A daylily is just a daylily, right?
If you've ever wondered how we got (neck-deep) into the daylily business, click here to learn the story behind the most successful daylily branding program in the United States.
Are any of your brands franchised?
Yes. All our brands originated here. To expand the reach of these brands we franchise nurseries of similar size and ideals to produce our brands for other markets. They are: Sepers Nursery (NJ), Walters Gardens (MI), Valleybrook Gardens (BC, Canada) and Valleybrook Gardens (ONT, Canada).
Are you a publicly traded company?
No. We frequently get inquiries from individuals wishing to invest. We’ve chosen to stay family owned and operated. Going public would generate massive amounts of cash to feed new growth, however we are of a mind to grow at a controlled pace to maintain quality control. We also the need to retain the ability to adapt quickly. Change, when needed most, comes too slowly in a publicly traded environment. Three generations of our family are fully involved, controlling the voting stock.
Are you considering new plants?
Always. We continuously introduce new plants. We annually bring in samples of new plants from hybridizers and companies around the globe. We have a capacity to evaluate around 100 new varieties each year. Our sister affiliates can evaluate an additional 3-400. Although nearly all these plants come to us with promises of “new and improved”, well, you’ve been there and done that, and so have we. We may find that 25-75 of them are worthy of pursuit (have merit, have viable commercial potential, and don’t require a doctorate degree in biological physics to grow them).
Are your employees paid minimum wage?
Our people use wit and ambition and we reward them accordingly with wages in a different league from minimum wage. And they earn it. In addition to their hourly pay (or sometimes weekly salary), they get opportunities to participate in numerous bonus systems. Many produce 25-40% above their regular earnings in bonuses. Their standard of living outpaces the county averages. Come check out our parking lot. It may not be filled with Mercedes and Bentleys: neither will you find any junk.
BlewLabel® Perennials Pruning Guide
Click here for a quick-and-easy reference guide to trimming most of the perennials we grow.
BlewLabel® Shrubs Pruning Guide
Click here for instructions on how care for your BlewLabel® Shrubs throughout the year.
Getting the most out of your butterfly garden
Trying to build the ultimate butterfly haven? Click here for a helpful sheet of butterfly how-to.
Caring for tender bulbs
If you want to save your tender bulb plants for another season click here to learn how.
Crapemyrtles for the North
The summertime beauty of Crapemyrtles is no longer exclusive for the South. With care and this guide, you too can enjoy this landscape staple throughout much of the U.S.
A crash course in fertlization
If the fine art of fertilzation eludes you, give a quick look here, to learn the ins-and-outs of feeding your landscape.
Daylilies and dormancy
If you have ever struggled with certain daylily varieties from other parts of the country, a quick read of Daylilies & Dormancy will help take the unknown out of the equation.
Do you do all your own propagation?
We used to propagate all our own “starter plants” (transplants, plugs, liners, seedlings). Much has changed. Sometimes we were unable to keep up with demand so we began purchasing starters. Second, the explosion of new varieties fuels the marketplace. To get access, we turn to the propagation nurseries that get hold of them first. Finally, much of the best new plant material is being patented. A patented plant cannot be propagated by anyone except a propagator specially licensed to propagate it. In order for the patent holder to monitor the royalty money associated with a patent, they generally don’t license production nurseries like us: they license strict “propagation nurseries”. So if we want these new plants we must buy the starter from the licensed propagator, paying them two fees: one for the plant and a second one for the royalty. Only then are we legally entitled to grow the plant to maturity.
Do you have any "causes"?
We strongly support and contribute to several organizations. Most notably would be the Salvation Army, and on a local level we support our volunteer fire and emergency services. Monies to these organizations are not squandered on administrative fees or political agendas.
Do you have testing grounds for new products?
We use our production facilities as well as our home gardens (that real-world view). Here we can see both how they will grow in our production setting and how they will perform for the average gardener. Beyond that, we also work with (and travel to) many different trial facilities around the country. On an annual basis, our product development team travels to 10-12 different gardens stretched out coast-to-coast.

It should be noted, though, that if we see a plant in, say, Illinois or California, we will often trial it again on the East coast to ensure gardening success. (however, if it’s growing poorly in California, or as we like to call it “Magical Fantasy Land for Plants”, it’s probably not going to grow well anywhere)
Do you provide housing for your alien employees?
No. 99% of our employees are permanent residents. We encourage them to purchase homes of their own and become active members of their communities.
Do you sell retail?
For a number of reasons, no. First, it’s not our niche. We’re like a manufacturer with facilities spread over hundreds of acres. We have no assemblage of product where you can look quickly at one of everything, making comparisons and inquiries. There are no personnel dedicated to giving tours or fielding discussions over the myriad of features of each variety.

We make our living by loading thousands of plants on trailers, daily, based on appointments set in motion months in advance. You can’t walk into the Green Giant factory and buy a can of peas: the same principle applies here. As a final point, we don’t sell retail because we have no wish to compete with our network of dealers: those are the garden centers, farm markets and landscape centers.
Do you use chemicals in the production process?
Yes. Many techniques and materials we employ are of organic or natural origin. Where necessary, we use scientific tools, too. In certain situations, on a commercial scale, chemicals remedies are our only believable options. We follow university-proven recommendations and environmental regulations governing plants in a recovery phase. The expenditures for plant remedies evolved no differently than that of human health care; prices have gone through the roof. Today’s growers don’t throw money at plants for fun. Administering pills, sprays, dips, drenches or injections are time consuming and terribly expensive. We consider each situation case by case, and take such action if and when it is necessary.

In recent years, strives have been made in using beneficial biological controls for the care of our products. Though these are not an end-all solution for plant health, they are a safe and effective part of our pest and disease management.
General plant definitions and terminology
What's a sub-shrub? What makes a plant deciduous? This quick guide will give you the groundwork for some basis botanical knowledge.
Growing awesome Azalea
Growing the perfect Azalea takes a bit of care and finesse. Click here for the definitive guide on spring flowering perfection.
How do you advertise?
Our company name is Centerton, which has little meaning to anyone outside of the 150 people who live in that village a mile up the road. So, we advertise our brands (rather than our company name). Our ads go seasonally through publications targeted to the American gardening consumer. We also utilize banner ads on websites such as Real Simple, Better Homes & Gardens, and Martha Stewart Living. Within the trade, we have advertisements in Garden Center Magazine and Today's Garden Center.
How do you define proper watering?
Tough question. I do know the way most people water is not enough at a time and too often. Shallow, frequent bursts of watering encourage stress-susceptible surface roots and discourage deep rooting. Deep rooting is what’s needed to weather the inevitable extremes. When you need to water, water deeply, then allow the roots a several-day opportunity to reach for it. Here’s what I’m inclined to do:
  • For shrubs and established beds apply ¾ to 1" every five to seven days.
  • For turf, shoot for ½ to ¾" every four to seven days.
  • Roses like water, however they don’t like their foliage wet for hours in succession. Water by soaker hoses, drip lines or any source where water can be directed to the roots (versus spraying tops).
Of course, I adjust these rates accordingly for rainfall.
How do you handle water management?
Our water comes from wells. What does not go to plants and surface recharge is runoff into a series of canals and retention ponds. Here the water is aerated, filtered, and then finally passed through a municipal-grade UV treatment machine. The result is clean recycled water that can be back-fed into our irrigation system to supplement our well water. At full capacity, we can store around 5.5 million gallons of water. During cooler parts of the year, we can operate for weeks on end without using any well-water.
How do you manage to ship damage-free plants?
Prior to putting it to use, each trailer we buy gets quite a bit of time and investment in retrofitting to our needs. We build and install special shelves, cages and load-locking mechanisms to preclude stacking, and to keep our products safe and secure. Many of our local deliveries are made on removable rolling carts that are specifically designed to carry our plant material, ensuring they arrive at the store in the same condition as when they left our farm.
How far do you ship?
This facility presently ships to thirty-two states on the eastern side of the U.S. Naturally, the Mid Atlantic and New England regions account for the highest concentration; however, we are regularly delivering trucks into the upper Midwest and as far south as Texas and Georgia.
How many people do you employ?
As of this writing we have in the neighborhood of one hundred employees, most of them full time. About five are administrative, five are department managers and fifteen assistant or field supervisors. The balance, obviously, is labor for order processing, loading, materials processing, construction, pruning and spacing, potting, propagation and all the other duties it takes to run an agricultural business.
How should I water new plantings?
New plantings are the most critical because their roots are not interfaced with the surrounding soil. Saturate the bed within an hour of installation. Re-saturate within 48 hours. Then soak with 1 to 2” every 4-5 days. Do this for three weeks, then back off to a strict schedule of 1” every five days until season’s end.
Hydrange color and pH
Our most-asked question: how to I change the color of my Hydrangeas. Look not further than this guide for all your answers.
Pruning broadleaf evergreen shrubs
Broadleaf evergreens can by a bit finicky when it comes to proper pruning. Click here for a quick tutorial for broadleaf evergreen success.
Pruning hydrangeas
If you run into issues of your Hydrangea not blooming, and you believe it may be a pruning issue, this guide will help take the mystery out of proper Hydrangea care.
Pruning roses
So you bought a rose, installed it, enjoyed its flowers . . . now what? Our guide to pruning roses is the perfect place to start.
Pruning vines
Getting tangled up in vines? Sort through the mess with our guide to pruning vines.
Rose planning and care made easy
Before you make your plans for the world's finest rose garden, take a moment to read a quick tutorial on rose planning and care. It'll save you time, money, and effort!
Should I change how and what I plant by the seasons?
There are some rare products that are season-specific but for the most part, the following rules apply. Each season can be managed through it pluses and minuses.
  • Spring minuses: cold soil not ideal for root exploration while warm air encourages fast top growth. Spring pluses: usually ample soil moisture and a long season ahead to establish roots. Spring success action: If normal spring rains cease, begin watering to assure establishment. Fertilize normally.
  • Summer minuses: heat and usually less than ample soil moisture. Summer pluses: with container grown stock, instant color gardens can be installed. Summer success action: water plants religiously until established. Recommended 2-3” per week for a couple weeks, then 1” per week thereafter. Fertilize but do so sparingly.
  • Fall minuses: minimal season left for root establishment. Fall pluses: warm soil encourages root exploration, cool temperatures discourage new top growth, usually ample soil moisture. Fall success action: stay with container grown stock so no root shock occurs. Do not fertilize.
There are thousands of varieties of perennials.  Why don't you grow them all?
Certain plants are a challenge to a degree they seem destined for failure. Some gardeners enjoy a challenge but most like success without outrageous amounts of fuss. Place me in the latter group: I love gardening and have other interests that demand my time, too. We grow an array of the best plants, some slightly demanding, but we choose not to grow items that fall into that “slim-chance-of-making-it” category. Why should we waste our time and your money? This isn’t the only answer but it’s reason enough. Surely, there are other plants we’ve yet to “discover”.
What are your philosophies on invasive plants?
It’s a relative term. Invasive where? A variety invasive in Florida could be the cutest plant in Pennsylvania. And many plants native to some part of the U.S. grow invasively in some states but not in others. So, I say it depends on what and where. Generalizing is an exercise of prejudice, no different than saying everyone in California is a card-carrying left wing extremist. Let’s look at the individuals, the facts and the details, and leave the generalizing to the screaming idiots of the conspiracy-theory school. Surely, if a certain plant gets placed on a state or federal “no-grow” list, we abide by the laws.
What are your philosophies on native plants?
We are for native plants. We are also for non-natives that perform responsibly in our part of the world. Some fanatics would like to legislate what we can and cannot plant. They are for strictly native plants. We have a problem with that concept. Limiting ourselves to non-natives is equivalent to saying only a certain kind of person should be allowed to live in this community. If we Americans had to eliminate non-natives we’d have to get rid of cats, dogs, tomatoes, potatoes, Hondas, Toyotas, and most of us! Let’s face it. We are citizens of a world community. Each nation has lots of good citizens and a few bad ones. As far as we’re concerned all people and plants that mind their manners are welcome here. I will add one more thing. There are natives that are pretty and natives that are pretty darned boring. If it isn’t appealing, people don’t want it in their yards. We don’t grow plants based on biased agendas: we grow plants that good people treasure and value, and leave the political schemes to others.
What chain stores do you sell to?
We sell through some family-owned multi-store markets however we are not currently selling to major chain stores. Most chains (or “big boxes” as they’re called in the industry) are in search of a different price structure, terms arrangement, and quality level than what we provide.
What do you do with employees in cold weather, or on rainy days?
We work anyway. Our people are tough. We supply rain suits, gloves, tools, whatever it takes and they keep right on moving. As opposed to an office lifestyle, our workdays range from maximum misery to picture-perfection. One thing for sure, it doesn’t get boring.
What is the educational background of the owners?
Ray Blew attended National Farm School College (now Delaware Valley University). Donald Blew has a Bachelor of Agribusiness, also from DVU. Robert Blew has a Bachelor of Agricultural Business Management from Penn State University. Amy Blew has a Bachelor of Communications from Loyola Marymount University.
What is the hardiness zone of your production area?
This region of NJ is one of contrast. Along coastal regions they are a zone 7b and we see zone 8 plants growing in isolated locales like Cape May. In the Pineland bog areas one can find cold pockets where frost in June and August is not unusual. Our Bridgeton facilities are 25 miles inland and west of the Delaware Bay, 45 miles east of the Atlantic and 60 miles north of Cape May. Although older maps show us as zone 7a, we are really a 6b. While most winters go to zero F, we can experience -15 to -20 degrees.
What is your biggest problem?
Wow, what a question! When you own a business like this you are required to be: a plumber, an electrician, a building contractor, an architect, a botanist, a biologist, a physicist, a psychiatrist, an artist, a typist, a writer, an accountant, a chemist, a mechanic, an engineer, a regulator, a designer and a communicator, just to name a few. I admit to doing only a few, and a couple of those, not very proficiently. That’s why I guess you could say that the biggest problem is finding enough of the right people. Can we attract a person . . .
. . . who can get out of bed in the morning, and be depended upon to be prepared?
. . . who is willing to work his or her way up to Vice President as opposed to starting out as one?
. . . who isn’t going to be devastated without the latest $500 cell phone with all the gadgets?
. . . who doesn’t freak out, get a headache and a stomach ache if we have to use the sprayer?
. . . who can put up with awful weather conditions?
. . . who can tolerate the incredible pace, as well as the occasional tedium?
. . . who can set an example for others?
. . . who, when he or she doesn’t understand, says so?
. . . who can listen? . . . who is reasonable? . . . who is fair? . . . who is honest?
. . . who does not have to be de-trained from bad habits or previous misdirection?
. . . who is not an extremist filled with anger and hatred? . . . who gets along with others?
. . . who will charge Hell with a bucket of cold water, when that’s what it takes to get the job done?

Seldom does anyone have all these qualities. However, to be successful, one must have at least some of them. Yes, I would say that the biggest problem / challenge / limitation of any business is its ability to get and keep the right people.
What kind of people do you employ?
At last count we have had employees from up to five continents and thirteen different nations. They come from all walks of life, education, races, and religions. The biggest single group is from the state of Jalisco, Mexico. Some people frown upon immigrants. We embrace them. Immigration is the history and the strength of America. America was established because of it and continues to prosper because of it.
What other associations or affiliates do you have?
We are members of the New Jersey Nursery & Landscape Association as well as AmericanHort (formerly the ANLA/OFA). We also have a few sister companies: BlewLine Nursery, a field producer of starter plants, and Centerton Engineering, a fabrication company specializing greenhouse and conveyor production.
What's happening in the world of plants?
As a whole, plants are getting better. For example, there are now 600 known hybridizers of just Daylilies in the world. The communication and exchange is huge so the gene pool has grown to mammoth dimensions. Sure, we see new plants introduced solely because some egotistical hybridizer wants his or her name attached to it. But for the most part the industry is encountering an explosion of broader variety, more vigor, stronger pest resistance, and overall better performance.
What's in your growing media (potting mix)?
In addition to enhancements and conditioners such as fertilizer, limestone, gypsum and micro-nutrients, we blend four structural elements. They are:
  • Peat Moss: We select a superior class of peat from Canada. Peat is an organic growing media, ideal for production of most plants. This peat has some inherent disease-fighting qualities.
  • Bark: This is aged ground pine bark fines. This aids in drainage, keeping the soil surface fairly dry and weed/disease free.
  • Sand: This custom harvested, local sand serves two purposes. It acts as a ballast, adding stability to the container growing system. Second, research shows soil mixes containing a specific percentage of natural local minerals (like this one) promote a quicker, better interface when planting into native soils. In lay terms, your plant will establish itself quicker because of this special mineral in our mix.
  • Rice hulls: These are used to aid in stabilizing the media blend and also have some water-holding qualities (similar to perlite). Also, they will not grab available nitrogen, making them a (fairly) chemically neutral additive.
When is a good time to plant?
If planting from container-grown stock (which ours is), anytime is good. Decades ago, most plants were grown in the ground (what we call field-grown). There was no way to avoid cutting off some roots during the digging process. So, the only appropriate time to plant was in the spring, allowing a full season to overcome the shock of root elimination. All that changed with the evolution of container-growing. Container grown plants can be installed without any disturbance or loss of root system.
Why do you have two Daylily lines?  What's the difference?
Our first Daylily brand was Trophytaker®. These are plants that, through research, proved better than average in bloom time, foliage quality, overall general beauty and performance. Average Daylilies bloom 21 days: for Trophytaker® we set a minimum standard of double that.
Later we “discovered” another unique group of Daylilies. These may not have giant beautiful blooms and broad bodacious foliage like Trophytakers, but they have this tendency toward a markedly longer bloom window. These became our Happy-Ever-Appster® Daylilies. Originally we called these “continuous bloomers” or “everbloomers”. In reality, these don’t bloom continuously. Our world has become a litigious place so for the sake of absolute accuracy we are now calling them multiple repeat bloomers. They bloom a few weeks, rest a week or so, bloom again, rest, bloom, and so on. The shortest bloom on an Appster is 63 days (or three cycles). Some varieties regularly exceed 100 days of bloom! Although we have recorded bloom time up to 130 days, that is under ideal conditions and is more than should be expected.
So, if you want a better than average performance Daylily with top beauty, go for Trophytaker®. If your main concern is maximum length of bloom time, go with Appster. Obviously, the multiple repeat bloom feature is a strong one. Much effort is being placed on attaching maximum beauty to maximum bloom time. When that is achieved, we will have the ultimate. We believe this will come to fruition over the next decade.
Why don't you sell via mail order?
Others are better suited than we are to processing mail orders. We work closely with White Flower Farm to sell our Daylilies in bare root form via mail order.
Why should I use mulch?
The ideal mulches are life based; that is, from living tissue (as opposed to rock or plastic) such as: wood chips, bark, root choppings, pine needles, grain straws, shredded leaves, and so on. Mulch forms an insulation blanket to conserve moisture, protect roots from summer’s heat and winter’s cold. Mulch also helps suppress weeds. Aside of good watering, mulching is the single most important thing you can do to assure garden success. Recommended depth is 2 to 4” on new plantings. Over time, mulch decomposes so refresh it annually by top dressing with another inch or so. There is such an array of products available, even in colors (that some think are ugly). To each his own, I guess. One of the most dramatic looking is the dyed black. A very deep, rich look.