Back in 2018, Selecta one created their Autumn Friends concept to support growers in finding the right combinations for their Autumn cultivations. Over the years, the concept has become very well-known in Germany, and they see an increasing demand in the rest of Europe. “It is a concept with so many opportunities and benefits for producers as well as for retail and end consumers,” says Klaus Gaumann from Selecta one. And recently, they added new additions for next season, namely four ornamental aromatics, two Thymus (Rose Beauty and Purple Beauty) and two Origanum (Deco Purple and Deco Pink).”
From demand to concept
But how did it all start? “It started with talking to producers and observing the market. Selecta identified a great demand for mixed pots with foliage plants and flowering plants, bringing color into the late summer and autumn. As part of this, we were able to identify a trend assortment which included our perennial carnations Diantica, Carmen and Pillow, Heuchera, Echinacea, Gentiana Luis Easy Blue, Leontopodium Vroni, Grasses, Lysimachia, Ajuga, Calocephalus, Santolina, Rosemary, Thyme, Sage, and Sedum. We wanted a program that could be produced by most of our customers but also enlarge our circle of possible producers and include Azerca production companies. “
According to Klaus, the possibilities for new mixtures are endless. “Selecta tests a lot of combinations so that they can give recommendations for plant combinations from perennials and pot carnations, grasses, herbs, and lavender, and whether producing single pots for mixed trays or whole layers, Twinni® or smaller trays and pots or mixed containers. Everyone can make their own mixes as they imagine. So any creative idea can be realized with Autumn Friends,” says Klaus.
For growers, retail, and end consumers
And benefits are recognized throughout the chain. “Whether single pots or mixed trays, both variants produce impressive results and with advantages for all involved. Producers are convinced by the short cultivation times and simple production conditions, which require less to no PGRs, and trade is delighted with attractive, colorful, compact products with a long shelf life. Also, the concept meets the consumer trends and demands for insect-friendly, drought-tolerant, easy to maintain, mix & match, hardy, and long flowering plants. And thanks to the great variability, the entire price spectrum from entry-level to premium can be completely covered. Both the convenience-loving customer and the hobby gardener get their money’s worth with Autumn Friends.”
There are also variants in the product types, which is a great benefit for growers, he continues. “In addition to rooted cuttings, many components are also available as MiniRooter®, which recharge in their paper pots under optimal climatic conditions and continue to grow rapidly after processing in the pot. Before shipping, they are optimally hardened and perfectly conditioned. An air-permeable carton optimized for transport stability provides good protection. Selecta customers get a unique product for a quick start of growth after potting. The right choice of product type significantly influences labor and energy costs, cultivation time, and area productivity.”
MiniRooter Leontopodium Vroni
“For retail, this means an extended sales period until late autumn, convenience products with long shelf life, and space-saving but attractive and eye-catching presentation on POS possible.” Selecta also supplies point-of-sale materials (POS material), such as hanging labels and sticks, and they can support the displays with banners and posters in individual sizes.
No limits to creativity
With the exception of single pots and some Twinni, there are no ready mixtures available for orders because Selecta doesn’t want to limit the creativity of their customers. “Every customer has different conditions. But we have a lot of experience with crops and varieties that fit perfectly together. We keep on testing mixes under different conditions to make sure we can provide quality and can always meet demands with new innovative mixes like the new ornamental aromatics mixes. Because of this, we can advise our customers extensively and individually. Everything is possible – that’s what Autumn Friends is all about,” Klaus concludes.
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