Different cultures, different tastes. It goes for many species, and for pansies in particular. Once again, this was proven at the Pansy & Viola Trials that were held this week at PanAmerican Seed®. Two times a year this breeder and producer of F1 and open-pollinated flower seed comes together with their clients and growers from all over Europe and the UK to discuss the existing, new and future varieties of their assortment. Colours, plant habits and timing are thoroughly discussed, reviewed and compared with the competitor varieties in the market. Today is the last day of the Pansy Trials at their location in Venhuizen, the Netherlands.
Jeroen Star and Denise van Kampen
PanAmerican Seed has multiple Pansy & Viola series, including Cool Wave®, Sorbet® XP, Sorbet®, Frizzle Sizzle, Frizzle Sizzle Mini and the latest addition, Quicktime™. Cool Wave (large flowering trailing pansies) and Sorbet XP and Sorbet (small flowering pansies) are their most important series in Europe. Frizzle Sizzle (large flowered) and Frizzle Sizzle Mini (small flowered) both have fringed flowers and are more a niche product for customers that want to add something special to the assortment.
Pansy Cool Wave Raspberry Swirl
Viola Quicktime is their newest series. It was introduced two years ago, and special about the varieties in the series is the short cultivation period. "Usually, pansies need to be seeded in September / October to be ready end February / early March", explains Jeroen Star, Sales Manager Europe at PanAmerican Seed. "Now, with Quicktime, we've experienced that growers in certain conditions can even start sowing in November and have a saleable plant end February / early March. It is ideal for growers focused on winter production (like poinsettias) and usually have no plants in the greenhouse until the annual and perennial season will start." Currently, the Quicktime assortment consists of 8 colours, including NEW Blue and Yellow Blotch.
Besides these series, PanAmerican Seed also has a large flowered series, named Matrix, that is exclusive to certain young plant growers. They distribute PanAmerican's young plants in Europe and the UK.
The greenhouse with Matrix, Sorbet and Quicktime varieties
Different cultures, different tastes
For the pansy, as well as for other crops, it is important to have the standard colours in the assortment. But taste is different per region and personal, and therefore, the assortment keeps evolving. "We are glad that we have the standard colours in each series, but more is needed. Already within Europe we see a lot of different tastes. For this reason, our assortment keeps changing. In Pansy Cool Wave for example, we have 14 varieties and 3 mixes in the assortment; in the viola Sorbet XP we have 33 varieties and 12 mixes, and in the Sorbet 15 varieties. Some unique colours we have in this series are XP Deep Orange and XP Delft Blue", says Star
What is the difference between Sorbet XP and and Sorbet? "Sorbet XP is a series with violas with the same characteristics, like uniformity in plant habit, cultivation period and timing. The standard Sorbet varieties do not exactly fit these exact characteristics yet, but include some special colours that we want to offer to our customers. The colours are too special or beautiful to ignore!”.
Last week, this greenhouse was filled with different pansy varieties. After selection of the breeder, these two rows were left, including excising, new and potential varieties.
During the trials, PanAmerican is reviewing and discussing the existing, new and potential varieties with their clients and growers. Out of these discussions, breeding goals are being adjusted or new breeding goals arise. During our visit at the Pansy & Viola Trials, Star shared some of their breeding goals.
"In the Cool Wave series, we are looking for large flowered, spreading varieties that are filling the pot well and that look good at the point-of sale”.
Viola Sorbet XP Deep Orange
In the Sorbet series, they are very pleased with their deep orange coloured variety. "Often with this colour, either the plant habit or the colour is good. Now XP Deep Orange has it all." Also, they are looking for more one-coloured varieties in the Sorbet XP series. "On top of that, it is important that the blotch and flower colour have a large contrast.
"Of course, we always keep improving our existing assortment. We are happy with our current series, but we will continuously work on improving the plant habits, colours and timing", Star adds.
Sharing and comparing
During the trials, all visitors are sharing their thoughts and comparing the varieties with potential new and competitor varieties. On top of that, PanAmerican also tests their own varieties. Quicktime for example was trialed in different plug sizes and different temperatures. "In this way, we can improve our products and better inform and advise our clients and growers."
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