Vaughn’s View: Bountiful and durable recipe combinations-Part 2 By VAUGHN FLETCHER

Costa Season Premier Trial

In a previous article I highlighted specific breeder recipe combination baskets that demonstrated the noteworthy attributes of visual impact; resilience; floriferousness; component timing; balance; and heat, humidity, and rain tolerance. This second article describes additional recipe combinations that manifested the attributes listed above.

The combinations were planted week 49/50 and moved to the trial garden week 7. My previous May and June articles were based on my week 9 trial visit. I returned to the trial week 18 and during this nine-week period the combination baskets were exposed to excessive rain, high humidity and high day and nighttime temperatures. The trial consisted of experimental, current and new breeder recipes for 2024. Many of these will be in multiple regional trials this summer and, based on the overall presentation and environmental resilience in this trial, I expect to see similar performance results.

1. Combo Inspiration

Selecta One

This experimental recipe includes scaevola ‘Fairy Blue’, petunia ‘Bee’s Knees’ and the new petchoa ‘EnViva Pink’. This recipe was created to demonstrate the flower size, vigor, weather tolerance, color retention, flower saturation and brightness of this new petchoa series introduction. I highlighted the outstanding performance of the ‘EnViva Pink’ in my June Costa trial article.

The components scaevola ‘Fairy Blue’ and petunia ‘Bee’s Knees’ add contrast, texture and comparable resilience. The varieties in this experimental recipe are season extenders and will provide prolific flowering throughout the summer and early fall.

2. Passion Combo Valentine’s Day Mix


Passion Combo Valentines Day Mix from WesthoffThe components of this experimental Passion Combo recipe are calibrachoa ‘Calitastic Bright Purple’, ‘Calitastic White’ and calibrachoa ‘Calibasket Glamorous’. These varieties were consistent in vigor, floriferousness, brightness, color range and weather tolerance.

The Calibasket series offers a range of colors with yellow throats and bicolored and multicolored petals. The Calitastic series is comprised of bicolors, stars and stripes, creating polychromatic flower patterns that can be mixed and matched with the Calibasket varieties and many other genera to create exciting combinations.

3. Kwik Kombo Bandolista Go Coconut Mix 

Syngenta Flowers


This new Kwik Kombo Duo for 2024 consists of lantana ‘Bandolista Coconut’ and lantana ‘Bandolista Pineapple’. This combination demonstrated a semi-trailing habit, vigor, lustrous foliage and uniformity, which is emblematic of the four colors in the series. Pineapple, Mango, Coconut and Red Chili were introduced last year, and these Bandolista varieties add a semi-trailing series to the extensive Syngenta lantana portfolio.

We have a multitude of lantana series and stand-alone varieties available, and just in the last few years we have seen the introduction of new selections with a semi-trailing habit, a prolific flower canopy, and tighter internodes with a more mounded presentation as demonstrated by the Bandolista series.

4. Trixi Whimsical Wonder

Selecta One

 TRIXI WHIMSICAL WONDER by Selecta OneThis new Trixi recipe is comprised of nemesia ‘Whimsy Deep Rose’, ‘Whimsy Red’ and ‘Whimsy Yellow’. This is a new class for Selecta and offers a series for the shoulder season in early to late spring to provide color, cold tolerance, and a range of varieties to mix and match in spring containers. Five additional colors will be offered for 2024: White, Orange Sunset, Deep Rose, Red and Yellow.

This basket recipe demonstrated the features and benefits of compactness, large florets, uniformity, and outstanding heat and rain tolerance. We have a plethora of nemesia series in the market, and the Whimsy series, based on performance in the Costa trial, offers an excellent alternative and deserves consideration.

5. Confetti Garden Cupcake Party

Dümmen Orange

Confetti Garden Cupcake Party by Dümmen OrangeThis new mono species Confetti Garden Recipe for 2024 is comprised of portulaca ‘Cupcake Cherry Baby’, ‘Cupcake Yellow Chrome Improved’, and ‘Cupcake Carrot Improved’ for 2024. The improvements are brighter colors and extended daily flowering. Dümmen Orange offers the Cupcake Upright series and the semi-trailing Cupcake series. This Confetti Garden recipe demonstrated the prolific flowering, flower size and semi trialing habit of the improved Cupcake varieties for 2024.

As our summers become increasingly warmer, portulaca baskets or mixed containers will offer outstanding heat and drought tolerance, floriferousness, and resilience. Multiple flower breeders offer a wide range of habits and color patterns to chose from, and the Cupcake series, introduced in 2012, has made varietal improvements every year to the semi-trailing and upright forms.

6. Mixmaster Peace of Cake

Ball FloraPlant

MixMaster Peace of Cake by Ball FloraPlantThis new multi-species Mixmaster introduction for 2024 incorporates calibrachoa ‘Cabaret Strawberry Parfait’, double petunia ‘Vogue Pink’, and verbena ‘Firehouse White’. This is a subtle color composition with diverse flower forms, sizes and textures. The reflective power and vigor of the verbena ‘Firehouse White’, which is a component in many of the MixMaster recipes, works well in the soft color palette of this recipe.

The verbena Firehouse is a mounded, vigorous series with minimal cycling and is available in twelve solids and bicolors, including the new Peppermint for 2024. Double petunia Vogue series was introduced last year and was utilized this spring in many mixed baskets and containers. The features of this series are earliness, a mounded habit, excellent branching, flower stability and intense color saturation. The early flowering, programmable calibrachoa Cabaret series is comprised of a wide range of solids and bicolors and eight new colors for 2024.

7. Catharanthus Soirée Double Mix

Suntory Flowers

Catharanthus Soirée Double Mix from Suntory

This Soirée Double mix combines the three colors in the series: Pink, White and Orchid. You rarely see this series used in baskets, but I included this basket combination to demonstrate the uniform flower size, distinctive double flowers, flower position, presentation and outstanding heat, humidity and rain tolerance of this series. The varieties are not new, but they have won many trial awards the last few years for their overall summer performance. Production application is quarts, gallons and mixed containers.

8. Kwik Kombo Lantana Bandolista Hot Chili Mix 

Syngenta Flowers

Kwik Kombo Lantana Bandolista Hot ChilI Mix by Syngenta FlowersThe lantana Bandolista series was introduced last year and demonstrated an outstanding mounded and semi-trailing habit in production programs this spring. The colors in this new Kwik Kombo for 2024 are ‘Bandolista Coconut’ and ‘Bandolista Red Chili’, and they produced large vibrant umbels that were positioned above the mounded foliage canopy producing a prolific flower display. The performance of these two varieties is consistent with Mango and Pineapple, the other two colors in the series. The Syngenta lantana portfolio is extensive and this semi-trailing series augments the diversity of the program. I highlighted the color saturation and exceptional branching of the series in my Costa annual article last summer.

9. Stop the Bus — Petchoa Supercal Combination 


Stop the Bus — Petchoa Supercal Combination by SakataThis experimental mono species includes petchoa ‘SuperCal Royal Red’ and ‘SuperCal Premium Yellow Sun’. Petunia performance declines in the Florida environment as the spring season progresses, but I thought it important to show the weather tolerance, flower size and vibrancy of the SuperCals in this basket trial. The SuperCal color kit recipes are entered in many regional trials and, as I travel to many sites in mid to late August to evaluate the top basket performers, the petchoa SuperCal combinations are continually at the top of my list. The colors in the series are unique and offer a palette with application for the spring, summer and fall seasons.

10. Midnight in the Garden

Proven Winners

Midnight in the Garden from Proven WinnersThis mono-species combination of petunia ‘Supertunia Bordeaux’, petunia ‘Supertunia Latte’, and petunia ‘Supertunia Mini Vista Midnight’, introduced last year for the 2023 spring season, is not in the bundled combination kits for 2024, but the performance of this petunia combination was impressive and I thought it important to show the luxuriant flower canopy and weather tolerance of the varieties, especially in the extreme environmental conditions of south Florida. The Supertunias and Supertunia Mini Vistas are ubiquitous in our industry and for good reason. They offer production versatility, an exceptional range of colors, flower color stability and proven summer performance.

11. Trixi Tight Sleep

Selecta One

TRIXI TIGHT SHIP by Selecta OneThis new duo species Trixi recipe for 2024 consists of phlox ‘Gisele Red’ and sanvitalia ‘Tsavo Compact Yellow 23’. This is a season extender with summer hardiness, vigor and a floriferous flower canopy. The interspecific Gisele series offers a mounded habit, large non-fading flower clusters, powdery mildew resistance, production versatility and highly saturated colors. The Gisele series has been in multiple trials since its introduction and has become an integral component in many spring programs. ‘Gisele Red’ may have the most intense red pigmentation of any annual on the market. This is a plant that cannot be ignored, demands attention, and when combined with the trailing and durable sanvitalia ‘Tsavo Compact Yellow 23’, creates an dynamic combination that performs under extreme summer conditions.

12. Passion Combo Lobelia Rift Mix 


Passion Combo Lobelia Rift Mix by WesthoffWesthoff is no stranger to lobelia breeding with the introduction of the Hot series in 2003 and new color additions the past few years. This is one of the most heat tolerant and popular lobelias in the market. The Rift series, consisting of ‘Rift Blue’ and ‘Rift Purple’, was introduced in 2022 and demonstrated the same superior performance in multiple trials last year. The series was in many programs this spring and was impressive with well-defined and unique flower patterns splashed with white, creating dramatic, eye-catching flowers. Additional attributes of these two colors are a mounded habit, dense branching and prolific flowering late into the summer. The Passion Combo Rift Mix was the top-performing lobelia series in the Costa Premier trial this year

13. Opera Fire and Ice

American Takii

Opera Fire and Ice by American TakiiThe petunia F1 Opera seed series offers one of the most vigorous, spreading and floriferous petunia classes in the industry. It is comprised of 11 colors, including the new Supreme Rose for 2024. This Fire and Ice combination consists of ‘Opera Lilac Ice’, ‘Opera Purple Vein’ and ‘Opera Raspberry Ice’. I included this recipe to highlight the superb weather tolerance, flower size and vigorous trailing habit, as well as the colorful and abundant flower presentation. I have observed and evaluated this series for many years in trials sites and spring production programs, and it offers production and consumer versatility in mixed baskets, patio combinations, window planters and landscape beds.

14. Combo Inspiration

Ball FloraPlant

Combo Inspiration from Ball FloraPlantThis experimental combination, consisting of petunia ‘SureShot Red’, calibrachoa ‘Cabaret White Improved’, and verbena ‘Firehouse Peppermint’, was created to highlight this new red and white bicolor verbena. It manifested vigor, durability and brightness that is indicative of the series. The bicolor flowers of this new introduction were well defined and sharp. I have this verbena in my summer container trial, and it demonstrated excellent branching and prolific flowering as it wove its way through the mixed plantings in early June.

The SureShot petunia series, consisting of three core colors and three novelties, was introduced for the spring 2023 season and offers a uniform and well-branched habit with a consistent flowering window. The series was utilized in quart programs, spring combos and mixed baskets this spring. The calibrachoa Cabaret series, consisting of 25 varieties including eight new colors for 2023, is an outstanding component in many of the mono and multi MixMaster recipes.


Vaughn Fletcher is president of Fletcher Consulting. He has been in the horticulture industry since 1971, working in many areas including landscaping, garden center and greenhouse production, greenhouse and nursery sales and sales management. He can be reached at