Sep 24, 2013
Top Performing Annuals at CSUBy Jasmina Dolce

Now that the summer has come and gone and fall is officially here, many of the country’s top trial gardens are coming to a close. With peak growing season just around the corner, now is probably a good time to evaluate many of the top performing varieties from various trials.

Colorado State University recently announced the results from its annual flower trials. It was a hot and very wet summer; as a matter of fact, one storm in early July resulted in a tree in the CSU garden getting struck by lightning, which damaged parts of the garden.

(Source: The Coloradoan)

But still many of the plants pulled through and showed an impressive display. Here are some of the trial favorites:

Best of Show – Lantana ‘Lucky Sunrise Rose’ (Ball FloraPlant)

Lantanas are known for their heat tolerance, and this variety boasted a superior display of blooms throughout the summer and into the fall.The bright flowers were prolific and the dark foliage color made the flowers stand out.

Best New Variety – Petunia ‘Cascadias Indian Summer’ (Danziger)

This variety showcases a true color breakthrough with unique shades of pink, yellow and orange. Flowering was strong throughout the season, and the plant maintained its shape with a nice cascading habit.

Best Novelty – Pennisetum ‘Graceful Grasses Fireworks’ (Proven Winners)

This unique grass features colorful foliage that varies through the summer depending on light and temperature. The narrow leaf blades have an attractive combination of green mixed with white and pink streaks. Plants are medium height and work well in the landscape.

Best New Guinea Impatiens – ‘Super Sonic Orange Ice’ (Syngenta Flowers)

The large flowers on this plant open orange and mature into a hot coral color with a violet center, resulting in a nice bicolor effect. The dark foliage sets off the flowers, which bloom above the foliage, creating an impressive show.

Best Verbena – ‘Temari Patio Hot Pink’ (Suntory)

The deep-pink flowers on this verbena were noted for their non-fading color. Flowering was strong all season, and plant vigor was excellent while maintaining a good overall growth habit.

Here is a list of some of the other 2013 winners. For a complete list, along with commentary from the judges, additional photos and more information, go to

Best Angelonia – ‘Sungelonia White’ (Suntory)

Best Begonia – ‘Surefire Rose’ (Proven Winners)

Best Calibrachoa – ‘Aloha Tiki Neon’ (Dümmen NA)

Best Coleus – ‘Kong Jr. Rose’ (Ball Ingenuity)

Best Dahlia – ‘XXL Veracruz’ (Dümmen NA)

Best Interspecific Geranium – ‘Sarita Lilac Splash’ (Dümmen NA)

Best Lobelia – ‘Techno Heat Violet 11’ (Syngenta Flowers)

Best Lobularia – ‘Lavender Stream’ (Danziger)

What do you think of these showstoppers? Will you be adding any of them to your production next season? Have you been to any other trials this year? Let me know! Shoot me an e-mail at [email protected]. I’d love to hear from you.

– Jasmina

*Plant photos: Colorado State University

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Jasmina Dolce

Jasmina Dolce is managing editor of GPN magazine. She can be reached at [email protected]

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