A Really Big Show By Tim Hodson

The breeding companies at California Spring Trials put on another great show this year. The dazzling array of new introductions can be mind boggling, but here are some of the new varieties that caught our eye.

California Spring Trials took place in March this year. The earlier-than-normal date may have put some additional challenges on the growers who had to produce this year’s showstoppers but you never would have guessed that during Spring Trials week.

The team from GPN and Lawn & Garden Retailer had a great week traveling from Gilroy down to Santa Paula visiting all of the different trial stops to see the latest introductions from the breeding companies.

Hundreds of new varieties premiered during this year’s big show. There are a lot of new and interesting varieties in the pipeline that will make it to the market in 2020. Over the next few pages we want to give you a glimpse through the lens of our camera at just some of this year’s premieres.

There are some cool colors and fancy forms on tap, as well as new ways to grow things that are coming your way, so get ready!

Hem Genetics

Viola Corina - Hem Genetics

A new addition to the series, ‘Corina Purple Ice’ shows off its striking color and has a highly uniform and well-branched plant habit. It is suited for production in spring and autumn and can be used in a wide range of container sizes. It produces tons of flowers, which continue to produce blooms throughout the season.

Jaldety Nursery

This succulent has a very appealing texture and a compact habit that plays well in combinations. It has cream-colored flowers and silver rosette-like leaves that are heat and drought tolerant and require hardly any maintenance.

Cohen Nurseries

Nemesia Honey - Cohen

This nemesia series has a compact but upright growth habits with good branching. The fragrant flowers will bloom from spring until fall but performs best in cool weather and the pollinators love it. It will work well in containers, hanging baskets and borders. Full sun to part shade.


A low spreading groundcover, this thyme will produce ruby-colored flowers surrounded by dark green foliage on 6-inch stems from late spring through early summer. It has a ball-shaped growth habit with gentle lemon scent and is drought tolerant.

Nir Nursery

This evergreen shrub is a friendly Christmas tree that has soft silvery green-gray foliage that have a feather-like texture and will grow to 1 1/2 inches. It can tolerate mild frost and doesn’t require much fertilizer or water.

Terra Nova Nurseries

Coleus Red Threads - Terra Nova

‘Red Threads’ has eye-catching, feathery, burgundy-colored leaves that create a soft, fluffy look. This coleus has an upright, but slightly spreading, habit with dense foliage. Hardy to Zone 10-11, it does not require any PGRs. Works well as a filler for containers, summer borders and mass planting.

Pacific Plug & Liner

This addition to the Summerina series has a striking two-toned yellow and red flower with smaller petals or “fringles” near the center of the flower that look like a flame. The large flowers and high flower count work well in large pots. A fast grower, it is great for shoulder season sales.


Pentas Graffiti 20/20 - Benary

Graffiti 20/20 is a new series of pentas that loves the sun and butterflies love it. The series is uniform in height and flower timing. Dense, tight flower clusters ensure maximum color at retail. Nine colors and one mix are available (Flirty Pink is pictured).

Proven Winners

Proven Winners is partnering with Classic Caladiums to offer their best-performing varieties for the 2020 season. Breeding breakthroughs have resulted in many new color patterns and shapes. There are 11 fancy leaf types and nine strap leaf varieties being offered.


There are three new colors in this fuchsia series (Rose Blue is shown here) from Benary+. The uniform series is ideal for early season sales. A compact upright habit with lots of medium-sized blooms, Fuchsita works well for high-density production. Other new colors include Magenta Purple and Scarlet White.

Syngenta Flowers

Lantana Hot Blooded - Syngenta

This hot new lantana has a naturally well-branched, mounded habit and is more vigorous than Bandana, making it a great choice for gardens throughout North America. The medium-sized flowers are covered with attractive color. It is sterile and has been a top pick in many trials.


Three new colors have been added to the Amore series — King of Hearts (pictured), Fluttering Heart and Pink Heart. As the name implies, each bloom has a unique heart-shaped pattern. Early to flower, the large flowers have a stable pattern and show good resistance to rain.

Beekenkamp Plants

Beekenkamp and SlijkermanKalanchoe recently signed an agreement for Beekenkamp to offer the full line of SlijkermanKalanchoë potted kalanchoes to the North American market. Both the single and double flowers of the Diamond series are uniform in habit and flowering, and require minimal PGR applications.

American Takii

Zinnia Preciosa - Takii

This new F1 series is available in seven bright colors and two mixes (Tropical Blend is pictured). The series is uniform and compact with more branching. It is early flowering with large double flowers for great retail appeal.


Rebel is an attractive decorative pot dahlia with firm stems and flowers with flat petals. They are available in bright, cheerful colors that will grab consumers. The plant produces large flowers with strong stems and will continue to flower all the way until the first frost.


Pansy Spring Grandio - Sakata

Specifically bred for early spring production, this new pansy series is available in 12 colors and two mixes (Clear Mix is shown here). All of the colors are early blooming and more daylength neutral. Uniform habit and well matched bloom time across the series.

2Plant International

This variety has large flowers and wider foliage for great consumer appeal. It is genetically short and does not require any PGRs. It also is more heat tolerant than other varieties. It is a versatile plant that will bloom in 64 days and will grow to about 17 inches.

Dümmen Orange

New Guinea impatiens Roller Coaster - Dummen Orange

This standalone introduction has an abundance of rich pink blooms that are made for shade. It is a medium vigorous plant with beautiful double flowers on top of its dark green foliage. A good season extender for late spring early summer sales.

Ball FloraPlant

The “magic” on this daisy appears when its colors change as flowers fully open. It has an exceptional habit and uniform timing for early season production. It works well in cool season containers as well as in the landscape.

PanAmerican Seed

Five new tuberous begonia series — Picotee, Roseform, Ruffled, On Top and Sun Dancer — provide a wide selection of colors, including unique bicolors, along with large, attention commanding blooms. ‘Picotee White Pink’ is shown here.

Darwin Perennials

Penstemon Quartz - Darwin

This vivid orange/red addition to the Quartz series is very heat tolerant and long flowering. It reblooms throughout the season for high impact color. It has a sturdy, upright habit and good basal branching.

Kieft Seed

This Shasta daisy offers better uniformity in height and habit to produce more salable plants It is a compact, first-year flowering shasta that doesn’t require vernalization or have a risk for bacterial infection. The result is picture-perfect containers on the bench and in the store.

Selecta One

Osteospermum Zion - Selecta

This new series was inspired by the colors of the Zion National Park in Utah. The series features distinctive, novel colors. It produces large flowers on the plants with excellent branching, Colors available include Magic Yellow, Purple Sun (pictured) and Magic Sun.


These Brussels sprouts have a distinctive, vivid, red-purple 1-inch fruit that have a slightly sweeter flavor than most green varieties. The high-yielding plants can handle cool nights and frost.

Ball Ingenuity

Easy to finish and perfect for quart productions, this is a great plant for shoulder season sales as it blooms from early spring until summer. Its fragrant, delicate flowers are showstoppers in the garden. Available in three colors (Purple Bicolor is shown here).

Star Roses and Plants

Available in three colors — Lavender, Pink (pictured) and White — this series has very good disease resistance and excellent flowering from spring until fall. It maintains its compact habit in the landscape.

Suntory Flowers

Petunia Surfinia Suntory

Surfinia celebrates its 30th anniversary with the addition of this new bicolor novelty. Bright purple blooms show off their stable star pattern in a compact, mounded habit. Works well in hanging baskets and planters.

Florist Holland

There are two new introductions to the Garvinea Garden Gerberas line — Classic Femmy and Sweet Frosting (shown here). They flower from early spring until first frost, and each plant reportedly can produce up to 100 flowers. Bees, butterflies and other pollinators love them.

Schoneveld Breeding

Cyclamen Donatello - Schoneveld


The new Donatello series is made up of seven different colors (‘Donatello Deep Red Wine’ is shown here). This silver leaf beauty has uniform flowering and is best for summer cultivation. Recommended for 2 ½-inch, 4-inch and quart production.

Green Fuse Botanicals

This new unique color addition to the Marineland series is compact and early flowering. Its abundant color works well in mixed combinations and it can take the summer heat. It is recommended for 4- to 6-inch containers and well as 8- to 12-inch bowls.


This new addition to the FanciFillers series has attractive silver foliage that just begs to be touched. Thanks to its texture, mounding habit and size, ‘Silver Strand’ will stand out in mixed combinations. It is a heat lover that is drought tolerant.

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