Playing Favorites By Pete Mihalek

In the June issue of GPN, you read about some of the trends we came across during our journey through California for the 2014 Spring Trials. This month, we're focusing on the new variety introductions that made their debut along the west coast this spring.

It's no easy feat, but we managed to put together a list of some of the new varieties that made a statement and caught our attention.

With hundreds of introductions on display, it's impossible to include them all here. so be sure to check out all the photos we've posted on


The bright-orange foliage of 'Autumn Ember' is hard to miss and easy to see why Cultivaris calls this one of Martha Stewart's favorite begonias.

Make a big impression with Benary's new 'Big Pink GreenLeaf' begonia. This self-cleaner has 3-inch blooms and performs well throughout the country in a wide range of climates and soils, sun or shade.

Available as pelleted seed, the 'Bossa Nova Red' begonia from Floranova will add a new dimension to your bedding display. Non-stop blooms coat the plant from late spring until frost and thrive particularly well in warm climates.

Terra Nova's begonia T Rex series may resemble a Rex, but its silken, shimmery leaves are thick and durable enabling this plant to thrive in cooler than usual temps.


Set it and forget it. Takii's compact 'Arizona Sunset' agastache requires little maintenance once established and performs well attracting hummingbirds in containers or the landscape.


The large yellow flowers on the compact 'Rapid Double Yellow' from DŸmmen Oro highlight the mounded habit of this bidens. 'Rapid Double Yellow' flowers early and features a unique fringed bloom shape.


The new 'Candy Bouquet' calibrachoa is a stand-alone introduction from Westhoff that is an excellent garden performer. With bright magenta accents, its intriguing yellow star changes its pattern throughout each flower.


Looking for a canna series that features a compact habit, self-cleaning flowers, long bloom time and large color range for pot production? Look no further than DŸmmen/Red Fox's new CannaSol series (Carmen shown).

Thanks to its strong colors and a height of up to 48 inches, the Cannova series canna (Yellow shown) from Ball Ingenuity is a real winner for the landscape market. Versatile in production, Cannova works well in 4-inch pots to 2-gallon containers.


Available in six colors (shown Purple), the new Jasoda family of Belgian mums from GroLink features uniform size and flower time, and excellent branching with no pinch required. They are ideal for summer shaded production and suitable for pot tight growing in small containers.

Part of DŸmmen/Fides' Sunbeam collection of Mystic Mums, Peaches 'N Cream naturally flowers in early September. Bred for large, decorative flowers, this mum boasts a unique color combo with great color retention.


Skagit Gardens' Li'l Bang series of compact coreopsis requires no vernalization and produces abundant, large flowers over a long bloom time. Daybreak boasts single red flowers with a vibrant edge and will reach up to 10 inches in heights.


Velvety new, PanAmerican Seed's Easy Wave Velour petunias, shown in Burgundy Velour, are a rich and luxurious addition to this popular spreading petunia series. Also available in Berry Velour and Red Velour.

Florensis' Glow series is considered one of the earliest on the market, and its newest addition, Pink Stardust, is perfect for container gardens or hanging baskets. It is compact and well-branched with large, showy blooms.

With a one-of-a-kind pattern, Syngenta Flowers' 'Sanguna Radiant Blue' petunia flowers early and often, making it a perfect addition to high-end container and hanging basket programs — upping the sell-through factor.

'Success! White' petunia is one of eight Success! colors and part of what Benary calls the "earliest series in the industry." The Success! series requires less PGRs in production and features a uniform flowering for timing and habit.

A vigorous habit makes 'Surfinia Sumo Pink' petunia from Suntory a perfect candidate to make a statement in large containers, hanging baskets and landscapes. Bred for high flower count and large flower size, Surfinia Sumo Pink will spread up to 55 inches.


Considered a hummingbird magnet, 'Vermillionaire' cuphea from Proven Winners is a Southern annual that grows fast and can tolerate heat and humidity. This constant bloomer will reach up to 28 inches in height.


Coconut-scented, virtually pest- and disease-free, and perfect for containers Ð 'Aloha Lily Nani' from Golden State Bulb Growers has everything you could ever want in a dwarf eucomis. Nani's soft pink color will last for weeks post harvest.


Glitterati is a new interspecific geranium series from Hort Couture. Ice Queen features a combination of vivid, double scarlet flowers with attractive foliage of a fancy-leaved zonal geranium. Ice Queen is exceptionally tolerant in the heat and sun.


Under Florist Holland's Garvinea brand comes the Sweet series of gerbera, which feature super-sized flowers and candy-like colors. New introduction Sweet Heart will start to flower in spring, but really come into its own in the summer and beyond.


Like the Bounce series but bigger comes Selecta's Big Bounce interspecific impatiens in White, which is one of six new colors. Bringing some confidence to shade gardens, this variety is resistant to downy mildew and bounces back after wilt.


The newest addition to Danziger's Stream series of lobularia is 'Bicolor Pink Stream'. This heat-tolerant introduction is spring-scented and an excellent filler for mixed containers thanks to its floriferous, ball-shaped structure.


'Blue Eyed Beauty' osteospermum from Ball FloraPlant will stop consumers dead in their tracks. With a unique and bold bicolor, it's primed for premium, early-spring sales. It stands out at retail and is ideal for end-cap impulse sales.


Green Fuse Botanicals' Shining Sea is the first bicolor variety in the Cathedral series. It is quick to flower and compact, making it ideal for container production or for the landscape. It reaches 10 to 16 inches tall.


Suntory's Surdiva scaevola in the new Variegated Blue looks to continue the series' hot streak of exceptional heat performance and low maintenance. Its sturdy, mounded habit serves it well in all garden applications.


Torelus 'Orange Red Orchid' from Cohen is a unique cross between torenia and mimulus, without the stickiness of mimulus. Torelus boasts large single flowers and its vigorous growth habit produces flowers throughout the summer.


'Corina Black' is the newest addition to this small-flowered viola series bred by Hem Genetics. This variety has a mounding habit, branches strongly and fills pots fast — flowering from the beginning until the end of the season.

From Sakata's new viola series ColorMax, Purple Glow will give you more color per square foot thanks to a free-flowering nature and a larger than usual flower size. This series is available in 10 colors and one mix.

Playing Favorites

Pete Mihalek

Pete Mihalek is retail editor for GPN and can be reached at [email protected]

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