Welcome to Plants For Europe, a truly independent plant breeder's agent, representing the finest garden plants from breeders around the world to growers across the whole of Europe, and beyond.

Check out the latest news stories below, or use the links on the right to find out more about Plants For Europe, our portfolio of plants, plant breeders' rights and what to do if you have bred a new plant.

APHA, the UK Animal and Plant Health Agency, has issued new guidance to professionals in horticulture (growers, retailers, landscapers, designers – in fact, anyone who trades in plants) regarding the updated regulations concerning the movement of plants that are hosts for Xylella fastidiosa. The list of hosts is being regularly revised and updated and includes several plants that we work with, including Cistus, Lavandula, Rosmarinus and Hebe.

This bacterium represents a major threat to European horticulture and agriculture. We need to be vigilant and proactive.

You can find the APHA information by clicking here.

Graham will be at IPM Essen from 26 to 29 January. Contact us if you would like to arrange a meeting.

IPM Essen is the world’s biggest trade show for the horticultural industry, featuring 1600 exhibitors from 50 nations. It uses the whole of the Messe Essen exhibition centre – so you’re unlikely to be able to see it in a day! It’s fun, hard work and the best opportunity to meet the leaders in global horticulture all in one place.

Display by Kientzler at IPM 2015

Display by Kientzler at IPM 2015

The European Parliament today debated the conflict, potential or existing, between Patents and Plant Variety Rights. The discussion was driven by a proposed motion in the Parliament, which you can read here.

The excellent IPKat website has some analysis here, although it is worth noting that it would not be limited to fruit, but apply to all plants, including ornamentals.

Some incorrect information is being bandied about by campaigners and the media. The patents that are now being granted apply to variety traits (characteristics), not to varieties themselves. This is a critical distinction between PVR (which apply to varieties) and patents.

For example: Breeder A develops the world’s first blue daffodil.

As it currently stands, Breeder A has two options:

  1. Take out Plant Variety Rights. The PVR applies to the particular blue daffodil variety that Breeder A has developed. A competitor breeder can now exploit the breeder’s exemption within PVR law and develop further blue daffodil varieties by breeding from the original variety (provided that they are sufficiently distinct as to not be considered Essentially Derived Varieties [EDV]) or by reproducing the breeding process that Breeder A followed (which circumvents the EDV rules). Within a very short period of time, Breeder A’s new variety is subject to competition, even though Breeder A invested many years and considerable resources in developing the original new blue daffodil. Conversely, Breeder A does not have a monopoly, so other breeders can improve on the original blue daffodil by developing new varieties and can aid the consumer by creating competition in the market.
  2. Take a Patent in the blue petal colour trait in daffodil, even though it is the product of a natural biological process. This would give Breeder A a monopoly position and prevent anyone else from developing a daffodil with a blue petal colour, even if they did so independently. This would provide Breeder A with a good opportunity to commercially exploit their new variety and recoup their significant investment (an incentive to innovate) but would prevent anyone else from developing a competitor or improved variety (stifles the market; stifles innovation). There is currently no obligation on a patent holder to licence their patent to any other party. Also: patents are very expensive for the independent breeder, so they can’t get this level of protection for their own new developments.

So there are arguments for and against the use of patents. As it is, the deep-pocketed breeding companies (mainly in agricultural crops) are applying for large numbers of patents. They are beyond the budget of many smaller firms and independents. Additionally, these patents may prevent other breeders from developing new varieties if they possess a trait that is owned by a third party.

We expect to see this debate run and run. We also expect growing pressure for amendments to legislation, although that will be a long and tortuous process. For now, watch out for more and more patents.

Lavandula intermedia Olympia (l) and Lavandula angustifolia Blue Ice

Lavandula x intermedia Olympia (left) and Lavandula angustifolia Blue Ice at Downderry Nursery, July 2015

Whilst sorting through our photo library, we found this beautiful reminder of summer – Lavandula x intermedia Olympia (left) with Lavandula angustifolia Blue Ice. This photo was taken at Downderry Nursery in July this year. Olympia is one of the earliest intermedia varieties to flower, whilst Blue Ice is one of the last angustifolia types – so they make splendid bed-fellows, particularly with the striking contrast in flower colour. What you can’t tell from this photo is the super scent coming from the foliage and the gentle hum of bees working – lavenders are amongst the best plants for pollinators.

Both of these lavenders are in the PFE portfolio – contact us today for details of young plant suppliers for these varieties.

We are crazy with preparations for the Royal Horticultural Society’s Chelsea Flower Show, which starts next week.

We will be launching three new varieties at the show. In alphabetical order, these are:

Pyracantha Golden Paradise in flower

Pyracantha Golden Paradise in flower

Pyracantha Golden Paradise – bred by Andy Parker from Essex, this is the world’s first golden-leaved fire thorn. We are launching this in conjunction with Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants and plants will be available from them and from Coblands Nurseries. Wholesale supplies of young plants will be from Seiont Nurseries.

We’ve set up  a dedicated web site at http://www.goldenparadise.info

There is also a Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/goldenparadiseplant and we’re using a Twitter hashtag #goldenparadise


Rehmannia Walberton's Magic Dragon

Rehmannia Walberton’s Magic Dragon

Second in the list is Rehmannia Walberton’s Magic Dragon – bred by David Tristram at Walberton Nurseries, West Sussex. This is a splendid garden plant, a sterile hybrid between R.elata and R.glutinosa (another world first). This is also being launched by Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants. Plants are also being supplied to selected garden centres and retailers by the Farplants Group.

Website: http://www.magicdragonplant.info

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/magicdragonplant

Twitter: #magicdragon


Salvia Love and Wishes individual flower

Salvia Love and Wishes individual flower

Last, but certainly not least, is Salvia Love and Wishes – bred by John Fisher in New South Wales, Australia. This is the third in the Wish Collection series of Salvia and has wonderful claret red flowers. It is a perfect partner for the existing varieties, Salvia Wendy’s Wish and Salvia Ember’s Wish (PDF files). This launch is in conjunction with William Dyson of Dyson’s Nurseries, who is returning to Chelsea after a long absence. Plants will also be available from J Parker’s and from garden centres and nurseries nationwide. Wholesale supplies will be by Delamore and Florensis.

Web: http://www.loveandwishes.info

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/salvialoveandwishes

Twitter: #loveandwishes


All three of these plants have been entered in the new plant competition at the show. We will find out the winner on Monday…

Graham will be at IPM Essen for all next week, meeting licensees, potential licensees, breeders, local territory agents and other contacts. Contact us if you would like to meet him there.

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