Reader Panel - What plans do you have for impatiens going forward?

At the Horticultural Development Company seminar on impatiens downy mildew last week, we asked industry representatives their views on what would happen with impatiens in the future.

Technical manager

"We are expecting volumes to decrease. We are not going to deliver any cutting-raised Impatiens walleriana material into the UK. We don't find any issues in seed production and are confident material will be clean. Preventive fungicide programmes are a must and areas that have been affected need to be cleaned carefully.

"Educating consumers of the issues around the disease is essential so their experience of bedding plants can be as good as in the past."

Steve Waters, technical manager, Syngenta

Director

"We are going to continue to grow seed-raised impatiens. There is no easy answer. Retailers need to tell customers the risk involved and train staff to give alternatives. This needs to be done to protect garden centres and their customers.

"There are a lot of comments on blogs and people are incredibly upset."

Mike Smith, director, WD Smith

Manager

"The correct information needs to be out there and it's our responsibility to do that. The market will go down, and we need to follow the consumers.

"Keen gardeners will be familiar with this problem. Casual gardeners will come into a garden centre no specific idea of what they want. The public are not aware of this issue. Do you inform the consumer and risk a sale or sell and risk confidence?"

Simon Edwards, Group operations manager, Golden acres Nurseries

Director

"Growers have got to tell us what we should be doing. There are lots of great plants out there.

"Money is tight, and the majority of people want to buy whatever product we've got that suits their needs. We will be going with what the growers suggest."

Andy Bunker, director, Alton garden centre.


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