Peter Orum began his plant-producing journey more than 40 years ago, when he started rooting thousands of cuttings in his friend’s backyard alongside his wife, Irma. Together, they worked diligently to develop a company that would be known for both its high-quality plants and service to the consumer.
The hard-working and determined duo founded Midwest Groundcovers in 1969, with the intention of selling to local landscapers, nurseries and independent garden centers. Because of their diverse consumer base, expansion became inevitable. Today, Midwest Groundcovers has five locations throughout Illinois and Minnesota.
The business model of the company was developed to respond to the unique requirements of these niches. “We have really focused on the needs of landscapers and the independents from delivering directly to their job sites to having no minimum requirements on orders,” says Matthew Fredrickson, Virgil Product Manager at Midwest Groundcovers.
One plant that landscapers continue to turn to is hydrangeas because of their blooms and shade tolerance. Midwest Groundcovers has developed an entire platform around this product line experimenting with several varieties to determine what worked best for their end consumer. “It is the one product group that, despite adding more varieties, we are not losing market share in the older varieties. We just continue to sell more hydrangeas,” Fredrickson says.
An Endless Summer Network Grower, Midwest Groundcovers added Bloomstruck to their product line in 2014 to further develop this platform. In the past two years, Fredrickson has noticed that this particular variety has been very responsive to the needs of their landscaper audience.
“Since growing Bloomstruck, we’ve noticed that this line seems to bloom more reliably and provide the mophead flower type that customers are looking for,” Fredrickson says.
Showcasing red-purple stems and dark green leaves with red petioles, Bloomstruck enhances a landscape both in and out of bloom. In addition, its heat tolerance and disease resistance allows landscapers to provide an attractive and low-maintenance crop to their end consumers.
During production, Bloomstruck performs well, Frickrickson reports. “When forcing Bloomstruck in the greenhouse, the habit is more compact,” he says. “I don’t worry about it getting stretchy or overgrown like some of the other hydrangeas.”
Midwest Groundcovers continues to promote Bloomstruck to their landscapers in a variety of methods, including planting it in their display garden and showcasing it during their Illinois Summer Field Day.
“The overall reception of the product has been positive,” Fredrickson says. “It is a reliable product with a nice color and beautiful blooms.” — Anne-Marie Hardie