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Flower Fight: the Scandalous $45 Million Little Petunia Case

  • German company sues rival over patents for petunia-like annual
  • Garden products generated $6.6 billion for Home Depot in 2015

Forget for a minute that the flower industry sells beauty and fragrance. Underneath its elegance is a business as cutthroat as Game of Thrones with mulch.

Take the case of the Candy Bouquet, a pretty, magenta-and-yellow flower that resembles a petunia. It was developed by a German grower, Westhoff Vertriebsgesellschaft MBH, that says it was on the verge of selling the variety to Home Depot Inc. when a rival swooped in, copied the plant and spread lies about Westhoff in order to win the business of the world’s largest home-improvement chain.