Costa Farms trial garden

Jul 9, 2019
2020 Introductions Kick off the Trial SeasonBy Jasmina Dolce

Each year, Costa Farms in Florida hosts the big kickoff to the trial season. This is one of the premier annual and perennial trials that features many of the new and most unique introductions for the upcoming season.

Monthly contributor Vaughn Fletcher attended the trial during week 4 and returned during week 12 to evaluate the 2020 introductions. The trial material was planted around week 50 in beds, so what he observed following 14 weeks of heat, humidity and rain is what you could expect to see in many northern trials later in the summer.

While evaluating, Fletcher’s focus is primarily on plant habit and flowers, specifically coloration, uniqueness, color stability, saturation and floriferousness.

Here is a handful of his favorites. To read his full evaluation, check out his article in the June issue of GPN or click here.

Lantana ‘Hot Blooded Red’
Syngenta Flowers

Lantana Hot Blooded - Syngenta

This standalone variety has been trialed in multiple locations since 2016, and sterility has been confirmed through rigid testing protocols. Hot Blooded is more vigorous than the Bandana series, and displayed a high umbel count and well-branched habit. Flower cycling should be minimal with no seed formation. Syngenta plans to trial and introduce additional varieties to build a series in the future.

Coleus ‘Stained Glassworks Velvet’
Dümmen Orange

Coleus Stained Glassworks - Dummen Orange

The Stained Glassworks collection has been around for many years, and Dümmen Orange continues to add varieties every year. One of the introductions for 2020 is Velvet, which presents a velvety leaf texture, a chartreuse midrib and burgundy margin. This is a shade-adaptable selection and will be a wonderful accent in borders, beds and containers.

Cuphea ‘Honeybells’
Ball FloraPlant

Cuphea Honeybells - Ball FloraPlant

This interspecific cuphea is floriferous with a semi-trailing habit, and boasts eye-popping bicolor rose and light yellow tubular shaped flowers. It was utilized in basket and container combinations and was flowering prolifically in late January and late March. It will have perform well in part shade to full sun and will endure and thrive throughout the summer.

Verbena ‘Vanessa Compact Purple’

Verbena Vanessa Compact Purple - Danziger

Danziger introduced the Vanessa series two years and and introduced the Compact subseries for 2020. It is comprised of eight colors including two bicolors. Flower cycling was minimal and there was no incidence of powdery mildew. The plants manifested strong color retention throughout the season with excellent flower coverage.

Begonia Viking Red on Chocolate’

Begonia Viking Red on Chocolate - Sakata

Begonia introductions have been groundbreaking the past few years, and this development continues with the hybrid Viking seed series, which is comprised of a midsize series and a larger, more vigorous XL series. This variety was eye catching with the exceptional contrasting flower color and deep dark foliage. Both series displayed high impact with upright vigor, uniformity, lustrous foliage and prodigious flowers.

Have you trialed any of the above varieties? Will you be adding any to your 2020 production? Do you have any other favorite 2020 introductions? Shoot me a message 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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