Plant Celebration in the Northland
In August, I attended the annual Plantpeddler flower trial in northeast Iowa to evaluate many current and new introductions for 2021. I returned three weeks later, following extremely hot and humid weather conditions, to review the recipe combination baskets I had chosen for this article.
This was a significant year for Plantpeddler with a reorganized trial site and a 40th anniversary celebration of the company. Plantpeddler has become one of the largest liner producers in the country representing multiple breeding companies and offering a large selection of varieties and product sizes.
I focused this article on single and multispecies recipe combination baskets with different textures and color schemes that were displayed in a full sun exposure. The 12-inch baskets I selected consisted of Kwik Kombos, Trixis, DuraBellas and Passion Combos. I traveled to trial sites from Colorado to New Jersey this year, and of all these trials the Plantpeddler recipe basket trial was the most extensive. I selected current and new designer recipes that met the criteria for a successful and eye-catching display, including balance, proper timing, compatibility, longevity, creative color combinations and retail appeal.
I would like to thank Mike and Rachel Gooder and the Plantpeddler team for sharing information and insight, and creating an impressive and informative summer trial.
DURABELLA MAUI WOWIE
This single species mixture of calibrachoa Colibri Lemon, Plum and Cherry Lace manifested all the qualities you expect in the Colibri series. I was impressed with the vibrancy, timing, balance and floriferousness of the three varieties in this combination. Colibri was introduced as a compact, controlled growth series in 2017, and it has application in quarts, mixed containers, and baskets. It demonstrated exceptional flower power and excellent weather resistance. Malibu Pink and Mellow Yellow are new to the Colibri series for 2021, and both varieties have received trial recognition this summer.
DURABELLA RED WHITE & BLUEBERRY
Danziger has entered the designer recipe market with the introduction of the DuraBellas for 2021 consisting of 28 mono and multi-species combinations. This trial offered the best opportunity to evaluate many of these mixes. The components of Red White & Blueberry are petunia ‘Cascadia Red’, petunia ‘Ray Pistachio Creme’ and calibrachoa ‘Lia Blue’. The timing, uniformity and flowering of the three separate varieties was remarkable. The primary colors of red and blue with the neutral and unusual flower pattern and tones of the Pistachio Creme created an energized combination.
DURABELLA SPRING HAS SPRUNG
I have never highlighted a designer recipe comprised entirely of nemesia. I have, however, focused on specific Nesia varieties and their outstanding performance in the southern trials. The Nesia series comprises 10 varieties, including Tutti Frutti and Bananaberry for 2021. This DuraBella consists of nemesia Nesia Denim, Sunshine and Magenta.This is considered a spring basket recipe, but the color, vigor and timing were impressive late in the season. The fragrance was sweet, and the beauty of this combination was undeniable. The Nesias are one of the most heat- and weather-tolerant nemesia series in the market with multiple attributes including earliness, upright habit, bicolor and multicolored flowers and floriferousness.
KWIK KOMBO CRUSHED VELVET MIX
I have highlighted three current and three new Kwik Kombos for 2021. The first is Crushed Velvet, an early-season, cool, harmonious and monochromatic multi-species combination consisting of calibrachoa ‘Cabrio Amethyst’, petunia ‘Sanguna Deep Lavender Vein’ and verbena ‘Lanai Sky Blue’. The Sanguna petunia series possesses large flowers with a semitrailing habit. The ever popular Lanai verbena series, consisting of 25 assorted colors, demonstrates medium vigor and excellent flower stability. The calibrachoa Cabrio series, with a more controlled, uniform and mounded habit, is excellent as a filler.
KWIK KOMBO THE RED CARPET MIX
This fiery hot basket was a showstopper in the trial early in August, but it was even more colorful and impressive on my second visit. This monochromatic basket is composed of verbena ‘Lanai Candy Cane’, verbena ‘Lanai Red’ and petunia ‘Sanguna Red’. The three varieties complemented each other and Candy Cane, with its distinct and sharp bicolor red and white pinwheel flowers, tied the basket together to create an energetic and vibrant combination. This Kwik Kombo has a vigorous habit and demonstrates excellent heat tolerance.
KWIK KOMBO LITTLE PIECE OF MY HEART MIX
This new early season Kwik Kombo for 2021 combines the vigorous calibrachoa ‘Callie Strawberry’, with a rose center and dark throat, and two verbena Lanai varieties, Strawberry and Twister Red. The two verbenas, solid-colored Strawberry and bicolor Twister Red with a red center and pink blush petals, complement each other creating an energetic combination.
TRIXI TWINKLE STAR
The Trixis comprise 25 monospecies combos and 29 multi-species combos. They were created for earlyand mid-season production and offer multiple color schemes. I have highlighted current Trixis that met the criteria mentioned earlier, which included balance, timing, summer performance, dynamic color patterns and retail appeal. The components include bacopa ‘Big Falls Pearl’, bidens ‘Namid Early Yellow’ and calibrachoa ‘MiniFamous Neo Dark Blue’. The complementary colors of yellow and purple make this combination pop, and the bacopa was flowering prolifically late into the summer, which is atypical for many recipes. ‘Namid Early Yellow’ is the best variety in the bidens collection for Trixis with its spreading habit and larger flowers. ‘Neo Dark Blue’ offers one of the most deep and highly saturated colors in the Neo series.
KWIK KOMBO PICOTEE PASSION MIX
This is a dynamic and eye-catching vigorous mid-season combination consisting of petunia ‘Sanguna Picotee Punch’, petunia ‘Sanguna White’ and verbena ‘Lanai Cyclops Purple’. What distinguishes this mix and creates vivid contrast and harmony is the white rim of the Picotee Punch, the white eye of the Cyclops Purple and the pure white Sanguna petals. This Kwik Kombo is an attention grabber and has strong retail appeal.
TRIXI DOUBLE DATE ‘21
This new Trixi for 2021 will become a bestseller based on the performance in the trials this summer. The components are calibrachoa ‘MiniFamous Neo Double Dark Blue’, ‘Neo Double Deep Yellow’ and ‘Neo Double Red’. The Neos are a medium vigor, semi-trailing series and offer a wide assortment of flower patterns including solids, bicolors and doubles. The Neo double flowers were
large, uniform, exhibited similar flower timing, and manifested color stability and retention throughout the summer. The color saturation and brightness of these primary double flower colors create a vivid combination.
KWIK KOMBO MOM’S CHOSEN ONE MIX
This mid-season multi-species mix combines petunia ‘Sanguna Patio Purple’, bidens ‘Mexican Gold Jumbo’ and verbena ‘Lanai Bright Eye’. The designer recipe criteria of timing, uniformity and a floriferous canopy was conspicuous in this recipe mix. This bidens has the largest flower in the series, and combined with its vigor becomes a significant component in this mix, as well as in many other Kwik Kombos. The color coordination of the purple eye of ‘Lanai Bright Eye’ and the intense saturation of Patio Purple creates a dynamic and high-impact mix.
KWIK KOMBO PINK PRISM MIX
The combination of the components calibrachoa ‘Callie White’, petunia ‘Sanguna Lipstick’ and verbena ‘Lanai Twister Pink’ creates a mellow and soothing mid-season multi-species Kwik Kombo. What stands out in this mix is the power of white to create maximum reflective light and accent the Lipstick color of the petunia and the pink center of Twister Pink. The trailing Twister series, composed of six colors, is a major component in many mid-season Kwik Kombos, and with its colorful center petals enhances the color impact and retail appeal of the mix.
KWIK KOMBO IN A JAM MIX
This mid-season multi species Kwik Kombo combines calibrachoa ‘Callie Pink with Eye’, verbena ‘Lanai White Improved’, and Petunia Sanguna Purple. This combination demonstrates the reflective power and impact of the pure white color of the Verbena and the contrasting intensity it creates with the different hues of dark pink and purple.
TRIXI WHO KNEW ORLEANS
This multi-species, hot-weather Trixi, with the warm colors of calibrachoa ‘Uno Yellow+Red Vein’, petunia ‘Headliner Red’ and verbena ‘Lascar Mango Orange’, is one of the best sellers in the Trixi collection. This Trixi offers components that have demonstrated outstanding summer performance in trials as well as spring production programs. The calibrachoa ‘Uno Yellow+Red Vein’ offers a semi-trailing habit and yellow petals with a striking red center. There are a multitude of seed and vegetative red petunias in the market, and in this trial ‘Headliner Red’ was outstanding and manifested stable, rich red flowers. ‘Lascar Mango Orange’ is unique among verbenas with the two-tone flowers consisting of orange petals and a deep mango center.
TRIXI DOUBLE THE HEAT
This combination was new for 2020, and I highlighted its outstanding performance in my summer article on the Costa Farms basket trial this spring. It duplicated the same qualities of balance, timing, floriferousness and heat tolerance in the Plantpeddler Trial. It comprises calibrachoa ‘MiniFamous Neo Double OrangeTastic’ and calibrachoa ‘MiniFamous Uno Double Red’. These two varieties differ in vigor but they combine and blend to create a unique and striking combination. The saturated, double, red flowers of Uno Double Red accentuate the ruffled orange flowers and red centers of the OrangeTastic. The entire Tastic collection has manifested excellent garden performance, and that was demonstrated with the trial performance of OrangeTastic in multiple sites.
TRIXI CHERRY KISS
This is one of the best-selling multi-species Trixis, and it offers a wonderful color combination of pink, salmon, and lipstick. The components include the petunia ‘Headliner Lipstick’, calibrachoa ‘MiniFamous Salmon+Pink Eye’ and verbena ‘Blues Light Pink+Eye’, a semi-upright variety with a distinctive, well-defined white eye. Many of the most creative and high-impact recipes combine a bicolor calibrachoa or a verbena variety with a white eye, to accent the contrasting colors.
TRIXI GEISHA GIRL
This top-selling multi-species combination received a full page spread in the 2021 Selecta One catalog. The red and pink tones of calibrachoa ‘MiniFamous Salmon Pink+Eye’, petunia ‘Headliner Red’ and verbena ‘Lascar Red Rose’ create stunning colors and textures to offer an impactful and colorful Trixi. I was impressed with the balance, timing, prolific flower canopy and heat tolerance of this recipe. It demonstrated the same performance levels in multiple regions this summer, including Colorado State University, where it was superior to many of the trial combinations.
This is one of many Pretty Pink mono combinations in the Trixi portfolio. Combining the complementary colors of calibrachoa ‘MiniFamous Neo Blue’, calibrachoa ‘MiniFamous Neo Deep Yellow’ and the tint of the calibrachoa ‘MiniFamous Pink’ creating a harmonious blend of semi-trailing, mounded, balanced and floriferous components. The controlled and tight habit was impressive and offers enhanced shippability and a uniform presentation in a retail setting.
TRIXI RASPBERRY SORBET
This is one of the best-selling, multi-species combinations and is well deserving of its full page spread in the 2021 Selecta One catalog. This recipe manifests the attributes necessary to grow, display and sell a successful basket. What stands out immediately is the balance, timing and colorful flowers of the calibrachoa ‘MiniFamous Neo White’, petunia ‘Starlet Magenta Star’ and verbena ‘Blues Magenta+Eye’. This Trixi has demonstrated outstanding performance in summer trials throughout the country the last few years. Three classes of plants are integral components in many of the Trixi combinations: the calibrachoa Neo series, composed of 26 diverse varieties, which offers a semi-trailing and uniform habit; the compact petunia Starlet series, which offers 14 uniform and early flowering varieties; and the large-flowering verbena Blues series, which includes seven varieties with a striking white eye that contrasts beautifully in many of the Trixi recipes.
PASSION COMBO PURPLE PURPOSE
Westhoff has introduced 12 Passion Combos for 2021. Ten are listed in the new catalog, and Purple Purpose was added late but will be available for spring production. This combo incorporates petunia ‘Perfectunia Ibiza’, calibrachoa ‘Candy Shop Fancy Berry’ and verbena ‘Estrella Blueberry Improved’, which is a new introduction for 2021. This combo highlights the distinctive and vibrant colors of these components. The Perfectunia series is uniform, compact, and comprises 20 varieties with a wide range of solids, bicolors and multicolored flowers. Candy Shop calibrachoa varieties come from the original Candy Bouquet series and offer many of the most unusual multicolored patterns in the market, and in combinations such as Purple Purpose demonstrate the power of its polychromatic flowers. The verbena Estrella series features 12 uniform and upright varieties that develop into semi-trailing components in mixed containers and baskets.