27 February 2023
Plants For Europe Limited, an independent plant breeders’ agent from the UK, celebrates twenty years of trading this month. The company was incorporated on 12 February 2003.
Established and owned by Graham Spencer, Plants For Europe Limited works with plant breeders to evaluate their new plants, protect their intellectual property, manage licensing and marketing, and collect royalties from growers.
Graham said: “The business started in such a small way. I was lucky enough to be entrusted with some very good plants at the beginning from excellent breeders, including Spiraea Walberton’s® Magic Carpet/WALBUMA from David Tristram and Nemesia Amelie/FLEURAME from Martine Tellwright. These plants provided the foundation of the business – it gave me something to build from.”
From the small beginnings, the business has grown steadily. Plants For Europe Limited now manages more than 400 plant varieties from more than 60 breeder clients.
Graham continued: “There are two main strengths to our business. First is that we work with excellent independent breeders who have developed some of the best new varieties that the market has seen in the last twenty years. The second is that we have built great relationships with growers around the world, especially in our core markets of the European Union and United Kingdom. This has allowed us to place the finest quality plants with the finest quality growers with whom we have good relationships built on trust.”
Euphorbia Ascot Rainbow is the best-selling variety in the PFE portfolio, developed by David Glenn in Australia. Ajuga Black Scallop/BINBLASCA from Mike Tristram and Geum Totally Tangerine from Tim Crowther have also been big successes for PFE. But there are also many other exciting new plants coming through for 2023 and future seasons.
Graham highlighted Sambucus nigra Laced Up/SNR1292 from Phoenix Ornamentals as a plant that is going to be popular in future seasons. “This is a great plant for modern gardens, with striking foliage and an excellent habit, better than older upright Sambucus varieties. We now have good quantities in production and expect excellent availability in 2024 and beyond.”
Graham also picked out the GardenZest™ herb programme from GardenGenetics as an interesting project. “We have not seen a broad controlled breeding programme for herbs until now. Rick Grazzini at GardenGenetics has been really focused on developing varieties with improved taste, improved appearance, and improved production qualities. We particularly like his new sage, Salvia officinalis IntenseSage – it has a great plant habit, is really tasty, and shows outstanding tolerance of downy mildew, and has been launched by Elsner PAC this year.”
What is the future for Plants For Europe Limited? Graham says: “We expect to continue to launch some of the best new plants to growers over the next few years. We are also expanding our procedural representation activities, managing intellectual property rights applications in the UK and EU for variety owners who do not have the knowledge, skills or facility to do that themselves – this has become especially important since Brexit, as variety owners outside the UK now need a representative based in the United Kingdom before they can apply for Plant Breeder’s Rights.”