Plants for the Future hears from plant breeding experts

The RHS Plants for the Future conference on 9 November will hear insights horticulturists including David Kerley, Peter van Rijssen and Steve Austin.

Power Daisy
Power Daisy

David Kerley presents ‘Breeding & Marketing Plants for the Commercial Market’. He and his family specialise in breeding patio plants, particularly petunias, primulas, cape fuchsias and trailing pansies, and have licensed propagators distributing in Europe, North America, New Zealand and Japan. In 2016, David and son Tim introduced Calendula Power Daisy Sunny, which placed third at the 2016 Chelsea Plant of the Year.

He will talk about taking a plant through to being market ready and his experiences along the way.

Kerley, who breeds for growers, said he specialised in high volume, novel, uniform, vegetatively propagated plants. 

He distributes worldwide and has a 5-10 year process for introductions, including registrations, and thorough testing. He said not to ignore unusual seedlings in the search for novel plants.

Kerley says he develops protocols for cuttings production, rooting and culture. Considerations on where to produce cuttings include climate, day length, skill set, cost, logistics and communications.

He says the Power Daisy flowers March – November, is self cleaning, hardy to at least -5 centigrade, is disease resistant, tolerates all weathers, is virtually seedless, has a spreading habit, is suited to baskets/tubs/landscape, and is drought-resistant in the landscape.

Peter van Rijssen presents on ‘Bringing New Plants to Market’. He is a director of Concept Plants in the Netherlands, and part of Plantipp which represents breeders from all over the world; managing more than 500 different plant varieties. He discussed his experiences of introducing and managing award winning new plants to a worldwide market.

He says: "We want your varieties," adding that he represents 100 independent breeders and is active in 35 countries across shrubs, grasses, perennials, trees and cut flowers.

He features Amigra & Allure's Festuca 'Beyond Blue', which will keep colour all season, the Pat McCracken-bred Ligustrum 'Sunshine Royalty, Jewel of Desert Delosperma bred by Koichiro Nishikawa, Dark Secret Heucheras and the cut flowers in the Amazing series from Van Zoest Clematis and Flair series bred by Bernard vd Bosch, as well as Chelsea best new plant winner 2014 Hydrangea 'Miss Saori' and Helenium 'Short and Sassy'.

On the Ligustrum, he says 410,000 units sold at $0,40 dollar cents per sold plant, meaning $164,000 commission paid.

Steve Austin presents ‘A Passion for Plants - From Discovery to Success’. Austin is head of product development for Plant Marketing International, specialising in the production and sale of innovative young plants.

He will speak about a plant exploration tour of Australia and Japan, about working with new plants and breeders and about micro-propagation.

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