Hydrangeas are booming in the USA and Ball Ingenuity is therefore very pleased with their latest introduction; a new series of double flowering hydrangea macrophyllas. "It is a new level of what is currently popular. Most retailers want pink and blues, but with the double petal flowers, we take it to higher heights", says Joan Mazat, Head of New Product Development at Ball Ingenuity.
Joan Mazat and Kelsey Fletcher at Cultivate'19 in Columbus, Ohio, USA where they participated with a Ball Ingenuity booth for the first time.
Different in the traditional colors
The demand for the hydrangeas increased sharply over the last years and everyone seems to be interested in the novelties. However, retailers still seem to go for the traditional colors: pink and blue, explains Mazat. According to her, this makes this series even more attractive. "It is new and fits into the retailers' required color palette." On top of that, the more compact habit makes the plant more suitable as a gift item, she adds.
More plants per square meter
Another aspect that makes this new macrophylla series an interesting crop to grow is the fact that it is a more compact plant and less PGRs are needed, explains Ed Vermolen of Aldershot Greenhouses, a Canadian grower who specializes in hydrangea and potted rose production. Aldershot Greenhouses produces and supplies the dormant hydrangea plants from December till June via Ball Ingenuity to growers in the US. "Nowadays, it is all about using less square meters and less PGRs. As this crop is naturally compact, very little PGRs are needed."
Jan ten Brinke of HBA and Ed Vermolen of Aldershot Greenhouses at Cultivate'19.
Labor Savings and superior quality
The dormant hydrangeas are delivered from Aldershot Greenhouses to the customer in the pot they are to be finished in (4.5” or 6”). "The grower simply needs to unload the plants from the truck, into the greenhouse, and start growing without transplanting representing an excellent opportunity to save labor and have the best quality in the end. The dormant hydrangeas are pre-programmed to finish in their delivered pots, with the end goal customer satisfaction."
Success of the hydrangea to better breeding
This new series of hydrangeas are bred by the Hydrangea Breeders Association (HBA) in the Netherlands, and according to Jan ten Brinke, the success story of the hydrangea comes from the fact that breeders improved habits of the plant over the last years. "In contrast to the past, we now are able to breed better branching, more compact plants with stronger stems, more flowers and available in more colors. In turn, it becomes a more enjoyable plant for all links in the chain."