Over the years, the number of hydrangea varieties worldwide has increased significantly. Growers large and small all started to breed their own, but now a point may have been reached where growers and buyers cannot see the forest for the trees anymore. At the Garden Trials and Trade that took place in Boskoop, the Netherlands, last week it was brought forward again by many visitors. And Jean Yves Coulbault of French hydrangea breeding company Sicamus - who also exhibited - agrees. But, how to stand out among the masses? JY Coulbault explains.
Jean-Yves at the Garden Trials and Trade
The 'French Quality'
"It might sound cliché-ish to say that, but it all comes down to bringing eye-catching and good quality products to the market, and we try to reach this through the combination of our breeding experience and French Quality." Sicamus has been growing half-finished hydrangeas in France for over 80 years and entered hydrangea breeding 15 years ago. The climate in Angers, France, enables them to produce young plants that enables them to start early and finish later. "On top of that, we have one pinch more and we can open 8 to 10 or even more buds."
Booth at the Garden Trials and Trade
Popularity of new varieties
The own-bred collection of Sicamus is Rendez-Vous, which is quite an established collection, consisting of special varieties. "We've seen the demand for special varieties increasing and we therefore decided to start breeding our own, special varieties." They see the demand for new varieties is rising, and they are therefore increasing the production year after year.
Varieties still on code. Click here for the enlarged picture.
Classic varieties remain top seller
Even with this increasing demand, classic varieties remain the most sold. "It is an 80:20 percent ratio of which 20 stands for the special varieties and 80 for traditional classic varieties." For this reason, Sicamus decided to also create an own-bred collection of classic varieties. Their breeding is already in full swing, and the first codes were on display at the Garden Trials and Trade. And JY Coulbault was pleased with the reactions he received. "They liked the color of the flowers and the leaves and the compactness of the plant - and these are the points we focus on in breeding." This new collection will become available to growers in 2020, so will be in flower in 2021.
Also for this collection, just like the other collections Rendez-Vous, Dutch Ladies, and You and Me, Deko pots will be available. The Deko pot is a 5 liter printed pot, which does not only allow growers to sell their hydrangeas earlier in the season (as we explained in a previous article), it also enables them to market their product even better.
According to JY Coulbault, the combination of a clean printed pot and a catchy name has the potential to lift the grower's sales even further. "The pot is printed with the name of the collection and the name of the variety." Since the introduction, we and our growers noticed that this combination not only lets the consumer buy the products earlier in the season, it generated impulsive purchases as well."