Dutch company van Vliet New Plants and Saunders Genetics of North America have agreed to a joint venture that begins a process that will lead to the eventual sale of Saunders Genetics’ patented NewGen Boxwood in the European consumer market. Peter Kroes, co-owner of van Vliet New Plants and Bennett Saunders, General Manager, Saunders Genetics, have taken the initial step of supplying plant material to select European growers for trialing over the next 12-18 months. Anticipated results of the plant trials will open the door for licensed growers to produce and distribute NewGen to European consumer gardeners.
Saunders Genetics introduced the NewGen Boxwood brand to the North American market in 2019 to much fanfare due its improved genetics that demonstrated greater tolerance of Boxwood Blight, higher resistance to Boxwood Leafminer, and wow factor in the garden and landscape. At this time, 22 North American licensees have signed on to grow the first two plant introductions, NewGen Independence and NewGen Freedom. European growers are seeing the potential of the Saunders genetics as means to combat the devastation of blight that began in Europe and migrated to North America in the last 10-15 years. Saunders Genetics was created as the result of years of study and trials of Boxwood Blight since its discovery in the U.S. in 2011.
van Vliet New Plants has been chosen as Saunders Genetics’ European connection for the introduction and management of NewGen plant material in the Euro trade and consumer marketplace. The trialing process and building of production leading to consumer sales is expected to take 2-3 years.
“We believe these new plants from Saunders Genetics have tremendous potential for the European market,” said Peter Kroes, co-owner at van Vliet New Plants. “The bar has been raised in the effort to find solutions to Boxwood Blight and we’re excited to be at the forefront in bringing this new generation of plant material to our audiences. Beyond blight, our association with Saunders Genetics’ long-range goal of elevating boxwood across a range of attributes and performance signals a bright future for this backbone of landscape.”
“We’re very pleased to be working with Peter and van Vliet New Plants in exploring the opportunities of the European market,” said Bennett Saunders, general manager of Saunders Genetics and co-owner of Saunders Brothers Nursery, the origin company of Saunders Genetics. “Expansion of the NewGen genetics to Europe is a key component for our long-term vision to make these game-changing plants readily available in the U.S. and beyond and we’re eager to take the next step.”