The Current

Flower's legal battle reveals the ugly side of the blooming business

The lawsuit is over who has the rights to a strain of the calibrachoa plant — one company has named it "Candy Bouquet," the other company has called it "Holy Moly."
The lawsuit, launched earlier this month, pits Candy Bouquet (L) and Holy Moly (R) against each other, highlighting the flower industry's impending financial troubles. (Westflowers/Proven Winners/Facebook)

As you shop for flowers this long weekend, surrounded by the bright colours and fresh scents, it may be easy to forget the international business behind it all. However, a recent legal case has brought the troubles facing the flower industry to the forefront.

A lawsuit over who has the rights to a strain of the calibrachoa plant — one company has named it Candy Bouquet, the other company has called it Holy Moly — has shed light on how divisive the gardening industry can be. While the details of the case are unknown, the annual U.S. sales for the flowers were almost $45 million in 2014.

It looks like a turf war between two plant programs ... the numbers are getting large, and it's become a brand business and there's a lot of power. And that's how this happens.- Todd Baker

Looking at Holy Moly and Candy Bouquet, it can be hard to tell them apart, which will apparently play a role should the suit progress in a public manner. As for what this means for your flower-buying, that's still to be seen — though it could affect what your local nursery has to offer.

"The cutthroat decisions have been made by the time things hit the retail end, and a flashy name will sell product," Ed Lawrence adds.

Guests in this segment:

  • Todd Baker, tree farmer, an owner of Baker's Nursery and a former president of the Canadian Ornamental Plant Foundation.
  • Ed Lawrence, author, garden expert on CBC's Ontario Today's gardening phone-in show for 34 years and former chief horticultural specialist at the governor general's residence.

Can you tell the difference between Candy Bouquet and Holy Moly?

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This segment was produced by The Current's Ines Colabrese ​and John Chipman.