Jun 22, 2017
Top Trial Performers at Costa Farms By Jasmina Dolce

In the June and July issues of GPN, columnist and industry consultant Vaughn Fletcher reported on the top-performing 2018 introductions at Costa Farms’ Trial Garden in Miami, Florida, the first trial of the season. He visited the trial in its early stages in week 4 and followed up with a later visit week 12 when the varieties were mature and at their peak. By this time, the trial had received eight weeks of high temperatures, humidity and rain. What Fletcher observed in Florida is reflected later in summer trials.

According to Fletcher, he titled this two-part article series “The Power of Color” because the world’s flower breeders strive to introduce and promote new varieties that provide eye-catching colors and ultimately residential and commercial performance — ultimately resulting in consumer success in various applications from beds to baskets to containers.

He says, “The plant choices today are innumerable and the industry is looking for game changers that will set their varieties apart, capture market share and leave a lasting positive impression on the consumer.”

Characteristics that Fletcher looks at in the selection process include: uniformity, floriferousness, foliage quality, architecture, flower brightness and saturation.

Here are some of his favorites noted in the article series. To read the full articles, check out the June issue online, and be on the lookout for the July issue, which should be arriving on your doorstep soon.

Armeria ‘Dreameria Daydream’
Darwin Perennials

This is a new class of armeria with a long blooming window, large flower ball head, excellent basal branching and a compact habit with attractive flower canopy. ‘Dreameria Daydream’ created much excitement in the January open house because of its presentation in the field trial, and it was just as impressive in late March.

Begonia ‘Chloe’

The vibrant single and double flowers on ‘Chloe’ are eye catchers, and garden performance was outstanding. The trial material was grown under 30 percent shade in the Florida trial, and performed exceptionally in full sun in trials in Michigan and Colorado.

Geranium ‘Tango Bicolor Cherry’
Syngenta Flowers

This bicolor variety was vigorous with excellent upright architecture, dark foliage and large single flowers with a very defined eye. It may have a tendency to shatter under stress, but this will be overshadowed by the bold flower and retail presentation.

Impatiens ‘SunPatiens Compact Purple’

Sakata continues adding new colors to this extraordinary series, and for 2018 we have Compact Purple, a very uniform color with highly saturated, stable purple flowers. The flower canopy, structure and flower power matched other varieties in the trial.

Osteospermum ‘4D Sunburst’

This two-tone yellow double-layered variety was brilliant and intense in the field trial with an outstanding flower canopy. This is the next generation of double osteospermum with improved branching, uniformity and floriferousness.

Petunia ‘Suntunia Yellow’
Dümmen Orange

Dümmen Orange introduced this large-flowering interspecific series in 2017. It is a petunia x calibrachoa cross, and the breeding goal was heat and sun tolerance to create more adaptability in various applications. Yellow is the newest introduction. The flower color was vibrant and non fading. All 10 colors were vigorous and floriferous.

Have you been keeping up with Vaughn Fletcher’s trial reports in GPN? Are you trialing any of his favorites? Have you been visited the Costa Trial Garden? If so, what are some varieties you plan on adding to your production? Shoot me an email at [email protected], and let me know. I’d love to hear from you.

— Jasmina


Jasmina Dolce

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

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