Seville Farms started out as a perennial grower, providing plants to Lowe’s and small grocery chains throughout Texas and western Arkansas. Over time, the company outgrew its first facility in Mansfield, Texas, and established a corporate office in Fort Worth as it continued adding more production facilities.
As Seville Farms grew its reputation for producing quality perennials, and as its relationship with Lowe’s solidified, it also began producing annuals. Now, though the annuals business is bigger than perennials, corporate head grower John Wilson says sales and demand are growing faster for perennials.
Soon after Wilson started working at Seville four years ago, he recognized the need for forcing perennial production to meet this demand.
“The market in Texas is early, so we need to have perennials ready for market at the end of February,” he says. “Even though it might be warmer down here, you still have day length to deal with. We were using incandescent lights and some old sodium HID lights … for annual production, and we just didn’t have enough space for lights to do the [perennial] production we needed.”
Wilson turned to the lighting solution that he previously used to force trials when he was working at Pacific Plug & Liner in California: Beamflicker photoperiod control lights from PARsource, which use oscillating reflectors to broadcast high-pressure sodium light throughout the greenhouse.
“We looked at several options, and I felt that working with PARsource and the Beamflicker was the most economical solution to achieve what we needed,” Wilson says. “It wasn’t just the price of the light fixtures; it was the whole infrastructure that would be required. For example, to light the same square footage that Beamflicker was able to cover, I would have had to buy 10 times the number of LED fixtures.”
So, about three years ago, Seville Farm’s East Texas facility installed 70,000 square feet of Beamflicker lights in its cold frame greenhouses.
“Any perennials that we want to bring to market in March and April, we use the Beamflicker lights to help bring them to market early,” Wilson says. “We’re using them as night interruption, primarily, to get more plants ready, when we need them. I’m selling one variety of leucanthemum [in] week five, and I’m selling coreopsis [in] week seven. We couldn’t do that without the lights.”
Wilson says the quality of these lights far exceeds incandescent lights — which can cause plants to stretch, requiring more PGRs to compensate. “The Beamflicker is a better quality light that doesn’t affect the stretch of the plants quite as much,” he says. Wilson adds that he has PARsource in mind for future upgrades.
“We had a wind storm this spring that took down about 2.5 acres of greenhouses, so we’re getting ready to rebuild those,” he says. “I think the following year, we’ll probably look at adding lights to that area, and certainly Beamflicker would be my first choice to install there.”