20 July 2024
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 Ball Colegrave

Ball Colegrave (formerly Colegrave Seeds), is the UK’s leading wholesale distributor of seed and plants to commercial growers and local authorities and was founded in 1962 by the late David Colegrave and his wife Nancy.

David pioneered with the introduction of the first F1 Hybrids to the UK market, a significant turning point in the history of ornamental bedding plants.

The company soon became a shining example of a successful family owned horticultural business that grew from a humble garage operation in village of West Adderbury selling packets of flower seeds to growers, to becoming the UK’s largest supplier of flower seed and plants to commercial growers and local authorities.

In 1968, the production and distribution of seedlings began. Over the years as further technologies became available, Colegrave Seeds lead in the supply of UK grown plug plants to Growers, another significant milestone in the evolution of modern bedding plant production.

Soon the Colegrave name had become synonymous with high quality seeds and young plants (and more latterly also from vegetative propagation). The company was now introducing market changing varieties which quickly developed as household names, such as the Winter Flowering Pansy F1 Universal in 1979. Today this variety has been superseded by the superior genetics and high performance variety; Pansy F1 Matrix™.

On June 6th 2001, Ball Horticultural Company, a third generation family company owned by Anna Ball, joined forces with The David Colegrave Group to deliver an even greater level of service and products to growers, retailers and local authorities in the UK.

As a result of the merger, Ball Colegrave is supported by an even stronger team of breeders across the world producing the most commercially viable and innovative plants the industry has ever seen.

Ball Colegrave has a fast, fluid and flexible approach to the changing UK market place with new innovative varieties, retail ideas and quality service. The company is always at the cutting edge of the industry; from the introduction of the F1 hybrid bedding plant to the UK, paving the way with the first commercial plug plants and seedlings, to innovative retail ideas driving margins back into its customers business’.

"Unlike other international companies, we are able to develop our own local strategies utilising our worldwide knowledge base. Ball Colegrave is passionate about and dedicated to the ornamental bedding industry. Quality and service drive our company since we know just how important that is to all our customers, no matter how big or small their business are.” says Sandy Shepherd, MD Ball Colegrave.

Ball Colegrave offers a comprehensive assortment of award winning, high performance, and commercially viable Annuals, Biennials, Perennials and Vegetables as seed, plugs, liners and bare-roots. These include world renowned favourites such as Viola F1 Sorbet™ XP and Petunia Wave®, innovative game-changing varieties for example the world’s first black Petunia Black Velvet, unique colour breaks such as Osteospermum Serenity™ Blue Eyed Beauty, the world first seed-raised trailing Pansy F1 Cool Wave™ which brings a whole new dimension to the Autumn and Spring market for baskets and containers, and more recently New Guinea Impatiens F1 Divine™ and Calibrachoa F1 Kabloom™; outstanding examples of ‘first in class’ seed raised varieties which traditionally could have only been raised from vegetative means.



Today, Ball Colegrave remains one of the only companies who still rigorously trial new breeding lines in both commercial trials and on its own Trial Grounds facility in West Adderbury, Oxfordshire. According to Marketing Manager Stuart Lowen “the possible list of innovative new plant products is exhaustive. This trialling process is critical prior to introducing a new product into the market. It is imperative that we fully understand potential new varieties and have full confidence of their performance under UK growing conditions. We want our customers to experience a new plant variety which not exceeds their expectations but also have a full understanding of its cultural needs and retail opportunities”.

Ball Colegrave prides itself in its innovation, service and support to its customers and the whole ornamental bedding plant industry. The company’s Summer Showcase hosted on its Trial Grounds is considered amongst the best in the world, receiving over 2,000 visitors every Summer from Growers, Retail Plant Buyers, Parks, Landscapers and Gardening Press. During the 3 week event the company showcases many of its existing top performing varieties in inspirational and stimulating patio and garden displays along with presentations of new varieties and experimental lines.

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