My Top Five for 2022
Preparation for spring 2022 is well under way, or already completed for some growers. Questions such as “what do I have space for?, what new varieties should I add?, and what varieties should I cease to offer?” are necessary for consideration each and every year. Here, I will try to identify a few varieties that in my opinion are some of the top new industry introductions for the 2022 season — in no particular order.
DAHLIA ‘MEGABOOM PASSION FRUIT’
This series (new in 2021, three new colors for 2022, taking the series to four colors) from Dümmen Orange breeding seems to combine some of the best of the best aspects in dahlias on the market today. Superior branching, extra large flowers and a reduced peduncle length are the three key attributes of this series. In my opinion, the reduced peduncle length is the critical piece setting this series apart from others. We see high vigor plants but reduced worry over splitting, top heavy flower breakage, and unsightly “stems” between the foliage and flowers. Passion Fruit is particularly attractive — a dark rose with yellow center makes a beautiful bicolor that fades gracefully as the flowers age. I believe these will be best used in large mixed combinations and patio containers.
MANDEVILLA ‘SUN PARASOL ORIGINAL SUNBEAM’
A breakthrough new color in mandevilla breeding from Suntory Flowers — a yellow! Ever the skeptic, I was prepared for ‘Sun Parasol Original Sunbeam’ to be lacking something — growth habit, flower power, etc. I was absolutely wrong! It endured my “neglect” test in the breeder sample trials in my backyard, tolerating the occasional watering and fertilizing regime everything else was subjected to. Flower power was excellent, growth habit was very good — it had strong basal branching and climbed as well as trailed over the sides of the hanging basket. I was impressed with the thought of how impactful this variety would be as a centerpiece in a large patio container if a trellis structure was provided! I particularly appreciated that the color was stable and rich all season long.
SALVIA ‘HUMMINGBIRD FALLS’
We’ve never before seen a guarantica hybrid salvia with a trailing form, until now, with Plant Haven bringing us ‘Hummingbird Falls’. Offered exclusively through Dümmen Orange for 2022, this variety has all the characteristics we have come to expect from a guarantica hybrid — glossy foliage, outstanding performance in heat and humidity, and strong calyx and stem colors to match the vivid dark blue blooms. I had one customer describe this variety simplistically: “Oh, it’s a trailing ‘Black and Blue’!” While the breeders may not appreciate that basic explanation, it certainly helps describe the toughness of this plant. I have repeatedly seen plants finishing with very high vigor in different trials, so I anticipate application may be best suited for large mixed containers (with other high vigor genetics), or mono hanging baskets. I think growers and retailers should also promote the pollinator features of this new variety, as that continues to be of high demand and focus of consumers.
PETUNIA ‘SUPERTUNIA VISTA JAZZBERRY’
Whenever Proven Winners introduces a new Vista petunia, it’s my opinion that broker reps and growers probably ought to pay attention. The Vista series is tried and true for performance, vigor, flower power and brand awareness, among other qualities. Vista Jazzberry is no exception. Its performance has been strong at grower trials across the country, and brings a unique purple toned flower color to the Vista series that we’ve never had before. Application for the Vista series of petunias is limitless; growers can regulate or trim to keep in check in quarts or 4-inch pots, and also can be used in large mono or mixed patio containers or hanging baskets. Furthermore, the landscape presentation with these varieties is outstanding, and I look forward to adding Jazzberry to some of my own home landscape uses.
PETUNIA E3 EASY WAVE SERIES
Wave from PanAmerican Seed has been a powerful, recognizable brand for over 25 years. I still remember having a “Ride the Wave Rave” t-shirt as a pajama nightgown when I was a little girl! The petunia E3 Easy Wave series is no exception, and is proving to be a breakthrough in two key areas: earliness to bloom and less PGR usage. The E3s are currently an additional sub series to the original Easy Waves, but the breeders tell us the intention is to eventually offer the complete color range in E3; I wonder if we may see an eventual phase out of the original Easy Waves. Regardless of how PanAmerican chooses to handle the rollouts, the seven new colors for 2022 are very exciting. I see the biggest opportunity with the perfectly matched ‘E3 Easy Wave Blue’, ‘E3 Easy Wave Red’ and ‘E3 Easy Wave White’, to create patriotic landscapes, hanging baskets, and premium packs alike.
I had intended to keep my new variety mentions limited to five, but I would be remiss if I did not include a variety that is not brand new, but one with an important promotion near and dear to my heart. ‘Confetti Garden Summer Solstice’ is a trio mix including calibrachoas ‘Bloomtastic Rose Quartz’, ‘Bloomtastic Yellow’ and ‘Bloomtastic Pink Flare’. A portion of the proceeds from every sale of this mix contribute to education funds for the surviving children of my late coworker and dear friend, Matt Willoughby, who passed away unexpectedly earlier this year. The Bloomtastic genetics have proven heat tolerance and performance in my territory as well as nationwide, and were favorites of Matt’s. This combo can be considered for production in countless applications: patio containers, single pots and hanging baskets alike. No grower or consumer would be disappointed with the addition of this combination!