The Colorful World of Danziger
Danziger has participated in North American summer trials for many years and has entered a plethora of current and new introductions from a wide range of genera. They understand the importance and value of the summer trials for performance evaluation, marketing and promotion. I will highlight many of their new annual introductions that I observed in Southern and Northern trials on multiple occasions from early spring in Florida to mid September in Colorado. But first, a brief synopsis of the history and development of Danziger is in order.
The company was formed in 1953 and shipped their first mum cutting to Holland in 1965. Since then, the company has expanded into cut flowers, seed, perennials and annuals. They now have production facilities around the world. Danziger has made strategic and impressive strides in ornamental plant breeding since the establishment of one of the largest research and development facilities in the world in 1988. Danziger Innovations, a biotech division specializing in the development of innovative plant breeding methods, was formed in 2008. We are seeing the fruits of this prodigious breeding program with a multitude of new and unique annuals and perennials in many classes.
BIDENS ‘BLAZING EMBERS’
The bidens world changed in 2015 when Suntory introduced the Beedance bicolors to the American market. This was the precursor to the development and introduction of a plethora of exciting bidens cultivars from multiple breeders. These new selections offer larger and multicolored flowers and an assortment of habits for various production applications.
Danziger offers the Timeless Collection, one of largest portfolios of bidens, which includes the new ‘Blazing Embers’. This may be the most compact variety in the series with striking multicolored orange, red and yellow flowers. It flowered prolifically in late season regional trials and maintained a tight, dense growth habit.
AGERATUM ‘AGUILERA PURPLE’
This series consists of five colors including three new colors for 2020: Sky Blue, Dark Pink, and White Improved. The two earlier introductions, Purple and Violet, have been in the trials for two years. The series is characterized by a mounded habit, and it matures at 10 to 12 inches. It has flowered prolifically in summer trials the past few years and has demonstrated excellent heat tolerance, color retention, and minimal deadheading through late summer. This is an excellent ageratum for quart and mixed container production and utilization in landscape sites.
ANGELONIA ‘ALONIA BICOLOR VIOLET’
This series is one of the most impressive in the industry with multiple attributes including uniformity, a strong upright habit, minimal flower cycling, earliness, durability, lustrous dark foliage, large flowers and heat tolerance. The series received high ratings in multiple trials, and Bicolor Violet, introduced in 2019, was one of the most floriferous of all angelonia entries last summer. There are eight varieties available, and they mature at 18 to 20 inches. This is an excellent series for quarts, 5-inch pots and for bench run programs.
CALIBRACHOA ‘LIA BUBBLEGUM’
Danziger offers three series of calibrachoa and a standalone variety. The series are Lia, Colibri and Noa, and the standalone is the hybrid ‘Eyeconic Purple’. Each series, because of its habit, has application in specific production programs. I will focus on certain varieties that performed exceptionally well in the trials last summer. The Lia series falls between the Colibri and Noa in growth habit. There are six varieties in the series, including the new color Dark Red. They offer a controlled habit, tight internodes, large flowers and day length neutrality. These attributes were manifested throughout the summer in the southern and northern trials. Production application includes quarts, combinations and compact baskets. The floriferousness was impressive, and Bubblegum was one of my favorites for its vibrancy and color saturation.
CALIBRACHOA ‘COLIBRI BLIZZARD’
This is the most compact series in Danziger’s calibrachoa portfolio with 12 varieties including five new colors. Colibri reflects the breeding emphasis on production efficiency and minimal input cost. The series achieves this goal with varieties requiring minimal PGR requirements. The Colibris mirror the garden performance, flower size, tight internodes and floriferousness of the Lia series but on a more compact chassis. ‘Colibri Blizzard’ was one of the most floriferous and tightly branched calibrachoas in the Metrolina trial in late August. These attributes were consistent with the entire series in multiple trials last summer. This is an outstanding series for quarts, small baskets and combinations.
CALIBRACHOA ‘EYECONIC PURPLE’
This standalone variety has an extra large multicolor flower with a yellow throat, deep purple center and light lavender petals. It was one of the most conspicuous and eye-catching calibrachoas in the Raker-Roberta’s basket trial last summer. The habit is mounded but semi-trailing. It manifested outstanding heat tolerance and color retention, and the flower canopy was colorful and prolific. This variety is the harbinger to a new series of Eyeconic colors to be introduced in 2021-22. Eyeconic is early flowering and will have excellent application in quarts, mixed containers and baskets.
LANTANA ‘CAMARA GEM RUBY’
Danziger introduced the spreading Santana basket series, comprised of Santana Gold and Santana Red Orange, a few years ago and have followed up with the impressive Gem series for 2020. This series consists of Compact Orange Fire, Compact Yellow Diamond and two midsize varieties, Gold and Ruby. These were entered in multiple trials, and I evaluated them starting at the Costa trial in Florida in late January and throughout the summer and fall in Northern trials. I highlighted Orange Fire in my September article on resilient new introductions in the Southern trials. Gem Ruby was comparable to Orange Fire in performance and floriferousness and was slightly more compact. What is distinctive about this variety and the entire series is the controlled growth habit, striking inflorescences with bicolor or multicolored umbels, strong color retention throughout the season, and a prodigious flower canopy. This series rivaled any lantana series in the summer trials for high-impact color.
LOBULARIA ‘STREAM PURPLE IMPROVED’
Lobularia hybrids have expanded significantly over the past 10 years and have become an intrinsic component in spring programs. They have many features in common including heat and drought tolerance and fragrance. We now have a range of colors and habits to conform to every production application including quarts, mixed containers, window boxes and baskets. The Stream series was introduced in 2012 with four introductions followed by Purple Stream and Bicolor Lavender in 2013. The latest introduction was Raspberry Stream in 2019, and for 2020 Purple Stream had been improved with better color retention and habit.
NEMESIA ‘NESIA TROPICAL’
We have seen many breeding breakthroughs and introductions in nemesia since the early 1990s. Multiple breeders offer a complete series with a diversity of sizes and flower colors, as well as improved production and garden performance. I highlighted the performance of ‘Nesia Denim’, the new introduction for 2020, in my September article last year. This variety continued to flower profusely in late May in the Costa trial and I witnessed the same level of performance throughout the summer in Northern trials from others colors in the series including Tropical. This a unique and vivacious variety with multicolored flowers of burgundy, pink, gold and light lavender, with a yellow throat. It was flowering prolifically in the Northern trials in late August. I was impressed with the flower intensity and brightness. Additional attributes include uniformity, durability, floriferousness and the exceptional heat tolerance.
PETUNIA ‘AMORE FLUTTERING HEART’
The world of bicolor petunias was enriched with the introduction of the vivacious Amore series in 2016 and specifically the award winning Queen of Hearts. This was followed by Fiesta and Purple, and for 2020 King of Hearts, Pink Hearts and Fluttering Heart. There are many adjectives to describe the attributes of this series including strong color retention and saturation, sharp patterns, vibrancy, timing and uniformity. The current varieties have excellent retail appeal, and these new colors augment the series. Production applications include quarts, hanging baskets and combinations.
PETUNIA ‘CAPELLA NEON PINK’
Four new colors have been added to this early, compact series: Baby Pink, Burgundy, Ruby Red and Neon Pink, bringing the total to eight. This series manifests earliness, uniformity and a mounded, floriferous canopy. The four new colors were in multiple summer trials and demonstrated vibrancy, flower stability, and excellent heat tolerance. The new Neon Pink was my favorite for its
luminosity and saturation. My eye was drawn to this warm dynamic color. This is an excellent series for quarts, compact baskets and mixed containers.
SALVIA FARINACEA ‘SALLYFUN DEEP OCEAN’
I have focused on many new Danziger introductions for 2020, but this article would be incomplete without highlighting the Salvia farinacea Sallyfun series. The five varieties in the series are in many spring production programs for good reason. They manifest uniformity, aromatic foliage, a prodigious flower canopy and determinate asymmetric flowers. This series is utilized in spring quart programs, mixed containers, and in plantings to complement perennial displays. They flower early, are heat and drought tolerant, and mature at 18 to 24 inches. Deep Ocean exhibited outstanding color saturation and striking bicolor flowers. It is the latest addition to the series and was a top performer in many summer trials last year.
VERBENA ‘VANESSA COMPACT PURPLE BICOLOR’
Danziger introduced the new Compact Vanessa series comprised of eight colors, including two bicolors, for 2020. This subseries was impressive in the summer trials with a uniform, tightly branched, mounded habit and it possessed a colorful canopy. The trial entries also manifested excellent color retention and minimal cycling from early June in the South through early September in the Northern trials. I saw no incidence of powdery mildew throughout the summer and fall. The series received high performance ratings in many summer trials, and Compact Pink was the highest rated verbena in Young’s Plant Farm trial
in Alabama. Production application includes quarts, combinations and baskets. This is a high density production and bench run series for the wholesale and retail grower.
VERBENA ‘VANESSA PURPLE’
Danziger has made significant advances in verbena in the past 10 years from a limited selection of varieties to the development of the Vanessa Compact and Vanessa series. I have observed and evaluated the Vanessa series in production as well as trial performance since its inception. This series is differentiated from the new compact series by its semi-trailing habit and slightly more vigor. The attributes include a mounded but spreading habit, prolific flower canopy, heat tolerance, powdery mildew tolerance and intense bright flowers. True purple
is not a common flower color and is rare to see, but ‘Vanessa Purple’ demonstrated one of the most intense and bright purple varieties that I saw last summer in the trials.
PORTULACA ‘CAMPINO TWIST RED’
Danziger added the Campino bicolors, Twist Red and Twist Pink, to a distinctive portulaca portfolio of Pazzaz and Pazzaz Nano. Breeders have introduced many bicolor and multicolor varieties in the past few years, and these two new introductions enhance the diversity of options. They were colorful and prolific throughout the summer and early fall, and were top performers in multiple trials including the Mast Young Plants container trial in late August and Dallas Arboretum container trial in early September. These two new colors are heat and drought tolerant, floriferous and early to flower.