Heidi's® make Scandinavia shine

Altusried / Allgäu, July 2022

With a new product concept, the "Heidi's" brand is taking up an old myth in Scandinavia and bringing new luminosity to the late Scandinavian summer with its Erica gracilis.

In Scandinavia, there is a very special myth about the beautiful plant Erica gracilis: It is said that the Erica catches the last rays of summer sun and carries them inside before the darkness of winter comes.

"We see this myth as a very nice and positive association with the "Heidi's", which is why we developed the new product concept based on it," explains Sabine Hiedl, who is responsible for the "Heidi's" brand. The result is "SOLfanga - catch the sunlight!". "SOLfanga means 'sun catcher' in German. With the corresponding product image - a girl jumping through a heather field, trying to catch the last rays of sunshine with a landing net in her hand - we want to stimulate the emotional side of the end consumer's purchase decision," explains Sabine Hiedl further. For an all-round closed sales package, the "Heidi's SOLfanga" varieties are sold in a special concept pot with a sustainable stick label. Other advertising materials, such as posters, are available for active sales promotion.

The "Heidi's SOLfanga" product concept starts with the early-flowering varieties, which start flowering as early as mid-August. "We have been breeding early-flowering varieties for years," explains Lorenz Hiedl, one of the two breeders of the "Heidi's" brand. "With the classic Erica colors pink and red, our new early-flowering varieties 'Balu' and 'Calimero' are ideally suited for the Scandinavian market." Scandinavia is a traditional market for Erica gracilis. These have a comparable status there as callunas in Germany. "We see great market potential in Scandinavia for our "Heidi's" and hope that the customers will like the product concept as much as we do," says Sabine Hiedl.

The first dealers are already delivering "Heidi's SOLfanga" to Scandinavia for the first time this autumn.

All 14 "Heidi's" varieties are eye-catchers

The "Heidi's" are effective due to their large, intense color palette - both the colors of the flowers and the foliage. The range is wide: it ranges from classic pink and red to modern colors such as yellow and orange and even two-tone. The attractive bell-shaped flowers are colorful, magnificent, strong. With the beautiful interplay of flowers and foliage, the "Heidi's" promise customers variety and an intensive long-distance effect.

The "Heidi's" come across as young and wild. The "Heidi's" no longer have anything to do with the Ericen of previous generations, which were mainly planted in the cemetery. But what distinguishes the varieties from the previous generation? The main characteristics are the dense, flask-shaped structure with bright flowers, no growing through of the shoot tips, a longer flowering period and improved resistance to the weather in late autumn.

The added value of these plant properties not only ensures more efficient production for the producer, but also long-lasting pleasure for the consumer at home. The "Heidi's" shine in balcony boxes, tubs, beds and in floristry. Bees, bumblebees and butterflies also find their way there. The little flying animals get a colorfully set table and use the food provided.

Successful together

Another success factor of the "Heidi's" brand are the licensed partner companies in Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, Poland and the Czech Republic. The owners are free to decide which varieties best suit their local climatic conditions and their sales market.

To ensure the high quality of the plants, the brand owner Hiedl and the licensees work hand in hand. Hiedl is there to help with crop issues and gives tips on when to prune and fertilize. “We attach great importance to working together with constant exchange about cultural management. This ensures that the plants are of consistently high quality,” explains Vincent Hiedl, production manager.

In-house breeding of the "Heidi's" in the Allgäu

With great passion, Helmut Hiedl began breeding his first heather plants more than 25 years ago. The first successes in the field of Calluna came through a lot of commitment, so that Helmut Hiedl is now known as one of the four breeders of the Calluna brand "Gardengirls". However, Hiedl not only achieved success in the field of callunae, but also in the genus Erica gracilis. Longer flower life, brighter colors, more robust structure are just one of the many characteristics that distinguish the cultivated varieties from the free Gracilis varieties. The passion for breeding runs in the family and was also passed on to Lorenz Hiedl, Helmut's son, who now actively supports him with new ideas. “With us, breeding is still real manual work and time-consuming. It fascinates me how after all these years of painstaking work, something so beautiful, new and sometimes unprecedented can come into being,” enthuses Lorenz Hiedl.

In order to be up to date with the latest knowledge, Helmut Hiedl is in constant contact and exchange with other breeders. He is a member of various associations and societies, such as the special group Azerca, CIOPORA Germany and the German gene bank for plant collections. In the sub-network Erica – not hardy – its task is to look after and coordinate the collections of Erica in Germany in order to preserve genetic diversity.

The future looks pink and red

With the three success factors of breeding, decentralized production facilities and uniform brand design, the "Heidi's" brand is ideally positioned for the future. Due to the breeding work, the range is constantly expanding. From this, the decentralized production companies select the appropriate varieties. Finally, the uniform brand design supports marketing and ensures a high recognition value for consumers.

With the new product concept "Heidi's SOLfanga", the Scandinavian autumn shines in pink and red this year.