STEM Podcast: Demystifying Perennial Production

The Darwin Perennials team of Chris Fifo and Leland Toering were special guests to the popular podcast STEM: Insider Tips for Greenhouse Pros. Hosted by Bill Calkins of Ball Seed, STEM dives into industry topics, and shares timely and relevant horticulture ideas, innovations and technologies.

The episode featuring Leland and Chris is titled “Demystifying Perennial Production.” It showcases the current perennial market, plus takes a look back at perennial growing of the past. It also discusses what the future may hold.

According to Leland, the current market is in a situation kind of where annuals were 20-30 years ago. He cites new, professional breeding as one of the key movements of the perennial scale. “Another reason that perennials are so exciting is that with this newer more professional breeding has also come an improved supply chain.”

Bill put several questions to the duo, including where is this growth coming from? Chris and Leland feel it’s many factors, but ultimately it’s the growers looking to diversify their assortments for the new garden market. They’re finding efficient use of their greenhouse space and outdoors to produce in-demand perennials.

When starting off, Chris suggests starting small with well-known varieties that are low maintenance and high impact:

  • Aquilegia
  • Dianthus
  • Bellis
  • Armeria

“These are no-brainers available as spring liners that you can start easily and will flower regardless how they’re treated,” says Chris. “If you can reach it with the hose and it won’t get run over, there’s a good place to grow perennials.”

Leland suggested adding some of those newer genetics like S. nemorosa Blue Marvel and Rose Marvel, and some of the new lavandula genera. “Good products with good sell-through.”

Listen to the episode here.


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