Also in this issue...
| GrowerTalks' Staff
>> Published Date: 7/26/2011
Last month, we covered highlights among the annuals at the Trials—after all, annuals are what started the show more than 40 years ago. This time, we look at some alternative crops as well as some potting media choices.
More perennials, please
1 Gaillardia Arizona Apricot (Benary)—This 2011 All-America Selections Flower Award winner blooms in the first year without vernalization and joins the other two Arizona varieties in the series. It features good branching and a unique bicolor yellow and apricot flower color. Zone 2-10.
2 Leucanthemum White Mountain (GreenFuse Botanicals)—GreenFuse is entering the perennials market with a small line of popular perennial varieties, including leucanthemum. Early and long blooming, White Mountain doesn’t need vernalization. The 5-in. flowers are a clear white.
3 Salvia nemerosa Sensation series (GreenFuse Botanicals)—Another perennial offering from GreenFuse is the new Sensation series, which is bred to be compact with full flower spikes. Includes four colors: Deep Blue (pictured), Deep Rose, Sky Blue and White. Zone 4-8.
4 – 5 Echinacea Sombrero series and Double Scoop series (Darwin Perennials)—New single and double-flowered types of coneflower available through Ball Seed feature good branching with lots of bright blooms in unique colors. Three colors in the Sombrero series: Hot Coral, Salsa Red (pictured) and Sandy Yellow. And three for Double Scoop: Orangeberry (pictured), Bubble Gum and Raspberry. Zone 4-9.
6 New Pinks from Whetman—We’re putting them under perennials, but these carnations, or “pinks” as they’re called in the UK, also make lovely pot crops. It was an honor to have Carolyn Bourne, owner of Whetman Pinks, personally show us the newest pinks on the market, which she says are more closely related to dianthus than carnations. Pinks in general are fragrant, early to flower and very hardy—some to Zone 4 or 5. Pictured is Starburst.
7 Scabiosa Mariposa (Skagit Gardens)—Two new scabiosa varieties make up the Mariposa series, which has large, fully double blooms on long stems that work great for indoor cut flowers. Early flowers in colors of Blue and Violet (pictured) are long lasting and the plant itself is drought tolerant. A nice low-maintenance perennial for the consumer. Zone 5.
8 Gaillardia Commotion Moxie (Skagit Gardens)—This heavy bloomer certainly lives up to its name because it has no problem producing loads of bright yellow flowers. Although the habit is vigorous, it’s easy to handle and blooms from spring to the first hard frost. Awarded the Best New Perennial at the 2010 Farwest Show. Zone 5.
9 Hosta Hudson Bay (Proven Winners)—The margins of this popular perennial are a wider blue with bright green streaks over cream centers. Forms a nice mound and has white flowers that appear in early summer. Zone 3-9.
Woody ornamentals that wow
1 Quince Double Take series (Proven Winners ColorChoice)—This new series features large, fully double flowers on thornless stems that also make great cut flowers. Although these plants take a bit longer to finish that tradition quince (about two weeks), they bloom early and for a longer period of time. All three colors in the series—Orange Storm, Pink Storm and Scarlet Storm (pictured)—grow 3-5 ft. tall. Zone 5.
2 Hydrangea Big Easy (Proven Winners ColorChoice)—This reblooming hydrangea is ideal for the southern market because the higher the heat, the more blooms you get. Big Easy adds a pastel pink color to the Let’s Dance series and grows up to 5 ft. tall, although it has some green tones and could even have blue flowers in more acidic soils. Zone 5.
3 Azalea Bloom-A-Thon (Proven Winners ColorChoice)—As the name implies, these plants continue to re-bloom throughout the season, even in the heat. Starting off with four colors—Pink Double, Red, White and Lavender—this is a fairly compact series, growing to about 4 ft. Zone 6.
4 Acacia cognata Cousin Itt (Ball Ornamentals)—This one isn’t a new variety, but it’s the first time we saw it at Spring Trials. GM Pete Kruger told us it was the most-touched plant at all of their events, and we could see why. Aptly named Cousin Itt because of its soft masses of dangling hair-like foliage, the dwarf habit makes it an ideal plant for large containers. It’s also a native of Australia, so it can take heat and drought. Zone 9a-11, West Coast.
Perfect for pots
1 Streptocarpus Ladyslippers series (GreenFuse Botanicals)—As part of their new Lifestyle Plants potted plant collection, GreenFuse introduced a new series of streptocarpus that Steve Jones said work well indoors because they’re “people plants—they like the same temperature you do.” They also work well in color bowls for the shade. The six colors in the series (Blue Ice is pictured) come from tissue culture so they’re virus free.
2 Hydrangea Helium series (GreenFuse Botanicals)—Also included in GreenFuse’s Lifestyle Plants collection is a new line of florist hydrangeas that the company is selling dormant in 4 and 6-in. pots. Steve Jones said he saw them in Japan about 10 years ago and knew he had to have all six colors.
3 – 4 Cyclamen Winfall and Friller F1 series (Syngenta Flowers)—Two new F1 cyclamen series with different characteristics. The new Winfall series features plants that are ideal for the winter and fall seasons (Get it? Win … fall?). They’re also good for high-density production and require less energy because they grow under low temperatures. Friller finishes up to three weeks earlier than other fringed varieties and has true F1 vigor. Winfall has seven colors and a mix; Friller is made up of four colors and two mixes.
5 – 8 Callas from Golden State Bulb Company—As always, Golden State had their display filled to the brim with lovely callas, including a few key introductions for 2012. Three stand-outs: Natural Bouquet—Yellow calla with maculated (speckled) foliage; Lolly Pop—The first ever hot pink calla with maculated foliage; Ice Dancer—White calla with deep green leaves that Golden State is marketing as a holiday plant. We also saw a variety called Nightlife in the “Limited Availability” area. This deep purple calla is the result of Golden State’s active breeding for a black-colored variety. They currently buy a black variety in from Holland and want their own to sell to their customers. Stay tuned on that one.
9 Ball’s Double Gloxinia (Ball Seed)—We were surprised to see this oldie but goodie, at Spring Trials, but gloxinia is a classic indoor plant and this one you can only get through Ball Seed. The series has nine colors of fully double blooms that finish in 8 to 10 weeks from liners. Pictured is Perfect Double Red.
10 – 11 Primula additions (Syngenta Flowers)—The Orion and Libre series of primula have new introductions for 2012. Orion Lilac Flame is a mid-season bloomer for late winter/early spring sales. The two new Libre colors bring bicolor types to the series with Rose Picotee and Blue Picotee, and match the rest in timing and habit.
12 – 13 Cyclamen Jive, Allure and XL series (Schoneveld)—These series from the Dutch company are new in the U.S. this year and offer a slightly different type of cyclamen depending on the market. Jive is for 4-in. pots and features slightly ruffled petals in eight colors. An intermediate type, the Allure series has three new colors and is a tad slower than Lasers (about a week), but is said to produce more buds. And the XL varieties are large as their name implies with strong stems and good center flowering. The series is also large because it includes 16 colors.
1 – 2 Belgian Mums from GroLink—GroLink had a number of new mums on display in a wide range of colors and flowering season. The Staviski series is the best selling Belgian mum in Europe and has a new Yellow variety to join the other three colors. It’s a late-season variety (early October) and finishes in about five weeks from the start of short days. And one of the most eye-catching was Lava Red—a mid-season type with dark red flowers that is ideal for indoor production.
3 – 6 Mums from Syngenta Flowers—For a multitude of mum types, all you had to do was look at Syngenta’s new Yoder mum varieties display. A few to take note of: Hilo Mango—A novelty daisy with flower colors of iridescent pink and yellow for winter production; San Francisco Bronze Bicolor—This spoon-quill addition offers more versatility in pot mums for the grower; Pittsburgh Purple—A unique purple quill with lots of consumer appeal; Shanghai Red—Softball-sized incurve blooms on plants that were bred especially for the Chinese New Year market.
These next few plants were either really unique or couldn’t be pigeonholed into a specific category. Regardless, we felt that they should be mentioned.
1 Salvia Summer Jewel Red (Takii)—One of this year’s All-America Selections winners, S. coccinea Summer Jewel was also a fan of the hummingbirds when we were there. This variety flowers two weeks earlier than others on the market under long days—seven to nine weeks from sowing—with blooms that last all season. It also branches well, but stays compact in beds and containers.
2 Gazania SunBathers Malibu (Paul Ecke Ranch)—This new addition to the SunBathers series features similar characteristics as the others in the series, including large, semi-double flowers that stay open at night.
3 Lantana Lucky Lemon Glow (Ball FloraPlant)—This new addition to the Lucky series features stable bicolor cream and yellow flowers, and is ideal for small pots, combos and baskets. Well-branched and compact.
4 Verbena Lanai Twister Pink (Syngenta Flowers)—One of the coolest flower colors at the trials, the petals of this new bicolor are pink on the outside and deep pink on the two inner petals making a ring of fuchsia in the middle. The first of its kind on the market, Twister Pink matches the rest of the Lanai series for good powdery mildew tolerance and earliness to bloom.
5 Senecio confusus Orange (GroLink)—This Brazilian native caught our eye because of its cascading habit and really interesting bright orange flowers. A favorite of the local hummingbirds, it continues to rebloom all season.
6 Creeping Sedum (Jaldety)—The row of these touchable succulents made us want to get hands-on with them, but no one seemed to mind—especially when we focused on Jaldety’s newest variety called Chocolate Ball. Mounded and trailing like their best selling Lemon Ball, this one has dark brown-green leaves and works great in a number of garden uses.
7 TT Mix from Fafard—Sure, the plants are important, but what about the stuff you need to grow the plants? Fafard’s new pine-based mix contains no bark or perlite, which Fafard says offers you a 10% cost savings over traditional bark-based media.
TT stands for “Tree Technology” or “Timber Technology” because the main component is pine trees that are broken down into an amendment. Available in light to medium weight, the TT mix can be used for a multitude of crops, including woody ornamentals and pretty much anything in a 4-in. pot and larger.
8 Peat Mixes from Jiffy—A few years ago, Jiffy bought Tref, a European soil company, and has since developed what they call the “Rolls Royce” of potting soils. The new Jiffy Mixes offers a blend of Canadian and European peat to get the best blend of fibers that prevent compaction. GT
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