Imara: award winner and ‘a piece of art in team effort’

Ton receives an Imara cake on behalf of the Imara team to celebrate team effort.

As a breeding team, you go for a product with heart and soul, Ton Groot knows. As a breeder, Ton is the founder of the Impatiens walleriana Imara series. The team effort was rewarded at the end of June, when Imara was awarded a Horticulture Week Business Award in London.

Imara has been awarded the best introduction to bedding by British Horticulture Business Week. Ton: "You yourself think the product is great, and when this is then confirmed, especially through a professional journal, this is very special."

Imara is a newcomer to the sector, but Ton and his team have been working on the plant for many years. "When downy mildew emerged in the 2000s, a new phase in breeding began: breeding for disease resistance", he says. "With the Xtreme and Accent Premium series, Syngenta Flowers was an important supplier in the Impatiens market and we wanted to create a solution for growers and consumers as quickly as possible."

Imara's blueprint
"As a breeder, I made a kind of blueprint to develop and introduce that solution", he says. “Of course, in this blueprint I needed colleagues from phytopathology, propagation, pollination, tissue culture and production. It is fantastic to see that everyone has done their best and successfully achieved results on his or her piece of the blueprint.”

Equally important was the help of the vegetable breeders at Syngenta. “In vegetable breeding, disease resistance breeding has long been a goal. We gratefully made use of that knowledge when we first encountered downy mildew in Impatiens walleriana. Our ‘vegetable colleagues’ assisted in the development of all required tests. This has contributed to being the first company in the world to market this breakthrough.”

Ton is proud of the collaboration with which ‘his’ Imara was established. “We have kept each other sharp and helped each other. This makes Imara a true piece of art in teamwork! I am honored that I, as the foreman of the Imara program, now receive a lot of positive feedback. I try to share that as much as possible with the team, because it is through their unconditional commitment that the blueprint has now become reality.”

The Imara series was introduced in Europe in 2018. The Impatiens walleriana, or the gardener’s favorite busy lizzy, was back. Imara is now available in ten colors and a mix, all of which are resistant to downy mildew. This means that the consumer can enjoy it until the first frost, whether the plant is in the shade or in half shade.

About the Horticulture Business Week Awards
The Horticulture Business Awards honors the achievements of companies active in production, garden retailing, landscaping and related industries. The goal is to ensure that these achievements are recognized by customers, customers and retailers in the industry. More information can be found on their website.