Flamboyant 2022 Petunia Introductions
In one of my articles last summer I described the petunia breeding evolution and and their development and then followed up with a description of many exciting and dynamic petunia introductions for 2021.
The progression and introduction of vivacious and unique petunias continues for 2022. The petunia varieties I have highlighted in this article were in multiple regional trials this summer and demonstrated unique flower patterns, ostentatious colors and excellent summer performance. These new petunia varieties were introduced by multiple breeders and were on display in containers, baskets and trial beds.
‘TEA INDIGO VEIN’
Beekenkamp offers a diverse portfolio of genetics including petunias, begonias, celosias, dahlias, kalanchoes and poinsettias. The vegetative petunia Tea series was bred by David Kerley and Co. and is represented and distributed by Beekenkamp. I have been following the development and performance of this series since their entry in summer trials in 2018. In light of the plethora of seed and vegetative petunia series in the market, it has taken time for this series to gain any semblance of market share, but with continued exposure, trialing, new and exciting introductions, and overall performance, more suppliers have added this series to their product list for 2022. There are now 15 varieties including Indigo Vein, which I am highlighting. The Tea series offers a wide range of flower patterns consisting of solids, bicolors and morn types. The series is daylength neutral, with a vigorous and mounded habit. Indigo Vein caused quite a stir in the trial gardens this summer because of its unique veined flower pattern. Its flowers with deep purple stars and strong purple veination made it one of the most striking and distinctive petunias in the summer trials! The series, with its diverse mix of unusual colors, will make outstanding combinations in containers or hanging baskets.
‘HEADLINER ENCHANTED SKY’
Selecta continues to expand the Sky series and Enchanted Sky is a wonderful addition with white speckled rose-pink flowers with a white throat. Many sources describe the flower pattern slightly differently, and this is justifiable since color is relative and predicated on environmental conditions. Enchanted Sky manifested floriferousness, a stable flower pattern, and minimal petal shrinkage under extreme high day and night temperatures throughout the summer in all regions of the country. The speckled pattern will decrease as the summer progresses, but the vibrant multicolored flowers more than make up for that condition with stable and eye-catching petals. The traits of this new selection conform to the series, which are earliness and a mounded semi-vigorous habit. Enchanted Sky was trialed in baskets, containers and beds throughout the country, and was a component in my container trial where it flowered prolifically and consistently. There are now six unique colors in the Sky series for 2022.
The Hells series returns in a big way for 2022, following deregulation of the AIDFR gene by the USDA, with six varieties which include three original colors: Flamin’ Rose, Fruit Punch and Glow, and three new introductions: Forge, Ember Red and Heat. I saw Flamin’ Rose for the first time when it was introduced in 2013, and I was impressed with the fluorescence and neon color of the flowers. At that time it was unrivaled in its intensity and luminosity. It is exciting to see some original varieties returning and new petunia introductions for 2022 from multiple breeders with a mix of orange tones. I saw the new Hells series early this summer at the Young’s Plant Farm trial and at Plantpeddler and Raker-Roberta’s in late August. My favorite was Forge, with its eye-catching fluorescent orange red petals and its compact and trailing growth habit. There are six bright and vivid colors, as well as the ‘Hells Fury Mix’, to choose from for 2022. The retail appeal and sell through of these new colors and their application in mixed patio containers and baskets will be outstanding.
‘CRAZYTUNIA MAYAN SUNSET’
There are now over 50 varieties of Crazytunias on the market, and the new and improved Mayan Sunset was one of the most striking and audacious petunias in multiple trials with its polychromatic orange-coral-pink petals with a light yellow throat. The color retention, dense habit, durability and prolific flower canopy were consistent in Southern and Northern trials. Mayan Sunset was a top ten trial performer in the Welby trial, and the photo shown was taken at the Lucas Greenhouse container trial where it was stunning. It also received a high rating in the Raker-Roberta’s trial. This variety is unlisted in the new catalog, but unrooted cuttings will be available from Vivero and Plant Source International and liners from Mast Young Plants.
‘SANGUNA BANANA CANDY’
This addition to the Sanguna line for 2022 demonstrated vigor, resilience, and an abundant flower count in multiple trial sites, and it flowered prolifically in my Kansas City area container trial throughout the summer under extreme environmental conditions, which included high day and night temperatures, high humidity, rain and wind. The large flowers are a bright yellow with a dark tan throat, and in the multiple trials I visited this summer Banana Candy demonstrated durability and a vigorous but well-branched habit. This variety, with its bright and vivid flowers, will be an important component in mixed containers and baskets. There are 21 Sanguna varieties consisting of three vigor classes: compact-medium, medium-vigorous, and vigorous (which includes Banana Candy).
VOGUE DOUBLE SERIES
This is the first double-flowering petunia series from Ball FloraPlant, and it was entered in Southern and Northern trials. I saw the entire series at Young’s Plant Farm in early June, at the Metrolina trial in mid August, and at Mast Young Plants and Raker-Roberta’s in late August, where Pink was the highest rated color in the series. At the Penn State trial the series demonstrated excellent uniformity and an excellent performance rating in the early August evaluations. This double series has outstanding potential for mixed containers and baskets. The series is self-cleaning and floriferous, and it produces consistent double flowers with tight internodes. It manifested superior heat tolerance late in the season. I was impressed by the vigor and flower coverage in the center of the plants. The six new varieties are: Blue, Lavender Vein, Lemon Berry, Pink, Red and White. The photo is from the Metrolina visit.
‘SUPERTUNIA VISTA JAZZBERRY’
What’s flamboyant about ‘Supertunia Vista Jazzberry’? There are many adjectives to describe this new introduction for 2022. It has eye-popping and vibrant color, flower stability, outstanding floriferousness, and heat tolerance, and it demonstrated excellent vigor but a more constrained and compact habit than the other Vista varieties in every trial that I visited. This variety demands attention, and these attributes were on display in the Texas A&M field trial in late July, where it manifested the most prolific flower canopy of all the petunia entries. It was the most eye-catching petunia in the Raker-Roberta’s trial in late August; the photo is from that trial. There are now six Supertunia Vista petunia varieties for 2022.
‘BLANKET SILVER SURPRISE’
Green Fuse Botanicals
The Blanket series offers some of the most weather-tolerant petunias in the industry, and year after year they continue to provide a vigorous and colorful canopy of self-cleaning and prolific multiflora flowers. When I visited trial sites in late August and early September, this was one of very few series that continued to provide unequaled performance. The entire Blanket series offers striking and brilliant flower patterns, and the new Silver Surprise is one of the most unique petunia introductions for 2022. This variety produces a combination of white, silver, lavender, purple and pink flowers from one plant. It flowers slightly earlier than the series with a more compact growth, and as it grows and matures produces a polychromatic plant that is luminous and stunning. In trials the past two years there has been no color reversal and the color percentages have been stable. The photo shown was at Mast Young Plants in late August, and it was just as floriferous in the Raker-Roberta’s trial a day later. This is a distinctive and exceptional color pattern that should have outstanding retail appeal. It has great production application in mixed patio combinations and baskets.
‘SUPERCAL PREMIUM ORANGE SUNSET’
The interspecific petchoa SuperCal Premium series offers distinctive, impactful and hot colors, and is augmented with four new introductions for 2022: Pearl White, Purple Dawn, Yellow Sun and Sunset Orange. All four varieties were in multiple trial sites and demonstrated strong vigor, a mounded growth habit and large flowers, which are indicative of the series. I could have focused on any of the four new introductions, which offer a wonderful palette of vibrant colors, but the variety that grabbed my attention and exploded with excitement and energy was Sunset Orange with shades of yellow and orange flowers with a dark throat. It was the No. 1 favorite in the Plantpeddler trial and manifested prolific flowering in the Mast and Raker-Roberta’s trials in late August. This variety garnered a full page spread in the Sakata catalog, which is justified based on the trials this summer. The SuperCal Citrus kit for 2022 consists of Pearl White, Yellow Sun and Sunset Orange. This variety will have incredible retail appeal for spring, summer and fall programs.
‘CRAZYTUNIA PATRICK STAR’
This new Crazytunia has not received as much attention as other new introductions for 2022, but based on my trial visits and observations it was one of the best performing petunias in many regions. In my trial visit to Metrolina in mid-August it manifested the most stable and prolific flower canopy of all the Crazytunias in the trial. It received a superior rating in the Raker-Roberta’s trial, and it was one of the most heat-tolerant, stable and floriferous petunias in my container trial. The flowers were well defined with magenta and white stripes, non fading, with minimal petal shrinkage and superior weather tolerance. The photo was taken in my container trial in late August. Production application will consist of quarts, mixed patio containers and baskets.
Last year, Syngenta introduced ‘Itsy Magenta’, which was trialed throughout the country and received superlative performance reviews. Many growers used it this season in quart production, mixed containers and hanging baskets, where it demonstrated its application as a filler and trailer. The flowers are small, but the plant makes up for this with an abundance of flowers, a tight growth habit and incredible weather tolerance. Syngenta has duplicated the attributes of Magenta with ‘Itsy White’ for 2022. This variety was entered in multiple trials and received superior ratings. I saw it in the Southern and Northern trials, and I grew it in containers this season. It is a consistently floriferous and durable petunia that continues to flower profusely through early fall. This is an excellent cascading variety that requires no deadheading and will make a wonderful accent plant. It will be a viable option or potential substitution for sutera in many applications. I attended the Metrolina trial in mid August, and one of the top-performing baskets there was the Kwik Kombo Itsy Bitsy Mix. This multi-species combination comprises petunia ‘Itsy White’, ‘Itsy Magenta’ and ‘Shortcake Blueberry’. It was well balanced and demonstrated excellent flower timing, comparable growth habits and superior heat tolerance.