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Chuck Pavlich, Terra Nova Nurseries:

Attracting pollinators is good, but plants should do more

Having a pollinator friendly garden is becoming a serious trend among end consumers and the demand for the so-called pollinator friendly plants is therefore high. Adapting to the trend alone does not suffice anymore and standing out seems to be key. At the Cultivate'17 in Columbus (OH) in the USA, a new humming bird attracting plant variety that is already becoming known among horticultural circles caught the eye of many visitors. This variety is called the Scrophularia 'Cardinale' and was bred by Terra Nova Nurseries. "It was our showstopper", says Chuck Pavlich, Director of New Product Development at Terra Nova Nurseries.

Photo: Terra Nova Nurseries

Appearance and attracting pollinators
According to Pavlich, most of the visitors were first charmed by the appearance of the plant itself. "It has cute flowers that resemble a bright red Cardinal bird sitting on a branch. In fact, the common name is Red Birds in a Tree. And these unusual flowers, combined with the mid green serrated foliage is rarely seen in common horticulture." On top of its striking appearance, the Scrophularia 'Cardinale' attracts hummingbirds, something that perfectly fits the current garden trends.

Scrophularia 'Cardinale'
Even though the Scrophularia 'Cardinale' seems to be a beautiful and humming bird attracting plant variety, its cultivation characteristics are important to growers. The Scrophularia is native to the high elevations of New Mexico and these types used to have some 'wild' characteristics that were not suitable for commercial production. Over the years, Terra Nova Nurseries has bred this variety, and they were one of the first breeders that introduced a Scrophularia macrantha hybrid. "It is easy to produce as it conserves water and fertilizer. It thrives in heat and even in poor, yet well-drained soil, and the plant is hardy to zone 5."

Photo: Terra Nova Nurseries

First plants at growers
Right after the introduction of the Scrophularia 'Cardinale', Pavlich noticed a fairly uniform interest across the map. "Some of the biggest growers were very interested because it's easy to root and durable, plus it should garner interest from curious gardeners at the retail level." And the first Scrophularia 'Cardinale' has recently been planted for commercial production at growers from across the USA. "And their acceptance seems positive."

29 new varieties at Cultivate
At the Cultivate'17, Terra Nova Nurseries presented 29-plus new varieties, and The Scrophularia 'Cardinale' was one of the varieties that was not shown at the California Spring Trials, last April. "This variety was so new, we displayed them for the first time during Cultivate’17,” says Pavlich.

For more information
Terra Nova Nurseries
[email protected]