Bold, Flashy and Durable 2021 Summer Trials
I completed my trial visits in mid-September, and it has been another extraordinary year with a wide range of new and exciting annuals for 2022. This article will focus on some of the current and new breeder designer recipes in the late summer trials. My choices are based on performance evaluations in August and September.
I chose the adjectives bold, flashy and durable to describe the designer recipes, which stood the test of time and demonstrated vivid and exceptionally eye-catching color combinations with balance, timing, uniformity, flower stability and floriferousness. These dynamic and exciting recipes combine monochromatic, analogous, complementary and polychromatic color schemes and create a diverse color palette that will generate exceptional retail appeal.
CONFETTI GARDEN TIKTOK TIME FOR SUMMER
This Confetti recipe was introduced last year and was in regional trials this summer. I was impressed with its vibrant colors, durability, striking component contrast, balance and flower canopy. It combines these varieties: the interspecific petunia ‘Durabloom Watermelon’, calibrachoa ‘TikTok Blue’ and calibrachoa ‘Bloomtastic Yellow’. The individual components were in multiple trials. The interspecific petunia Durablooms are the most vigorous petunias in Dümmen Orange’s portfolio. The series has demonstrated exceptional durability, flower stability, floriferousness and heat tolerance throughout the country. Many of the varieties were in the University of Georgia basket trial early in the season and in container and trial beds that I visited in Colorado, New Jersey, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Texas and Iowa later in the summer. I grew many of them in my Kansas City container trial as well. What impressed me was the flower power and vigor of all the colors. The calibrachoa TikTok series debuted last year with four colors: Rose, Blue, Grape and White. The yellow Starburst flower pattern with dark centers is one of the most eye-catching and high-impact calibrachoas in the market. The calibrachoa ‘Bloomtastic Yellow’ demonstrates the attributes of the series: mega flowers, vigor, prolific flower canopy and exceptional heat tolerance. I observed and evaluated many yellow calibrachoas in the trials this summer and ‘Bloomtastic Yellow’, based on performance in numerous regional sites, was the brightest yellow of all calibrachoa entries. When you combine the attributes of these plant classes in a designer recipe you produce an all-star. The photo is from the Lucas Greenhouse container trial in my mid-August visit.
KWIK KOMBO ITSY BITSY
This new Kwik Kombo for 2022 will provide consumers with three top performing components: petunia ‘Blueberry Shortcake’, petunia ‘Itsy Magenta’, which was introduced last year, and petunia ‘Itsy White’ for 2022. I highlighted the novelty petunia ‘Blueberry Shortcake’ when it was introduced a few years ago. It is a standalone variety with superior color stability, outstanding summer performance and a distinctive bicolor flower pattern. Petunia ‘Itsy Magenta’ created excitement in the trials with its abundance of vibrant mini flowers, and petunia ‘Itsy White’ has duplicated that performance with exceptional color coverage, dense branching with a controlled habit. I grew ‘Itsy White’ in my container trial this year, and as of early October it is still blooming prolifically. ‘Itsy White’, based on similar flower size, color and form, will have application as a sub for sutera. This Kwik Kombo was one of the most colorful basket combinations in the Metrolina trial in early August.
TRIXI SKY’S THE LIMIT
This mono species combination, composed of petunias ‘Headliner Night Sky’, ‘Headliner Sky Blue’ and ‘Headliner White’, is not new but is a top seller and continues to perform and flower profusely throughout the summer in many regions. It combines the incomparable Night Sky with the Sky Blue, creating an
exciting monochromatic color scheme, and adding the Headliner White with its high value and reflective power ties the Trixi together creating a dynamic and bright recipe. The accompanying photo was from the Mast Young Plants trial on the last day of August.
BLACKBERRY TART MIX
Westhoff offers three calibrachoa Chameleon mixes for 2022: Fairytale Improved Mix, Rapunzel Mix and Blackberry Tart Mix, which I highlight here. It was one of the most floriferous, durable and heattolerant combination baskets in the Metrolina trial when I visited in mid August. This recipe incorporates the components Blackberry Pie and Tart Deco. These varieties were represented in multiple summer trials in beds, containers, and baskets in the southern and northern trial sites. Both varieties flowered prolifically and were strong performers in these trials with outstanding flower coverage. Tart Deco, with its vibrant and multicolored pattern, is one of the top sellers in the series and demonstrated exceptional heat tolerance and color stability. Blackberry Tart manifested outstanding flower coverage in the Metrolina trial beds and in container trials in the northern regions. The breeding and introduction of polychromatic and diverse flower patterns in calibrachoas has been fast and furious since Westhoff introduced the Chameleons in 2016. There are now more than 18 Chameleon varieties available with iridescent and unique tones that change with differing environmental conditions. The summer performance of the Chameleons and new calibrachoa introductions from multiple breeders is improving every year. This series gives you the opportunity to offer creative color combinations with incredible retail appeal. The photo is from the Metrolina trial in mid August.
This Suntory Mixer comprises three Soirée Kawaii catharanthus varieties: Red Shades, White Peppermint and Blueberry Kiss. It manifested what we expect from this series: balance, timing, low maintenance, excellent flower coverage, and unparalleled heat and drought tolerance. This series is adaptable in extremely hot conditions with extended flowering during the lower light conditions and decreasing night temperatures in the fall. The series is currently utilized in mixed containers and beds. However, the catharanthus Suntory mixes, Lady Liberty and Berry Blast, expand the production application of this series and will provide the consumer with a colorful combination with an upright and controlled growth habit, a prolific flower canopy, and — most importantly — a mix that will go the distance. The photo was taken at the Metrolina trial in August.
MIXMASTER BIG FLIRT
This multi-species sun combo MixMaster is a top seller in the program and for good reason. It combines the AAS winner verbena ‘Endurascape Pink Bicolor’, petunia ‘ColorRush Blue’ and the interspecific petchoa ‘SuperCal Pink Ice’. The deep blue of the petunia provides a striking contrast with the pink shades of the verbena and the petchoa. The soft and cool components were well balanced and manifested durability, foliage integrity, exceptional flowering and summer hardiness on the last day of August in the Mast Young Plants trial. The Big Flirt components have been in many summer trials the past few years and were prominent in many sites this summer. Their performance was consistent in all regions as you would expect from these exceptional varieties.
CONFETTI GARDEN SPARKLE PURPLE
This monochromatic multi species Confetti recipe contains petunia ‘Surprise Sparkle Purple’, petunia ‘Origami Burgundy’, and calibrachoa ‘Aloha Kona Sky Blue’. This is a stunning combination that manifests the texture and dark hue of ‘Origami Burgundy’, the speckled pattern of ‘Sparkle Purple’, and the tricolor flower petals of Kona Sky. These components are day length neutral, so this will provide early color for the retail market. The Sparkles are now composed of five colors and are components in four new Confetti Gardens for 2022. The petunia Double Origamis offer five colors for 2022, including two new colors: Red and White. The Classic Aloha Kona series now comprises 20 colors, including the new ‘Aloha Kona Dark Red’. The photo is from Lucas Greenhouse in late August.
Blind Love is a new National Recipe for 2022. Proven Winners has a rigorous testing program and enters many new combinations in multiple trials throughout the country. Blind Love is highlighted with a full-page spread in the 2022 Proven Winners recipe guide, and for good reason. It combines three exceptional components: petunia ‘Supertunia Lovie Dovie’, petunia ‘Supertunia Royal Magenta’ and verbena ‘Superbena Whiteout’. The recipe manifested what you would expect from a Proven Winners recipe — balance, timing, floriferousness, minimal maintenance and summer performance. The photo was taken at the Lucas Greenhouse container trial in mid August.
MIXMASTER PATRIOTIC HEART
This new sun-loving MixMaster recipe will provide heat and drought tolerance and continual flowering through the summer and early fall. The recipe was colorful and in fine form the first day of September in the Raker-Roberta’s trial. Flower breeders are creating more colorful and resilient recipes with angelonia components for good reason: they provide a recipe for success, are dynamic upright and trailing plants, and are summer survivors, which translates into success for the consumer. This mono species recipe combines these components: the new angelonia AngelMist spreading Dark Purple Improved with larger flowers and a more intense purple color, AngelMist White, and the upright ‘Archangel Cherry Red’ to provide the vertical element. The habit is dense, creating a rounded and full basket. The prolific flowers are large and vibrant and are positioned well above foliage.
CONFETTI GARDEN ENDURABLE BEAUTY
There are five Confetti Garden Endurables available for 2022: Beauty, Cerise, Cherry, Lilac and Pink. They were entered in multiple trials this summer. The Endurables incorporate the interspecific Durabloom petunias, interspecific Empress Sun verbenas, and the exceptional Bloomtastic calibrachoas. I highlighted Endurable Lilac in my July article from the late spring Costa Farms trial. Endurable Beauty, with its complementary colors of ‘Bloomtastic Yellow’, ‘Durabloom Hot Pink’ and ‘Empress Sun Compact Violet’, was eye-catching in the late summer trials. The timing, balance, flower size, floriferousness and heat tolerance were consistent with the entire Endurable Confetti Gardens series. The photo is from my Plant Peddler trial visit in mid August.
MIXMASTER TOUCH OF SUGAR
The petunia components of this new MixMaster for 2022 are ‘ColorRush Pink’ and ‘ColorRush White’. The ColorRush series was launched in 2017 with Pink and Blue. White, Purple and Watermelon Red were added a year later, and Merlot Star Improved, Red and Yellow have been added to the line for 2022. This is the most vigorous petunia series offered by BallFloraPlant with multiple applications in spring production programs, landscape utilization, and for consumers in larger containers and residential beds. I have followed the trial performance since 2016, and the series has been a top performer throughout the country, especially in trial beds and large containers and baskets. The attributes of the series include eye-catching colors, mounded habit, prolific flower canopy, vigor, excellent rain recovery and superior heat tolerance. There are three ColorRush sun combos available in 2022: Rush Hour, Tart Deco and Touch of Sugar. The accompanying photo was from the Mast Young Plants trial on the last day of August.
KWIK KOMBO CARITA SUMMER BERRY BLAST
The components of this mono species Kwik Kombo are angelonias ‘Carita Cascade White’, ‘Carita Cascade Deep Purple’ and ‘Carita Raspberry’. This is a heat-loving, summer survivor combination that definitely will provide color and performance well into fall. This Kwik Kombo was well balanced, produced a dense habit and flowered profusely. ‘Carita Cascade Deep Purple’ and ‘Carita Cascade White’ were both filler and spiller components in this Kwik Kombo and the upright ‘Carita Raspberry’ provided an excellent thriller. The photo was taken at the Colorado State trial in mid September.