Pantone Color of the Year

The Power of Yellow By Vaughn Fletcher

These new annual and perennial introductions for 2021-2022 exemplify the beauty and illumination of yellow.

Illuminating — a bright, cheerful, and vibrant yellow — is one of Pantone’s colors of the year for 2021. I thought, what better way to celebrate this color choice than to highlight new 2021-22 yellow flowering annuals and perennials from the spring Costa Farms trial.

There are many additional adjectives to describe the power of yellow: reflective, radiant, enriching, energizing and stimulating. Yellow is the most visible color in the spectrum, represents the color of light, has the highest value of any pure hue and advances in our line of vision, all of which make it an attention grabber in a retail setting. The varieties I selected demonstrated many of these attributes, were floriferous, and manifested varying degrees of yellow hues and tones.


Benary argyranthemum

The Benary+ annual vegetative program offers one the largest selections of argyranthemum in the industry. Benary has entered many vegetative annuals in national trials the past few years to highlight the recently formed Benary+ program and its wide assortment of annuals. The Aramis series comprises single, semi-double and double varieties of assorted colors, and many of these varieties have been trialed throughout the country since their introduction. They have exhibited a prolific flowering canopy, long flowering season and a mounded habit. Benary is continually upgrading the series in uniformity, heat tolerance, color stability, and habit, and these qualities were manifested by the new ‘Aramis Yellow Improved’.

Green Fuse Botanicals

Green Fuse achillea

This is the first achillea introduction in the First Light Perennial program and it manifested the traits of this perennial portfolio, which are first-year flowering, no vernalization requirement, and daylength neutrality. It displayed a compact habit, excellent branching, and a prolific and vibrant flower canopy. This is a sterile variety with stable flower retention and is programmable with your annual program as are all First Light Perennials. Sun-N-Fun is a standalone variety with more introductions in the breeding pipeline. It is hardy to Zone 4 and matures at 12 to 15 inches.


bidens Taka Tuka

The Taka Tuka series comprises 10 varieties of singles, bicolors and doubles. Many breeders offer a bidens program consisting of assorted colors, sizes and habit, so it is unusual to evaluate a variety with a distinct flower pattern in such a crowded field of outstanding varieties. What sets ‘Taka Tuka White/Yellow Improved’ apart is the unique flower pattern with a yellow circle in the center surrounded by white petals. The larger bicolor flowers were eye catching, and the color contrast was distinct and striking.

Proven Winners

Proven Winners calylophus

This genus is composed of native species endemic to the Southwest and offered by nurseries throughout the region. The species is often listed as drummondii or berlandieri with a trade name of ‘Sundrop’ or ‘Southern Bell’. Proven Winners will introduce two new varieties for 2022, ‘Lemonade’ and ‘Sunglow’. These new selections have the attributes of the native species: exceptional drought and heat tolerance, a long flowering window, bright yellow crinkly flower petals, rhizamatous growth habit, and fine textured foliage. Proven Winners continues to introduce varieties that will tolerate extreme summer environmental conditions, exhibit flower longevity and flower profusely. This new genera fulfills that breeding goal. ‘Lemonade’ and ‘Sunglow’, both with yellow flower tones, will have multiple applications for the consumer in full-sun patio containers and as a border in landscape beds. On my second visit in mid April, when the container trial was more mature, the calylophus were a component in many Proven Winner mixed combinations and were weaving and trailing throughout the containers with multiple blooms.


bidens Danziger

We have seen an explosion in bidens breeding in recent years with the introduction of new series, collections, and standalone varieties offering a multitudinous array of flower colors and habits. Danziger offers one of the largest selections of biden varieties separated into three classes based on habit: upright, mounded and semi-trailing. The new ‘Sunshine Double’ for 2022 is an upright variety maturing at 8 to 10 inches. I was impressed by the prolific flower canopy and by the large transitional single, semi-double and double flowers. This variety will have production application in quarts, gallons, patio containers and landscape beds.

Dümmen Orange

DuraBloom petunia

The DuraBloom series was introduced for 2021 and complements an extensive collection of petunias with different habits, flower forms, colors and habits. The interspecific DuraBlooms are the most vigorous petunias in the portfolio. They were bred for environmental toughness with an extensive root system, heat and drought tolerance, mounded habit, and floriferousness. There were seven colors introduced for 2021, and four colors were added to the series for 2022: Red, White, Yellow and Silver. All the colors were in the Costa trial, and I singled out Yellow because the flowers were prolific, stable, bright and covered the foliage canopy. This is considered a landscape petunia series and also has production application in large baskets and containers.

Proven Winners

Luscious Lantana

When I visited the Costa trial in mid February and mid April the new ‘Luscious Citron’ was dynamic and colorful and manifested the features we have come to expect with the Luscious series. The plants were vigorous, yet maintained a mounded habit, and the umbels were vibrant and large with two-tone flower clusters. Citron replaces Lemonade for 2022. The improvements include more stable flowers, larger inflorescences, improved architecture, increased vigor and prolific flowering. This variety is daylength neutral and will not set seed, providing a lantana that will perform throughout the season. The Proven Winner group continues to expand The Heat is On program with new and exciting summer performers. There are now 10 varieties in the Luscious series with a wide range of bicolor and multicolor flowers. This is a versatile series with application in quarts, mixed containers and baskets.

Dümmen Orange

Moonswirl coreopsis

Dümmen Orange offers a wide range of grandiflora and verticillata series and standalone varieties. Coreopsis ‘Moonswirl’ is one of the best sellers in the portfolio, and it has been improved for 2021. The trial variety demonstrated many of the enhancements: improved upright branching, consistent double flowers, and the vibrant, extra large semi-double fluffy flowers positioned above the foliage canopy, which was attention grabbing. Additional improvements to this variety are uniformity and a longer flowering cycle. ‘Moonswirl’ matures at 15 to 18 inches and is hardy to Zone 4. This variety is utilized in gallon programs, and these breeding improvements will greatly enhance its retail appeal and sell through.


Calitastic calibrachoa

We have a plethora of yellow calibrachoas in the market, and I am highlighting the new ‘Calitastic Butter’ because of its vibrant color, branching and flower power in the Costa trial, which was manifested in both visits in February and April. This variety is similar to ‘Calitastic Golden Sun’, but it is a darker yellow, with tighter habit, is early to bloom, and is heavily branched with larger flowers. Westhoff offers a wide range of calibrachoa series with different growth habits and flower colors. The Calitastic series consists of over 20 varieties that are uniform, early to flower (11 hours-DL), with large flowers, pH tolerant, and having a wide range of unusual stars, bicolors, and core colors.


Sakata lantana

Sakata has entered the lantana world with the launch of the Sundance series. There are three colors for 2022: Red, White and Yellow, and they were represented in the Costa trial. My observations and attention were focused on and impressed by the earliness to flower, the large flower clusters and the semi-mounded habit. The most distinctive color in the trial was Yellow, which was distinctive and vibrant. The breeding focus of Sakata was developing a lantana series that will be a compatible component with SunPatiens combinations.

Suntory Flowers

Mandevilla Sun Parasol

It is fitting that Suntory Flowers would introduce Original Sunbeam for 2021, since Illuminating, a vibrant yellow, is one of the Pantone colors of the year. This is the first yellow flowering variety in Suntory’s mandevilla portfolio, and it truly is eye-popping. The rich, buttery flowers with a golden throat are bright, luminous and energizing. Sunbeam joins the Original class, which consists of seven varieties. The Originals are characterized by a bushy habit, earliness, vigor and floriferousness. Sunbeam possesses those traits but will also bloom seven to 10 days earlier, which is an advantage in a retail setting. Suntory Flowers was recognized for this revolutionary introduction with a new product award at TPIE in January. Sunbeam will have multiple applications in patio containers, hanging baskets and trellises. Sun Fire Nurseries is the exclusive Suntory distributor of Sunbeam and offers the entire mandevilla program.


Nesia nemesia

Danziger continues to introduce impressive color additions to the nemesia Nesia series every year. The new variety, Inca, was one of the brightest and most vivid yellow flowering varieties in the trial. I have highlighted in previous articles the summer performance of the series, specifically ‘Nesia Denim’ and the DuraBella recipe Spring Has Sprung, composed of Nesia Denim, Sunshine, and Magenta. There are now 12 varieties in the series that offer uniformity, compactness, outstanding heat tolerance, distinctive bicolor flowers and a colorful canopy. This is a highperforming, long-lasting nemesia series with application in patio containers and designer mixes.

Green Fuse Botanicals

Green Fuse portulaca

Green Fuse Botanicals continues to expand its novelty annual vegetative program with portulaca 24/7 for 2022. This series comprises five colors: Fuchsia, Orange, Red, White and Yellow with grandiflora type habit and foliage. Features of this series include daylength neutrality, 3-inch fully double flowers and compactness. The breeder has stated that the flowers never close, and that was demonstrated in the trial. The plants were open and colorful when I viewed the plants early in the morning and later in the evening. This series will have application in quarts, mixed containers and baskets.


Mega Pazzaz portulaca

This new Mega Pazzaz series, a new generation of portulaca, offers four colors: Purple, Orange, Dark Pink and Gold. Danziger introduced the Pazzaz series years ago, which was followed by the Nanos, the bicolored Campinos, and for 2022 the Mega Pazzaz series. There was a soft launch for 2021, but this series will get increased attention for 2022 based on the large flowers, floriferousness, flower duration and colorful canopy. The colors were consistent in the bed, and Gold was a standout in the Costa trial for flower size, flower production, canopy coverage, vigor and habit. The series matures at 16 inches and will have application in quarts, gallons, baskets, and landscape beds.


Ray petunia

The breeding, trialing and introduction of various hues, tones and tints of yellow petunias the past few years has been consequential and significant. In light of these genetic improvements in yellow petunias from multiple breeders, Danziger has upgraded ‘Ray Sunshine’. ‘Ray Sunshine’ is a top seller in the Ray series, and the improvements to this variety include a deeper shade of yellow in the throat and a slightly more mounded habit to match the entire series. The Rays are a core petunia series in many spring programs with 15 diverse color patterns, and they offer uniformity, a mounded habit, and earliness. This is a versatile series with production application in quarts, gallons, patio containers and hanging baskets.

Syngenta Flowers

Petunia Sanguna

The new ‘Sanguna Banana Candy’ was one of the most colorful, bright and vibrant petunias in the trial beds. This variety manifested the attributes we expect from the Sanguna series with large flowers, strong growth habit and prolific flowering. The grandiflora flowers have a light tawny gold throat and dark yellow petals that manifested stability, floriferousness and vigor in the trial bed. The Sanguna series is trailing, large flowering, composed of 21 diverse colors, and is the foundation in many Kwik Kombos. This introduction is a timely and a significant addition to the Syngenta Sanguna series.

American Takii

Statement snapdragon

We have seen the introduction of many outstanding dwarf snapdragons, and American Takii is not new to snapdragon breeding with multiple series in its annual portfolio. This name matched the performance of the colors in the Costa trial, as the series made a statement in the trial bed with uniformity, consistent flower timing, basal branching and a multitude of large vibrant flowers. It is composed of five colors: Pink, Rose, Scarlet, White and Yellow. We have many excellent choices in the dwarf Snapdragon class, and this series, based on this early spring trial, deserves consideration in future production programs.

Vaughn Fletcher

Vaughn Fletcher is president of Fletcher Consulting. He has been in the horticulture industry since 1971, working in many areas including landscaping, garden center and greenhouse production, greenhouse and nursery sales and sales management. He can be reached at [email protected]

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