Colorado’s Top Performers
Summer has officially come to an end and fall is now upon us. I love this time of year. Sweaters, boots, pumpkins … and, the best part, plant trials are complete. While you’re setting up production for next season, now is a great time to evaluate some of the year’s top-performing varieties from various trials across the country.
One of the country’s most esteemed trial programs is Colorado State University’s Annual Flower Trial Garden in Fort Collins. The purpose of the trial program is to evaluate the performance of different annual cultivars under their unique Rocky Mountain climate.
Each year, the trial consists of more than 1,000 different cultivars of annual bedding plants. They are evaluated by industry personnel based on vigor, uniformity, floriferousness and tolerance to environmental conditions.
To learn more about the Colorado State University annual trial, click here.
And without further adieu, here are some of the top performers from this year’s trials along with some evaluation notes:
Best of Show: Argyranthemum ‘White Butterfly’
‘White Butterfly’ had continuous blooms all through the growing season and looked fresh even during the summer heat. Plants also maintained excellent uniformity and no deadheading was required.
Best New Variety: Lantana ‘Lucky Red’
Flowers were abundant and had many citrus tones. Blooming started early in the season and didn’t cycle in and out of flowering like other lantana varieties.
Best Novelty: Begonia ‘Jurassic Red Splash’
Its striking foliage color gave this plant great interest as soon as it was planted in the garden. Foliage was a dramatic combination of red and silver with large jagged edges. Plants were well branched and also do well as an indoor plant.
Best Celosia: ‘Kelos Fire Scarlet Improved’
‘Kelos Fire Scarlet Improved’ presents deep burgundy foliage and small scarlet plumes, making a beautiful color and textural combination. Plants were compact and very uniform.
Best Dahlia: ‘XXL Sunset’
The huge blooms on ‘XXL Sunset’ captured attention not only for their size but also for their beautiful coloring. Plants were vigorous and did not have any mildew late in the season.
Best Geranium (interspecific): ‘Calliope Dark Red’
This geranium had an impressive overall visual effect created by robust plants and abundant large flower heads that boast a dramatic dark shade of red. The intense color held strong even in the high light of Colorado.
Best Lobelia: ‘Compact Blue’
This variety was impressive due to its ability to look great all season long. It maintained a dense mound of abundant medium-blue flowers even into September.
Best New Guinea Impatiens: ‘SunStanding Salmon’
‘SunStanding Salmon’ had impressive flower power in both sun and shade. The salmon-colored flowers were very attractive and even looked good as they faded to white with age.
Best Portulaca: ‘Colorblast Double Cherry’
Plants were floriferous and very vigorous with a spreading growth habit. Flowers opened significantly earlier in the day compared to others in the trial.
Best Vinca: ‘Mega Bloom Polkadot’
This class had a lot of competition, but this variety stood out with great uniformity and large blooms. White flowers had a small pink eye, giving it a “polka dot” effect.
To see full trial results, go to the Annual Flower Trial Garden website where you can see more photos and detailed information.
Are you planning to grow any of the above varieties this upcoming season? Which ones are your favorites? Shoot me an email and let me know; I’d love to hear from you.