Outstanding New Varieties By Jasmina Dolce

Last month, we gave you an overview of all the trends in marketing, packaging and merchandising we picked up along the California coast at the 2011 Spring Trials. In this issue, we're focusing on new variety introductions.

With hundreds of new varieties on display, it was hard but we managed to handpick our favorite intros from all the breeder companies. Take a look and see which ones grab your attention; you might want to add them to your growing program next year!


Bred by NuFlora, Ecke Ranch added a new color to its argyranthemum Comet series: 'Comet Peppermint'. An interesting blend of pink and white petals shows nicely on this upright, mounding plant.


Green Fuse Botanicals introduced a new series of rex begonias this year: Shadow King. Available in four interesting color combinations — Moonlight (pictured), Rothko, Green Envy and Strawberry Lime — they will excite indoor gardeners as they perform very well indoors and in shady areas.

Belgian Mum

'Veritas Yellow' is one of the many new introductions to GroLink's no-pinch, ball-shaped line of Belgian mums. It has dark golden-yellow flowers and a nice round shape. 'Veritas Yellow' has excellent flexibility and blooms midseason in the North with a slight delay in the South.


Under the Sea is an interesting new series of coleus offered by Hort Couture. Named for its coral-like appearance, these new varieties boast exotic, deeply lobed leaved in electric colors. The series also has a great story: It was bred by students at the University of Saskatchewan, Canada, and a portion of the profits will go right back to the classroom.


Cherry Star and Grape Punch are two new striking introductions to Proven Winners' Superbells collection. 'Superbells Cherry Star' has a unique flower color and pattern, with a stable "yellow star" that radiates across petals. 'Superbells Grape Punch' exhibits that same eye-catching bicolor as the other Punch varieties, with a large purple flower and deep velvet ring around a yellow eye.

Westhoff expanded its popular Celebration line with a few new introductions. 'Celebration Latte Macchiato' has bright cream flowers with a brown ring. This variety flowers early and has an upright habit.


The award-winning collection of Royal Hawaiian colocasia was on display again this year at PlantHaven. Breeder John Cho's latest introcution, 'Black Coral' is an outstanding addition with its deep-black glossy foliage and electric blue veins.


Mystic (left) is a new series bred in New Zealand and offered by Cohen Propagation Nurseries. Nine total varieties are available, all with large single flowers and dark chocolate-brown foliage. Suitable for container production, they have a vigorous standing habit.

DŸmmen USA also introduced a new series of dahlia, XXL. As the name demonstrates, these varieties have gigantic flowers — almost 6 inches wide! These plants love large containers and can tolerate the heat. 'XXL Paraiso' (right) was one of our favorites, with its giant bright-pink petals and vivid yellow center.


New Day is a new series bred by PanAmerican Seed. It was bred to hold better at retail and produce beefier plants. Although each color in the series showed nicely, 'New Day Orange Clear' wowed us with its bright and perfectly clear orange flowers.


'Kahori' (left) is an exciting new variety by Fides North America. The strongly scented flowers are a pink-lilac color and make for a nice display above silver leaves. 'Kahori' has a compact growing habit and prefers to be grown outdoors.

PlantHaven's 'Starburst' (right) shows delightfully patterned flowers with cherry red and white stripes. This unique selection is ideal for early to midseason sales, and consumers will love the fragrant blooms.


Last year, we loved Hem Genetics' award-winning 'Twinny Peach'. And this year, they have added to the series with 'Twinny Rose', which is just as pretty as the rest of this double-flowered series. An excellent garden performer, Twinny is tolerant to hot and wet weather conditions and has a long garden shelf life.


Although the Elegance series of regal geraniums is not a new introduction, Ecke Ranch continues to expand this collection that delivers early spring color and uniform habit across the varieties. New this year, 'Elegance Cherry Blush' boasts soft-pink flowers with bright red veins and a white center. It will definitely have a high impact and instant consumer appeal.

New Guinea Impatiens

Danziger introduced a brand new series of heat-tolerant New Guinea impatiens at this year's trials. Sun Harmony is a more compact series, yet still has that New Guinea power. 'Sun Harmony Purple' was our personal favorite, but we're told there will be more colors added in the future.


At Plug Connection, we were introduced to the new Drakensberg daisy. Bred from a tough, wild species of gerbera from the snowy peaks of the Drakensberg mountains in South Africa, this series is disease resistant and performs very well in the landscape. Medium-sized flowers adorn elegant, yet sturdy, stems. They will flower from spring through the first frosts.


'SuperCal Pink Ice' is a new introduction to Sakata's series of petunia-calibrachoa hybrids. SuperCal is an ideal combination with large flowers, unique colors and strong petals, not to mention plants are self cleaning due to non-sticky foliage.

Ornamental Corn

'Field of Dreams' is an eye-catching variety by Floranova with a very strong white stripe running through the pink-tinged green leaves. It will make quite the statement as a centerpiece in mixed containers, or even in a bedding display.

Pot mum

Bred by Yoder Mums, we were introduced to unique 'Pittsburgh Purple' at the Syngenta Flowers stop. This new variety has an interesting decorative quill form and is sure to have great curb appeal. Growers will appreciate its versatility in production.


A true breakthrough in breeding, the 3D Daisy series bred by Selecta has the same culture as a traditional osteospermum but with a double flower. Gardeners will be thrilled with this osteospermum that boasts an open bloom … all day and all night!

This year, DŸmmen USA added seven new varieties to its already existing Summertime series. 'Summertime Sweet Sunrise' grabbed our attention immediately with its neon yellow petals that fade to purple in the center.


'Nature Rose Picotee' is the first picotee color in American Takii's Nature series. Its plant habit is identical to other colors in the series, but the flower size is a bit larger. The best characteristic of this strong landscape performer is that the many vivid flowers are continuously produced by each plant, keeping the garden floriferous with color.

The Inspire series bred by Benary now has a total of 29 colors available, having added six new colors this year. Inspire pansies handle the weather well and require no PGRs. With quite a variety of unique colors on display, it's difficult to choose a favorite. However, 'Inspire Blue Velvet' shined with an interesting flower color fading from almost black to bright blue.

Floranova introduced a new series of trailing pansies from seed. Freefall comes in a range of five lovely colors, all with a vigorous spreading habit and medium-sized flowers.


At last year's trials, Suntory began characterizing some of its series by their ideal applications (mounding, trailing, etc). The Surfinia Bouquet series has a floriferous and dense habit, creating a compact cluster of flowers. New to the series, 'Surfinia Bouquet Red' (left) exhibits a true red color atop a charming bouquet of flowers.

One variety that stopped us in our tracks was Fides's 'Fortunia Purple Heart' (right). This is a must-see in person; our photography does it no justice. This variety boasts stunning color, light purple on the outside of the flower with dark-purple veins reaching to the center.


'Lanai Twister Pink' (left) is one of the most unique verbena introductions we've come across. The white to light pink flower clusters have a vivid pink center unlike any other verbena on the market. The Lanai series has excellent mildew tolerance and is an great early spring season plant due to its frost tolerance.

Another unique verbena introduction was at the Westhoff stop. 'Estrella Salmon Star' (right) is a perfect companion to last year's 'Estrella Voodoo Star'. It has large, star-shaped salmon and cream flowers on semi-trailing, compact plants. Estrella is ideal for small pots and baskets.

Jasmina Dolce

Jasmina Dolce is managing editor of GPN magazine. She can be reached at [email protected]

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