Each summer, members of the industry travel to Alabama, Georgia and North Carolina to visit the Southern Plant Trials. Growers, breeders, retailers and others are able to observe and evaluate new introductions in a high-temperature and humid environment.
Monthly contributor Vaughn Fletcher visited the trials at Young’s Plant Farm, University of Georgia and Metrolina Greenhouses in early June and again in mid-August. He shared his evaluation in the October issue of GPN.
What characteristics does Vaughn look for in late summer? The plants he chose to highlight demonstrated uniformity, durability, flower stability, vibrant color and floriferousness.
He says, “It is imperative to select varieties that manifest the qualities listed and provide the consumer with relatively maintenance-free, colorful plants that fulfill their gardening needs. Breeder advancements and improvements for the grower, retailer and consumer are moving in the direction of low maintenance and prolonged flowering.”
To read Vaughn’s full evaluation, click here to access his article “Summer Survivors in the Southern Plant Trials.”
For now, here are some of his favorite 2020 introductions from the trials.
Impatiens ‘SunPatiens Compact Orchid Blush’
Sakata has expanded the SunPatiens series for 2020 with the addition of Orchid Blush. The brightness of the two-tone flowers was eye-popping in multiple trials in beds and containers. This variety will have tremendous application in mixed combinations and landscapes in sun or shade.
Petunia ‘Supertunia Mini Vista Indigo Improved’
The Supertunia Charms have been renamed Mini Vistas. There are seven colors in the series, and Indigo Improved is the new introduction for 2020. In bed and container trials the prolific flower quantity, short internodes and indigo flowers that transitioned to purple were stunning.
Geranium ‘Calliope Large Orange Splash’
Syngenta Flowers continues to add new colors to its Calliope Large collection. The plants were durable and vigorous, and the new colors manifested a richness and brightness that differentiated them in the trial. Orange Splash was particularly impressive due to its saturation and vitality of color.
Cuphea ‘FloriGlory Corazon’
The FloriGlory series debuted in 2016 with two types: the compacts and the larger flowering, vigorous varieties. Corazon was introduced for 2020 as more compact with stacked flowers and extremely free flowering. The light violet flowers created a colorful canopy. This will be a late spring, early summer variety in the North due to the high temperature and light requirements.
Petunia ‘Wave Carmine Velour’
This new spreading Wave petunia is an All-America Selections winner for 2019. The flower color is a hot carmine-cherry, and it manifested that color in the large 20-inch basket trial at Young’s Plant Farm. Only a few basket varieties demonstrated the vigor, heat tolerance, flower stability and colorful canopy of this new variety.
Impatiens SunStanding Jazzy series
This new sub series for 2020 offers two variegated varieties, Coral and Hot Pink. They were in multiple trials in beds and containers and maintained non-fading, two-toned foliage and intense flower color. They will have outstanding application in large combo baskets, containers, and landscape beds in sun or shade.
Are you growing any of the above varieties for 2020? Have you visited the Southern Plant Trials this year? Do you have any favorite new introductions? Shoot me an email at [email protected], and let me know. I’d love to hear from you.