J. Berry Nursery and Genetics introduced the newest addition to the Hollywood Hibiscus series at Cultivate’21. First Lady is a prolific bloomer with fantastic disease and insect resistance, according to Tamara Risken, J. Berry’s marketing director.
First Lady joins the Hollywood lineup and will be available at retail in 2022.
“The flowers are a bit smaller here at the show because they’re not houseplants, but she blooms nonstop in the Texas heat and in South Florida she’s a grower’s favorite,” Risken says.
The Hollywood Hibiscus line keeps expanding, with 14 “personalities” available currently and more in the pipeline, including First Lady and The Hustler, which is also planned for a 2022 release. Jim Berry, owner of Texas-based J. Berry Nursery and Genetics, keeps coming up with new ideas. However, each “star” that joins the Hollywood Hibiscus line is the result of a team effort, Risken says. Research and development at J. Berry makes recommendations, Berry consults with sales and marketing on ideas, as well. Then from a production standpoint, the nursery sets up trials with its licensed growers and contract growers.
“We get a lot of people on the phone and ask their thoughts because something that performs well in Texas may not perform in South Florida,” Risken says.
J. Berry has growers in Florida, Texas, the West Coast and even Hawaii, where hibiscus run rampant. Risken says their no. 1 producer for the year was Native Farms in Hawaii. The grower provided feedback that even near the jungle, with every known pest and tons of humidity the Hollywood Hibiscus are successful and popular.
“Hollywoods are thriving and customers are paying top-dollar for them in Hawaii even though hibiscus is everywhere,” Risken says. “People want the Hollywoods because of the flowers, the fanciness, the neatness. That speaks to our grower maintaining our quality standards and doing a fantastic job with the presentation at retail. It’s a combination of effort the genetics, the growing, the marketing.”