Up and Comers for 2019 By Jasmina Dolce

Hundreds of new variety introductions made their debut earlier this year at the California Spring Trials. We hit every single stop, took pages of notes and thousands of photos to now bring to you some of our favorites.

In last month’s Spring Trials report, we covered some of the overall trends we observed in California this April. On the following pages, we’ll give you a breakdown of some of the head turners from our trek down the coast. We’ll start with annuals and conclude with perennials. Keep in mind, this is just a snapshot; stay tuned for additional variety coverage in upcoming issues as well as gpnmag.com and our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages.


Angelonia ‘AngelMist Spreading Berry Sparkler’
Ball FloraPlant

This unique bicolor adds a novel selection to this large-flowered spreading angelonia series. It will have big impact in baskets, containers and in the landscape. It can handle the heat and is a great option for shoulder sales.

Argyranthemum Daisini
Cohen Propagation Nurseries

Daisini is a new series that showcases breeding from Plantinova. Plants are compact with small flowers, ideal for small pot production. Five colors are available; Coral is pictured.

Begonia Crown Jewel
Berry Nursery

Featuring genetics from Southern Mexico, Crown Jewel is a heat- and sun-tolerant heuchera type of begonia with thick, lustrous foliage. Each variety is named after a precious gem, such as Enduring Onyx and Positively Peridot (pictured).

Begonia ‘Dreams Solenia Scarlet’

This new addition to the Solenia line presents deep red blooms on an extremely floriferous plant. It is suitable for 4-inch containers up to hanging baskets and offers summer durability with excellent heat tolerance.

Begonia I’Conia Portofino
Dümmen Orange

Dümmen Orange has expanded its I’Conia line with Portofino, which was bred for larger flower size and a semi-upright habit. Growers will appreciate its resilience through shipping and its upscale appeal.

Begonia ‘Tophat White’
Syngenta Flowers

Tophat is a new interspecific begonia series that features huge flowers that are up to 20 percent larger than comparable varieties. They do well in sun or shade, and are available in three colors. ‘Tophat White’ is particularly significant as it is the only white in this class.

Calibrachoa ‘Chameleon Atomic Orange’

With the Chameleon series now having more open availability, Westhoff continues to expand the popular collection of color-changing calibrachoa. New this year, Atomic Orange features vibrant color similar to Indian Summer Improved but with a more compact habit.

Calibrachoa Lia

Lia is a brand new series of calibrachoa that is bred for high flower count and a controlled habit, making a nice basket presentation. Plants flower in 10-hour days and have been tested for pH sensitivity. Vigor is medium, falling between Noa and Colibri.

Dahlia City Lights
Selecta One

 With dramatic dark foliage, City Lights offers a nice contrasting effect. Bold, bicolor flowers bloom all season and are a magnet for butterflies and birds. Four colors are currently available; Lavender Pink is pictured.

Geranium Moxie!
Syngenta Flowers

Moxie! is a new interspecific geranium series bred for smaller containers and superior flower coverage. This next generation hybrid combines the production performance of Tango with the field performance of Calliope.

Geranium Reach Out

This new ivy geranium series produces a full canopy of flowers and is easy to produce, due to its compact habit and short internodes. Plants are excellent basket performers and don’t get tangled up like other varieties.

Gomphrena ‘Truffula Pink’
Proven Winners

An eye-catching thriller in combinations, this new gomphrena is covered in pink ball-shaped blooms all season. It’s a tough plant that won’t flop and is extremely heat tolerant. Plus, it’s a great pollinator plant.

Helianthus ‘SunBelievable Brown Eyed Girl’
Thompson & Morgan

This exciting new breeding development showcases hundreds of flowers on one single plant throughout the season. It is multi-branched and can be used in containers or the landscape. Finished size is 2 feet tall and 3 feet across.

Marigold ‘Super Hero Spry’

Super Hero is a new series that presents huge flowers on uniform plants. They flower about one week earlier than comparable varieties. ‘Super Hero Spry’ was selected as an All-America Selections winner for its stable color pattern, earliness to bloom and no deadheading requirement.

Osteospermum SummerSmile

As the name suggests, SummerSmile is bred for heat tolerance and summer performance. Plants flower early, and no chill period is necessary. Four colors are currently available (Violet is pictured), but more are in the pipeline.

Pelargonium ‘Pinkerbell’

This regal hybrid is packed with loads of flowers on a compact plant that bloom nonstop throughout the summer. It does not require cooling but can be grown under traditional zonal conditions.

Pericallis ‘Senetti Magic Salmon’

Already popular in Europe, this color addition to Senetti is new to the U.S. market. It boasts an incredible multicolor effect from salmon pink to powder blue that is perfect for early spring and Easter promotions. This variety flowers about two weeks earlier than standard pericallis.

Petunia Success! 360°

Success! is now an umbrella brand for three petunia lines. Success! 360° is a more vigorous series that is very uniform and very early. Packs are so full (and therefore look great from any angle). Thirteen colors are available, Red Star was quite striking with its stable pattern.

Petunia SuperCal

This year, Sakata introduced its next generation of its popular SuperCals: SuperCal Premium. This new line features five large-flowered varieties with unique colors and exceptional cool tolerance, making them perfect for fall presentations.

Petunia ‘Sweetunia Fiona Flash’
Dümmen Orange

Fiona Flash is the newest addition to Dümmen Orange’s Super Hero collection of eye-catching, novel petunias. This new variety presents fiery red and pink tones with a semi-upright habit that will look great in hanging baskets and combinations.

Salvia ‘Rockin’ Fuchsia’
Proven Winners

This color breakthrough in the Salvia gauranitica type features large fuchsia flowers with dark bracts. It is a pollinator magnet and can be used in containers, combinations and landscapes. It finishes at 24 to 36 inches tall with a 24- to 30-inch spread.

Verbena ‘Samira Up Magenta Slash’

This upright growing verbena brings five new colors to the market that are mildew tolerant and perfect for high-density production. Magenta Slash shows an interesting color pattern on large blossoms and a compact habit.

Verbena Vanessa

This new series is bred specifically for mildew resistance and color that remains all summer. Plants flower early on a mounded habit, best for baskets and combinations. Two single and two bicolor options are currently offered; Bicolor Purple is pictured.

Vinca Tatoo
PanAmerican Seed

Tattoo is a new series of four bold, multicolored vinca — with an inked or airbrushed appearance on each petal. This eye-catching vinca has an upright habit across all colors and works best in patio pots, baskets, window boxes and color bowls. The color contrast is best displayed under warmer conditions with higher light.


Abelia ‘Funshine’
Proven Winners

Hardy to Zones 6 through 9, this shrub grows a neat, mounded mound of green to orange foliage. It is very bright in the landscape and presents pretty violet-pink blooms in summer. Finished size is 2 to 3 feet tall and wide.

Artemesia ‘Makana Silver’
Terra Nova Nurseries

This fun plant features a soft, billowy silver mound that adds a nice texture to the garden. It can be used in mass plantings or in containers, and can even be trained as a small specimen tree. Hardy to Zones 9 through 11, it is fast growing and requires good drainage.

Aquilegia Kirigami
Syngenta Flowers

Kirigami is a new columbine series requires minimum vernalization and can be programmed like an annual for spring sales. Flowering is uniform across the series, and the vibrant, upward-facing blooms offer great impact at retail.

Coreopsis ‘Golden Stardust’
Darwin Perennials

Hardy to Zones 5a through 9b, this new coreopsis is easy to grow and exhibits excellent heat and mildew tolerance. It is self branching and produces an abundance of star-shaped flowers throughout the season.

Dianthus ‘Constant Cadence Milk Cherry’
Green Fuse Botanicals

Offering color-changing genetics, this new dianthus opens white and gradually transitions to a true red. The double flowers are highly fragrant and have excellent garden performance. Hardy to Zone 4, Constant Cadence is easy to finish any time of year.

Gaura ‘Silver Fountain’
Plant Haven

This North American prairie native is completely sterile and hardy to Zone 5. It features stable variegated foliage that starts a lemon yellow and goes to crisp green. Its pure white, nectar-rich blooms are great for attracting pollinators.

Hydrangea ‘Summer Crush’
Bailey Nurseries

A compact selection, ‘Summer Crush’ is ideal for decorative containers or as a
small garden plant. It reaches 18 to 36 inches at maturity. Blooms are rich raspberry red but can be vibrant bluepurple

Lavender ‘Blue Spear’
Kieft Seed

Boasting strong visual impact, ‘Blue Spear’ presents very upright flower spikes that are longer than comparable seed lavender. It is first-year flowering and performs best in warmer temperatures with longer days.

Lavender Madrid Lavish
Green Fuse Botanicals

A sneak peek last year, Madrid is making its official debut this year with ‘Madrid Lavish Pink’. This is the first ever multi-bracted lavender on the market, as well as the earliest. Additional colors, Purple and White, are currently being trialed.

Leucanthemum ‘Sweet Daisy Birdy’
Dümmen Orange

The Sweet Daisy series is an improvement on the classic garden daisy. Plants are robust and feature dense flowering as early as June. New to the series is ‘Sweet Daisy Birdy’ that boasts umbrella-shaped blooms on a tall, structured plant.

Nepeta ‘Cat’s Pajamas’
Proven Winners

Hardy to Zones 3 through 8, this nepeta is an excellent perennial for pollinators. It is more compact and flowers 2 to 3 weeks earlier than ‘Cat’s Meow’. Plants maintain their nice mound and won’t fall apart in the center.

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

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