Kwik Kombo Plumtastic

Assorted mixed combinations are nothing new; growers have been combining genetics for decades creating beautiful well matched combinations that have immense retail appeal. Growers have spent a lot of time over the years through trial and error determining what combinations worked the best for their production and provided a great customer experience. It is clear to anyone who has designed assorted mixed combinations, developing good combinations takes time and patience. One thing that growers have little of these days is time. Growers are charged with maximizing their operational efficiency and consistently delivering top quality product to market week after week. As a breeder, Syngenta Flowers is constantly focused on developing and improving new ways for growers to become more efficient, whether it be a crop that flowers a week earlier, or turns a week sooner. Syngenta is leveraging these efficiencies in the form of pre-designed combinations that take the time and guess work out of developing assorted mixed combinations.

Pre-designed combinations are now a mainstay in every breeder’s portfolio and grower’s programs. Pre-designed combinations have found their way into every major retailer in branded and black pot programs. These pre-designed combinations answered the challenge of giving growers predictable and easy to execute mixed combinations that still delivered high value for the consumer. Most commonly these combinations use a standard array of genetics that have proved themselves and play well together. Items like Petunia, Verbena and Calibrachoa are the leading components in most of these combinations. With every breeder offering a group of combinations in similar color palettes, growers are now challenged with determining what assorted mixed combination is the best for them, depending on the time of year, size, and shape of a container. A one size fits all approach to combinations is no longer relevant as a solution for the dizzying array of containers and programs growers are charged with delivering.

Pink Lemonade Mix

When Syngenta Flowers introduced its Kwik Kombos program there was opportunity to improve the two-dimensional mixes that currently dominated the marketplace. The company looked at areas like balance of components, making sure one component would not overtake another. Syngenta also looked at garden performance, which was one of the key attributes lacking with many popular assorted mixed combinations at retail and finally Syngenta focused on segmentation of vigors, giving growers clear choices when pairing assorted mixed combinations with different sized containers.

Breeding for Balance

Kwik Kombos have always been developed with a focus on balanced vigor and compatibility between components. All too often other assorted mixed combinations are dominated by one particular component that worked well early but eventually outpaces its container mates. This is very common with Verbena, Bidens and vigorous Petunias. Syngenta Flowers and the Kwik Kombos program focused from day one on matching the right components based on vigor. Syngenta’s continued breeding in multiple size classes per crop has allowed Syngenta to leverage these different vigor classes and develop Kwik Kombos that work well from small containers all the way up to large hanging baskets. Syngenta Flowers recently introduced the Sanguna Patio Petunias. This series is notable for its compact mounded habit and earlier flowering. Sanguna Patio proved to be the perfect match for other compact and controlled genetics in the portfolio like Techno Upright Lobelia and Lanai Upright Verbena. Mixing these three series together provides for an excellent foundation in Kwik Kombos that are naturally more compact and ideal for smaller containers such as gallon containers and small hanging baskets. These compact lines are perfect for growers looking for maximum operational efficiency with little to no need for PGRs. Great examples of Kwik Kombos on the compact side of the vigor scale are Spring Breeze and World’s Fair, both new for 2017.

Spring Breeze

Not every grower has the need for compact combinations that they can place into the tightest spacing possible. Often growers are looking for a traditional mix that works great in hanging baskets and gives an upscale look for the end consumer. This traditional hanging basket look lends itself perfectly to Kwik Kombos segmented into the vigorous category. Syngenta Flowers is no stranger to big and bold genetics and offers class leading choices in the vigorous category including no-brainer series like Sanguna Petunia, Techno Lobelia and Lanai Verbena, not to mention new comers for late season mixes like Landscape Bandana Lantana. The vigorous category has a number of excellent choices many of these being top sellers in the Kwik Kombos program, mixes like Night in Pompeii, Plum-tastic and the new sure-to-be hit Color My Sunset, which features the new knock-your-socks-off Sanguna Salmon.

Lastly some growers need combinations that do a little bit of everything. When versatility is the key, growers can count on Kwik Kombos in the mid vigor category. Mid-vigor Kwik Kombos use familiar genetics like Callie Calibrachoa, and Lanai Verbena. This category is also home to many mixes using Whispers Petunia a mid-vigor spreading series that has proven to be one of the most versatile petunias available. Kwik Kombos Pink Lemonade is one of the best examples of a medium vigor category that has proven itself time after time.

Breeding for performance, no matter the season.

When growers are focused on delivering combinations to market, often their focus is on spring. Spring is where the majority of the pre-designed combination programs are focused and for good reason, it’s the volume of the business. But all too often we try to extend spring mixes into the heat of the summer and leverage the foot traffic that is still shopping the garden center. Often these spring focused combinations don’t stand up to the warmer temperatures and suffer at retail and are a poor choice for the end consumer looking for summer long color.

Syngenta Flowers has always had a strong portfolio of Heat Lover genetics including class leading series like Bandana Lantana, Bombay Scaevola and Carita Angelonia. These Heat Lover genetics are the perfect foundation for Kwik Kombos that not only survive but thrive through the heat of the summer. Kwik Kombos using Heat Lover components give growers great options to extend their season and bring to market assorted mixed combinations that still bring the balance and predictability they have come to expect from Kwik Kombos but with the added benefit of Heat Lover varieties.

Growers also have the added value of clear segmentations within the Heat Lover category. Mixes like Bandana® Lemon Meringue™ Mix and Bandana® Lemon Squeeze™ Mix fit perfectly in the compact category, where mixes like Carita™ Summer Berry Blast™ Mix and Summer Romance™ Mix are perfect in the mid vigor category. Both of these combinations use Carita™ Cascade Angelonia one of the best high color items for hanging baskets that absolutely love the heat. New introductions like Landscape Bandana® give growers big and bold choices for heat Loving combinations that work well in larger containers and baskets. Great examples include the best-selling Blue Lightning™ Mix that uses Landscape Bandana® Gold as well as I Like It Hot™ Mix, a fantastic combination that uses Landscape Bandana® Red Imp. and Landscape Bandana® Yellow.

Regardless of the season or size, Syngenta Flowers is focused on breeding for solutions and giving growers the tools they need to produce beautiful mixes. These tools give growers operational efficiency along with excellent end consumer performance. Kwik Kombos are more than pre-designed combinations; they are another solution from Syngenta Flowers developed to help growers succeed in a world of fast turns, high demands and complex programs.

Ryan Hall is a senior product manager with Syngenta Flowers.

Color My Sunset