Oct 10, 2016
Prairie PerformanceBy Jasmina Dolce

Each fall, I like to compile all the results from various plants trials across the country. Now that most of the university trial gardens have completed evaluations for this past season, I’d like to share their findings with you.

In my last e-newsletter, I reported on the standout varieties at Colorado State University. Today, I’d like to head 550 miles east to the Prairie Star program at Kansas State University.

Each year, new varieties are added to the Prairie Star list, which contains flowers that have exhibited superior performance for two or more years in the Kansas State University bedding plant research trials. Flowering plant research is headquartered at the Horticulture Research and Extension Center in Olathe, with other trial sites in Wichita, Hays and Colby. All varieties on the Prairie Star list grow well across the state, east to west and north to south.

Here are some of the newest additions to the Prairie Star program for 2016. You can view additional photos and learn more about the complete list at www.prairiestarflowers.org.

Angelonia ‘Archangel Dark Rose’
Ball FloraPlant


Known for its big blooms and bold colors, the Archangel series boasts excellent landscape performance. It thrives in heat, humidity and drought.

Dahlia ‘XXL Taxco’
Dümmen Orange


This large-flowered dahlia presents deep burgundy-red blooms that are held up tall on deep green sturdy stems. The XXL series is very vigorous and blooms from early to late summer.

Echibeckia ‘Summerina Orange’
Pacific Plug & Liner


This cross offers the appearance of rudbeckia with the hardiness of echinacea. ‘Summerina Orange’ tends to have the heaviest flower set of all colors in the series.

Lantana ‘South Beach Purple Sky’
Hort Couture


Both heat and drought tolerant, this series is easy to grow and will mingle well with other plants. Purple Sky has light purple to yellow flower clusters on a mounded habit.

Portulaca Mojave series
Proven Winners


A continuous bloomer, Mojave portulaca presents large, vibrant flowers all summer. It can be used as a border plant and in containers, the landscape and mass plantings.

Salvia ‘Summer Jewel White’
American Takii


A vigorous and long-lasting salvia, ‘Summer Jewel White’ is exceptionally floriferous. The heavily branching plants produce a multitude of flower spikes with bright white flowers.

Are you growing any of the above varieties? Are they top sellers for you? Have you visited any regional trials? If so, let me know what you’ve seen! Shoot me an email at [email protected] I’d love to hear from you.

— Jasmina

P.S. Speaking of top honors, do you know any college students that are making their mark on the industry? We are now accepting applications for the 2017 GPN/Nexus Intern of the Year. Click here to learn more, but don’t wait too long — the application deadline is Oct. 19!


Jasmina Dolce

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

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