Hydrangeas is one of the most rapidly growing categories and one of the most rapidly growing categories in woody shrubs. Last week, on September 9, Bailey Nurseries - known for Endless Summer and First Editions - organized a webinar in which they discussed everything, from variety selection to production to sales of their hydrangeas. A recording of this webinar will be available to Bailey customers when they log into the Bailey website, but in this article below, we will already give a glimpse on what has been discussed.
It all starts with breeding which at Bailey Nurseries takes place on their 40 acres site in Athens, Georgia, where 3 full time breeders are breeding selecting and trialing the varieties continuously, explains Natalia Hamill, Brand & Business Development Manager at Bailey Nurseries. On top of that, they scour the planet seeking new, and fostering partnerships to bring genera-defining creations in woody plants. Remontancy is one of their main criteria and over the years this genetic trait has become the holy grail for hydrangea breeders because it results in more blooms. Their hydrangeas bloom continuously on old growth and new growth, this compared to many other varieties that bloom once a season only on old growth.
Endless Summer Hydrangea macrophylla and First Editions plants are prime examples of their commitment.
Endless Summer® assortment
Endless Summer is one of world's best selling garden hydrangeas. The distribution of this plant is worldwide and in North America only there are already more than 32.5 million units sold and 5 million in Europe. It is bred for garden performance and rebloom on new growth. Currently, the assortment consists of 5 varieties. One of the latest introductions - retail introduction in 2019 - is Summer Crush (named Summer Love in Europe), see below.
Endless Summer® Summer Crush
"It has rich raspberry-red or neon-purple florist quality blooms on a hardy garden hydrangea. This compact growing hydrangea with dark green glossy leaves is proven to be Zone 4 cold hardy and the most wilt resistant Endless Summer yet. On top of that, flowers and leaves resist browning in summer."
When looking at the hydrangea paniculata varieties available, the first thing that may pop into your mind may be; Why are there so many? Hamill explains that the reason is simple, that it is just because it is such a popular crop with a great demand. "In First Editions, three of the top 6 sellers are paniculatas, for example. It is a crop with many landscape uses, namely as focal points, foundation planting, mass plantings & groundcover, screens, pollinator plantings and for cut flowers." For First Editions, the breeding team only picks the varieties that are distinctively different. Currently, the First Editions Panicle Assortment consists of six varieties. The two top sellers are Strawberry Sundae and Vanilla Strawberry. Berry White is one of their latest introductions.
First Editions® Berry White® Panicle Hydrangea
"Its long-awaited introduction is a step forward in paniculata breeding. With strong, upright stems and large cone-shaped flower panicles that stay upright, this plant is a summer stunner. Like the other paniculatas from Mr. Renault at Pépinières Renault, the flower color starts out white in July then progresses to dark pink. Coloring occurs from the bottom and progresses to the top of the panicle. Berry White blooms a little later than Strawberry Sundae and about the same time as Vanilla Strawberry. Color shades can vary according to location, climate and type of soil."
After breeding, trialing, selecting and commercializing the variety, growers can start producing the varieties. During the webinar, a lot of tips, tricks, technical and in depth information was shared about the cultivation of the Endless Summer and First Editions Hydrangeas.
New look First Editions®
When the product is finished and the product is ready, it is time to sell it. And when selling a product, it is important to market your product. For Endless Summer, for example, they introduced the Bailey Deco Pot Program with Deco Pot tags and also hanging basket tags. For First Editions, they introduce a new purple pot and new look that will be in retail next spring. With this new pot, they are eager to connect more with the consumer and show them that it is possible to have a good-looking landscape without the hard work; these shrubs and trees are hardworking and therefore make it less of a hassle to have a good-looking landscape.
On top of that, they introduced a consumer website; www.garden-gab.com which can be entered on a desktop and mobile device. On the website the consumer can ask a question and within 24 hours, they will receive an answer.
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