“We have developed marigold varieties that match specific uses and purposes of all markets, from home gardeners to professional growers and florists,” says Beam Sailern Senhuk, marketing director at AmeriSeed, a vegetable and flower seed producer with a large assortment of marigolds. “For example, we have developed a range of cut flower marigold varieties that have exceptionally long and strong stems, which are perfect for vase and bouquet arrangements.”
Stem length and strength
Sailern explains that the length and strength of the stems are a crucial aspect when marigolds are used in vases and bouquets. “Therefore, we have developed marigolds with long and strong stems, such as White Swan and Sumati. White Swan has a stem length of 40-50 cm, while Sumati is slightly longer at 45-55 cm. Under most growing conditions, White Swan will produce 18-25 stems per plant, and Sumati will produce 25-35 stems per plant. To promote branching and increase the number of stems per plant, growers can pinch young plants two weeks after transplanting. Plant spacing is also important when growing marigolds as cut flowers. Our recommended spacing is 40 cm during short day length and 50 cm for long days.” Regarding stem strength, AmeriSeed is currently developing a measurement protocol to test the strength.
Vase and bouquet life
According to Sailern, AmeriSeed’s marigold breeders have a selective breeding process, in which they focus on the vase and bouquet life. “We consider this to be one of the most important aspects, and it is something that we will continuously improve. Our marigold varieties are expected to remain fresh in their vase or bouquet for at least seven days, which can be extended when using flower food.” In addition, the doubleness of the marigold blooms, as well as the number and tightness of the flower petals, play an important role in flowers holding their shape for a long period of time after harvest. “All of our marigold varieties have firm, fully double, ball-shaped flowers with an extensive shelf life.”
At the blooming stage, marigolds produce different sizes of flowers as they continue to grow. The first flush of AmeriSeed’s flowers will be rounder and larger than the flowers that bloom later. “This larger and round flower size allows florists to use the flowers creatively in their decorations. The White Swan’s flowers are approximately 6-7 cm in diameter and the Sumati’s 8-10 cm. When these two varieties are combined in cut flower displays, they produce a high impact, showy and unique vase or bouquet.”
Marigold colors: adding new shades
The main colors of the marigold are orange, gold, and yellow. However, AmeriSeed’s breeding programs have developed many new shades of these colors to add variation, including Deep Orange, Deep Gold, Yellow, Creamy Yellow. Their newest addition White Swan is in memory of Dame Margot Fontaine and her portrayal of the swan in Tchaikovsky’s ballet “Swan Lake”.
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