The Suntory Collection, marketed in the United States by Jackson & Perkins Wholesale, Inc. (JPW), will now be offering unrooted cuttings to eight select brokers. The cuttings will come from Plant Source International in Cuernavaca, Mexico, and Oro Farms in Guatemala.
"All of this time, Suntory has been very reluctant to get into the unrooted cuttings business," said Lou Aguirre, marketing and license manager for JPW. "We had always maintained that the only way to go to market was to sell rooted liners using the Suntory licensed-propagator network. However, we recognized that other competing breeders have made their varieties available as unrooted cuttings in the market. We had lost a lot of sales, especially with the larger growers. We decided it was about time to develop a program while at the same time we can ensure quality and consistency."
Twenty varieties of plants have been selected, all of which are older than four years. A minimum order will be 5,000 cuttings, which restricts the offer to volume growers. The unrooted cuttings will be available through the following brokers:
"I think in the past, rooted liners were very difficult to find, simply because we didn't have enough rooting facilities. Today, we have 23 propagators in North America, making rooted liners more easily available," said Aguirre. "Nevertheless, I think the unrooted cuttings will be very easy to get simply because we've forecasted a very high production to anticipate the demand. It's a lot easier to control."
The program was designed to not only make Suntory products available to a wider audience in the North American market, but to also protect the Suntory licensed propagators of rooted liners, while meeting the needs of the large wholesale growers. "There are many new species that are coming out every year that hopefully will continue to generate a lot of interest in Suntory products," said Aguirre. "We are protecting the new varieties that are probably the most exciting varieties. They are exciting and creative and different from other products on the market. There is a need for the newer varieties to become well established. Naturally, they need a maturation process. After 3-4 years, we will know if they are going to be standard items."
According to Aguirre, the eight licensed brokers will be the ones selling the cuttings to the growers. The brokers will take the orders from the growers and send them to JPW. In turn, JPW will process the orders and tell the production facility to ship them.
When selecting which brokers to use, Aguirre said many factors were considered: geography, finances, the quality of the organizations and the competing products that the organizations currently represent. "There might have been other brokers we could have gone with, but maybe the conflict of product representation was too strong, so we decided not to," said Aquirre.
The 20 Suntory varieties offered in this program are:
The varieties will be available in early fall of this year. Aguirre expects orders to start shipping out by week 50, but brokers have started taking orders. "I believe this program will enhance Suntory product sales, not only at the unrooted level, but also at the rooted level," assured Aguirre. "The unrooted cuttings program will increase the sales to larger growers who would normally not buy Suntory products. At the same time, it will hopefully enhance the value of rooted liners."