seat at the table if you’re one individual or one smaller, niche project, [so] we’re giving ourselves one big seat at the table. And we’re giving third-party breeders, even if it’s a one-off or a small series, a seat at the table to talk about their products. And we’ve added some young plant suppliers to the team to help them promote their products

GM: What are some perennial trends you think will matter in 2020?

JW: A lot of the people that I talk to are looking at finding new or interesting genus that haven’t been very strong in the perennial market, but they are also looking at shoulder season crops a lot. So what can we get in just at the beginning of spring or what is going to look good in the fall? What’s going to be a good winter color? Finding products to service those shoulder seasons seems to be a big trend right now.