Imara xdr

The Story of Genetic Disease Resistance in Breeding and Disease Management

Disease resistant genetics have become a hot topic in today’s horticulture industry. Two major diseases have had a considerable influence on the market: Impatiens Downy Mildew (IDM) and aerial phytophthora in Vinca.

Dr. Alician Carlson and Dr. Jamie Gibson tell you more about the realities and expectations of disease resistant genetics, the basics of responsible disease management practices and the place for non-resistant genetics.

Realities and expectations of disease resistant genetics

Imara XDR White

Our breeders at Syngenta Flowers have worked hard for decades to develop tools to combat those diseases and on how to make genetics more resistant to diseases like the ones named above. The fundamental understanding that there is no “silver-bullet” solution, but with the introduction of more resistant genetics we have another tool in the toolbox.

Cora XDR trial

It is important to remember the difference between resistance and immunity. Immunity means that the plant is not subject to attack or infection by a specified pest. Resistant plants are still (lightly) affected by the disease but overcome it and restrict the development of the pest.

The basics of responsible disease management practices

XDR trial

For resistant genetics to thrive, proper use of chemistries is necessary. But it is crucial to understand the pathogens that a crop was specifically bred to resist and that “disease resistance” does not imply a resistance to all diseases it could get infected by.

XDR landscaping Gilroy

Plant pathologists emphasize that to properly fight a disease; you must diagnose the specific pathogen first. This practice not only allows you to choose the proper chemical treatment but also the most appropriate genetics to produce.

A place for non-resistant genetics

Cora XDR landscape

We must realize that non-resistant genetics will keep having a place in our industry. They offer a wide range of colors, can be grown where the disease pressure is not as severe, and are an economical option for growers. 

Imara XDR landscape

From packs for garden borders and landscape beds, to hanging baskets for home gardeners, the proper use of fungicides from propagation to finish, are essential to each consumer’s success. And with appropriate rotation tools, non-resistant genetics can still perform in the landscape for many weeks providing consumer satisfaction.

Recognizing the achievements, but always striving for improvements


The Syngenta Flowers Team is proud of large achievements in advanced disease resistant breeding and has gained attention in trials around the globe. Imara® XDR Impatiens first launched in the European market and sold out immediately at retail outlets around the United Kingdom.

taspo awards 2019 best breeding product imara

Consumers were “taking back the shade” and were delighted to have a garden favorite on the retail shelves again. Imara® XDR Impatiens won the 2019 TASPO Award of the Year for Best Breeding Product and it was awarded for Best Ornamental Plant Introduction—Bedding by Horticulture Week Business Award in London in June 2019. Cora® XDR is currently the industry-leading disease resistant vinca around the globe.

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