Australia's tough customer set to launch on UK markets

Ozbreed to bring only blue Dianella to British retail market

‘Cassa Blue’, claimed to be the only blue Dianella in the world, is set to hit the British retail market. Australian nurseryman Todd Layt’s company Ozbreed has released 13 grass-like varieties, including nine “improved” native grasses from 27 licensed Australian growers. He says they don’t need watering, last up to 30 years and, after success in Australia and the US, are due to arrive in Europe soon. Layt wants to grow his “strappy leaved” plants at 30 European nurseries, including five in the UK. He said: “I took one of the toughest Australian plants, which was too big and spiky, and made it look consistently good with fine, non-spiky leaves. It’s changed how people regard grass-like native plants.” Dorset-based micropropagation laboratory Plant Resources has been developing the plants since last June and is now marketing them for UK growers to take up. Owner Tim Barton says 200,000 plants may be in production by the five British nurseries he is looking to recruit by next year. The new ranges could be offered to retailers at Glee on 19-24 September. South Carolina-based marketing company VersaScapes delivered 30,000 plants to 10 growers for sales this season in the US. Barton said: “There is no doubt the product worked in Australia and the US, where it has taken off in a big way. Here is a different market, but the grass market is big and growing, and people are getting bored with cordylines and phormiums because they’ve been around a bit and the bubble’s burst.”

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