"Are you familiar with the story of the disease-resistant impatiens Beacon of PanAmerican Seed? These are exactly the kind of breakthroughs and value, we want to bring into cut flowers," says Scott Rusch, GM of BloomStudios Cut Flowers, a new cut flower division of Ball Horticultural that was established in October 2019. This new division focuses on providing new cut flowers with breeding from PanAmerican, Ball and a collaborative network of private breeders. On top of new breeding & product development, they supply technical resources, marketing and sales tools to support distributors for their growers around the globe with their seeds, URCs and TC-based products, as well as with their cultivation support.
A picture from one of trials in 2019. From left to right: Scott Rusch, Reid Snyder, Mary O’Connor, Edwin Verheijen.
How it all started
The idea to establish this new division came from the desire to bring more focus in this category and valuable new products to cut flower growers around the world. "Ball and PanAmerican have many outstanding cut flowers in their assortment and we believe that there is so much more possible. We plan to leverage the breeding powerhouse and advanced technologies that Ball has invested in. Our goal is to develop new products that solve challenges for growers with better performance, disease resistance, longer vase life, and so on. These are some of the attributes we are looking for and also in line with our sustainable values."
Breeding from PanAmerican, Ball and other breeders
For over 50 years, PanAmerican Seed has been creating cut flowers and supplied seeds to growers all around the world. BloomStudios Cut Flowers grew from this and is dedicated to bringing innovation to the professional cut flower market. BloomStudios provides products with breeding from PanAmerican, Ball and a collaborative network of private breeders. "When you cross two different species, sometimes you will get the best from both. So we expect the same when starting collaborations with other breeders. It will enable us to bring more game-changing products." They will bring those products to the market in the most efficient form, whether that is tissue culture, cuttings or seed.
Currently, the assortment consists of around 200 varieties in different product categories and over the last year, they added 10 new varieties with their R&D team. Currently, the core and the top six products offered are dianthus, snapdragons, matthiola, lisianthus, celosia and delphinium. (Click here for the digital catalog). According to Scott, these are top sellers - they really differentiate themselves from the other products in the market. Take the Dianthus Amazon, for example. "It is different from the normal barbatus as it is interspecific. It is a sterile hybrid as it has no pollen. This feature does not only give the flower a - up to a week- longer vase life, it is also more heat-tolerant, which lets it perform better in tunnels and open field production. It is very popular in Colombia, China and the US. Over the last years, we also see the interest in Europe and other markets increasing."
Trials, distribution and support
BloomStudios is dedicated to supply their products all over the world. So, besides offering their catalogs and information on their website in several languages, they also need to make sure that their products will get to, grow and succeed in these countries. Their varieties are available through the PanAmerican Seed distribution network and they have set up trial sites in major markets, like the Netherlands, Central & South America, California, SE Asia, China, Canada. On top of that, they support local and export markets with expert technical resources with distributors they partner with around the globe.
2020 has been a challenging year, especially for growers and trying to establish a new company. "The main challenge was to get the word out, due to market uncertainties and because of the lack of exhibitions and the restrictions on gatherings." For the coming year(s) they therefore have a lot in the pipeline. "First, we want to let everyone know what BloomStudios is about through virtual and in person events, then, we expect to announce new collaborations and we will show a new round of introductions in Summer 2021."