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Scott Rusch, BloomStudios Cut Flowers:

“Industry demands for new cut flower product accelerates”

“Consumers have certainly been purchasing more flowers to brighten their home and elevate their mood during the last 18 months. We see increases in varieties that help growers, bouquet makers, and florists develop beautiful and interesting impulse buys. They want to see in their vase at home the colors and textures from the natural world,” says Scott Rusch, General Manager and Co-Founder of BloomStudios Cut Flowers. This is a new division at Ball Horticultural and PanAmerican Seed that was established in October 2019 focused on new product development for cut flowers.

“While we are working on expanding and enhancing many of our core product lines and we have a strong focus to develop new products to help growers produce reliably and ultimately resulting in interesting bouquets.” Rusch also shares the popularity of their new Marigold variety and how they are being approached by independent breeders to develop products further for the global market.

The BloomStudios team

Changing consumer habits
As many in the industry, Rusch explains that BloomStudios has also been seeing the impacts of the pandemic. “In mid and late 2020, the industry saw stronger demand from consumers, as they were staying home. They needed something to brighten their home and their mood. The patterns changed as purchases increased at supermarkets and retail, while weddings and events were not happening. In 2021, this increased demand has sustained and increased; we hear reports from growers globally that they are having a hard time keeping up with the increased demand.”

Rusch comments that they are hoping the increased demand for flowers will continue in the future, as they have noticed that US consumer habits are changing. “In the US, the consumer is seeing the benefits of flowers and are getting more used to buying them as an everyday item to brighten up their homes. This was already common in Europe, but hopefully continues as a new trend in the US, where flowers used to mainly be bought for events and holidays. We are continuing our focus on new product development to support the industry creating new and interesting cut flower consumer products.”

Homegrown cut flower arrangement by Ball employee Eric Pitzen, and their family dog.

Marigolds for Day of the Dead and Halloween
An example is their new cut flower marigold variety, Xochi Orange, which was introduced in late 2020. “So far, the popularity of this variety has exceeded our expectations. We completed trials with growers globally in 2020 and the variety has performed well in many environments. Xochi Orange has stronger colors and stems than other varieties. A challenge with marigolds is that stems can snap; Xochi Orange can hold up better in production and transport. In the US, Halloween is a major retail holiday, and the Marigold is a popular flower for both Halloween and the Day of the Dead. With both holidays coming up in late October/early November, we are seeing good performance at growers with this variety, and hopefully sell through will be strong as well.”

Xochi Orange Marigold, Golden State Flower Growers production in California, USA, October 2021

Marigold Xochi Orange at the Colombian Trials 2019, with Camila Valle (PanAmerican Seed) and Roberto Berganton (Ball)

Collaborating with breeders
“We have a strong team of breeders throughout PanAmerican Seed and other Ball Companies that we work with every day to develop new cut flower varieties. While the majority of our work is with our internal teams, we are happy to be working with several independent breeders to develop high-quality professional cut flower products. What has been a nice change this year, independent breeders are now reaching out to us to work collaboratively,” explains Rusch.

New product trials in The Netherlands

“I think more people are realizing that there are great opportunities in the industry. BloomStudios Cut Flowers is starting year 3 and we are happy that the word is getting out to breeders that we can help them develop their ideas into products for the global market. These collaborations benefit both parties as well as our customers. The independent breeders benefit from our teams’ expertise that they may not have for trialing and product development in the cut flower category, and we benefit from new ideas and projects to consider. I encourage independent breeders to contact me any time to talk further about their varieties, ideas, and potential collaboration.”

For more information:
Scott Rusch
Email: [email protected]