Blooms of Bressingham says the industry can capitalise on the success of Geranium Rozanne, the RHS Chelsea Flower Show "plant of the centenary", by introducing new variations, extending marketing to consumers and broadening supply.
Two sports - 'Azure Rush' and 'Lilac Ice' - from the long-blooming, easy-to-grow, Geranium Rozanne have recently been introduced, which have different flower colours and different growth habits.
Blooms president Gary Doerr believes these plants "open the way to breaking away from the horticultural division between bedding and perennial plants, which is a complicated irrelevance to most people who just want good flowering plants in their gardens".
The broad appeal to landscapers, gardeners and non-gardeners mean Blooms will market it through more than the traditional herbaceous perennial supply chain. This will include the bedding plant supply route, non-garden retailers such as fashion chains, TV shopping channels and internet retailers.
The firm is seeking growers which have bred or discovered a new variety to have it tested by Blooms with a view to having it introduced by Blooms on their behalf.
New trial facilities run by Paul Gooderham at Bressingham Gardens in Norfolk will help compare existing varieties and new varieties in one place.
Blooms was among exhibitors at Plantarium in Boskoop, the Netherlands, last week.
Worldwide bestseller Sales top 12 million
Blooms European business development manager Alastair Lorimer said worldwide sales of Geranium Rozanne are 12 million - Thompson & Morgan sold 30,000 on QVC the day after Chelsea. Hayloft and Coblands are also among those prospering with the plant.
Lorimer said it has such wide appeal it could be sold through Next Home & Garden, Waitrose and internet sites such as Plantify. He says that fashion retail is becoming more interested in plants and that Connecticut-based Terrain is leading the way.