Vaughn’s View: Creative & Colorful Container Recipes
Young’s Plant Farm in Auburn, Alabama, celebrated 10 years of trialing this year with an extensive inventory of 432 individual varieties, 56 hanging baskets and more than 180 combination planters. I will cover more individual top performers from Young’s, University of Georgia and Metrolina Greenhouses in a later article; here, I’ll focus on the color palette, maximum eye appeal, and performance of new, current, and experimental recipes from multiple plant breeders from my week 23 visit.
The unrooted cuttings for the combination trial were stuck week 9, transplanted week 12 into the 12-inch containers, and moved to the trial garden week 16. The designer recipe programs are an integral segment of many breeder plant portfolios, significant and essential in many spring production programs.
The opportunity for creative and diverse combinations evolves every year, with the introduction of new varieties with unique colors, patterns, and habits. I selected specific recipes to highlight that manifested characteristics indispensable in the performance and ultimate success for the consumer. The selection criteria included vigor, visual harmony, component balance, weather tolerance, uniform timing, color stability and floriferousness.
1. ‘CONFETTI ALOHA KONA HAWAIIAN GOLD’
(Photo above) This Confetti recipe, consisting of calibrachoa ‘Aloha Kona Tiki Blue’, calibrachoa ‘Hula Gold Medal’ and calibrachoa ‘Aloha Kona Orange Zest’, was introduced last year for the 2022 season. The complementary colors create an intensity and brilliance to the combination. The ‘Hula Gold Medal’ offers one of the most striking and well-defined multicolored flower patterns in the entire Dümmen Orange calibrachoa portfolio. Combined with the versatile Aloha Kona components, it creates a recipe with balance, timing, floriferousness and high impact.
2. ‘KWIK KOMBO ITSY BITSY MIX’
This Kwik Kombo was an experimental introduction in multiple trial sites last year and, based on its superior performance throughout the summer, will now be available in the Kwik Kombo program for 2023. It is considered a mid-season recipe with three outstanding single species components: petunia ‘Itsy White’, petunia ‘Itsy Magenta’, and petunia ‘Shortcake Blueberry’. I highlighted these three varieties in various trial articles last year for their superb attributes. In my visit to the Dallas Arboretum trial in late June, these three varieties demonstrated exceptional flowering under extreme temperatures. The Itsy colors offer small but prolific flowers, excellent color coverage, dense branching, floriferousness and superior weather tolerance. The petunia ‘Shortcake Blueberry’ is a standalone variety that offers mid-sized flowers with a distinct and sharp bicolor color pattern and remarkable summer performance. The result is a recipe with three top- performing varieties that will endure and thrive under extreme summer conditions.
3. ‘SURFIN SAFARI’
This new national recipe for 2023 is comprised of calibrachoa ‘Superbells Double Amber’, Jamesbrittenia ‘Safari Dawn’, and petunia ‘Supertunia Royal Magenta’. This recipe manifested component balance, excellent flower coverage and timing. The Jamesbrittenia series is native to South Africa and demonstrated exceptional heat tolerance and late summer performance in multiple trials last year and early this year in the Costa trial. It will provide another colorful component as a filler in patio containers and landscape beds. The petunia ‘Supertunia Royal Magenta’ and calibrachoa ‘Superbells Double Amber’ are widely used in container programs and combination baskets. This multi species recipe is in the Proven Winners bundled program, and the combination of these three components produces an eye- catching recipe.
4. ‘TRIXI STAR SPANGLED GLAMOUR’
This new Trixi for 2023 combines three mono species’ core colors, calibrachoa ‘MiniFamous Uno Double Dark Blue’, calibrachoa ‘MiniFamous Uno Double Red’, and the new calibrachoa ‘MiniFamous Uno Double White 23’. This recipe offers superior timing, color retention, earliness, flower coverage, vigor and a semi-trailing habit. The new Double White for 2023 has larger flowers, increased vigor and uniformity to match the series. Three other colors have also been added for 2023, Orange+Red Vein, Pink 23 and White Gold, which was highlighted in my Costa trial article in May GPN.
5. ‘DURABELLA MEET ME IN MIAMI’
The rapid development, trialing and introduction of the DuraBella recipe program is derived from the extensive diversity of the Danziger vegetative portfolio. The program has expanded from its initial launch in 2021 to more than 70 creative two- and three-plant recipes, including six new introductions for 2023. The multi-species ‘DuraBella Meet Me in Miami’ was new in 2021 and combines petunia ‘Ray Sunshine Improved’, calibrachoa ‘Lia Bubblegum’, and verbena ‘Vanessa Purple’. Danziger has added verbena ‘Vanessa Lime’, verbena ‘Optik Grape’ and calibrachoa ‘Lia Yellow’ improved for 2023.
6. ‘MIXMASTER SUNNYSIDE IMP’
This multi-species MixMaster sun combo recipe was trialed last year throughout
the country in university, public, and private trials, and it was one of the highest rated and a top summer performer in multiple trials. The components are the incomparable petunia ‘Bee’s Knees’, the improved verbena ‘Firehouse White’ and the new calibrachoa ‘Cabaret Yellow’. This was one of the most floriferous and bright calibrachoas in the Costa trial in my February and April visits, and its addition to this MixMaster augments the brightness, luminosity, and color saturation of the combination. The petunia ‘Bee’s Knees’ has won many awards, including the 2022 All-America Selections Gold Medal and, in June, the prestigious FleuroStar award for 2022-23. The verbena ‘Firehouse White Improved’ offers better branching, a fuller habit, more vigor, increased floriferousness, and better timing to match the series. The combination of these award-winning, new and improved components produced an eye-catching Mix Master recipe.
7. ZINNIA ZYDECO MIX
The Syngenta Kwik Kombo program consists of a wide assortment of vegetative components. The new interspecific zinnia Zydeco seed series was included in the container trial to demonstrate the matched timing, flower size, colors, abundant flower canopy and heat tolerance of the series. This double series includes four colors, Cherry, Deep Yellow, Fire and White. It was many years in development, and the result is a zinnia with durability and endurance in the garden and landscape sites. In the Costa trial earlier in the year, and in the Young’s trial, the series demonstrated outstanding rain, humidity and heat tolerance. I look forward to evaluating this series in northern trials later this summer.
8. ‘CONFETTI GARDEN TRIO MIX HEARTLAND’
The diversity of new lantana varieties expands every year with breeders introducing new series with solid, bicolor, and multicolored flowers and diverse growth habits. Lantana offers numerous features and benefits to the landscape, industry, and consumers. With the launch of the Heartland series in 2021, Dümmen Orange introduced a vigorous series to complement the compact and popular Havana series. Seven colors were introduced last year, and two additional colors have been added for 2023: Blue Moon and Orange. I evaluated the series in the Raker- Roberta’s trial last August, and in multiple trials this summer. The attributes include vigor, glossy foliage, uniformity, large umbels and a prodigious flower canopy. The new ‘Confetti Garden Trio Mix Heartland’ for 2023, comprised of Neon, Full Moon, and Pink Sky, manifested uniformity, excellent timing, and floriferousness in the container trial.
9. ‘PETCHOA SUPERCAL GUMBALL MIX’
This Sakata Supercal Mix is experimental, but it manifested the characteristics we have come to expect from this series: heat, humidity, and rain tolerance, large non-fading flowers, uniform timing, and a prolific flower canopy. The mix consists of ‘SuperCal Rose’, ‘SuperCal Light Yellow’, and ‘SuperCal Royal Red’. Sakata will offer five Supercal Mixes for 2023, and based on its dynamic performance in the Young’s trial, I anticipate this mix to be added in the near future.
This is a current recipe in the Proven Winners program, and it demonstrated excellent timing, tight internodes, texture, and outstanding flower coverage in the Young’s trial. The components are petunia ‘Supertunia Honey’, calibrachoa ‘Superbells Tropical Sunrise’ and petunia ‘Supertunia Red’. The analogous flower colors and patterns created dynamic color in this combination. There are a multitude of Proven Winners bundled mixes available for 2023, and this recipe demonstrated through its performance why it has been in the program for consecutive years.
11. CALIBRACHOA ‘TIKTOK ORANGE/WHITE’
The diversity and range of Dümmen Orange calibrachoa series, comprising unique colors and polychromatic flower patterns, is superb. The TikTok series, introduced last year, adds another dimension to the Calibrachoa portfolio. There are five colors available for 2023, including the new ‘TikTok Orange’ and ‘TikTok Blue’. What distinguishes them is the distinct starburst flower pattern with the eye-catching center. There are six Confetti Garden TikTok recipes for 2023. This combination recipe in the Young’s trial is experimental, but demonstrates the vibrancy, vigor, floriferousness and well-defined color separation of ‘TikTok Orange’ and ‘TikTok White’, which is representative of the entire series.
12. ‘MIXMASTER BIDEN MY TIME IMPROVED’
This multi-species MixMaster sun combo is new and improved for 2023. It combines bidens ‘Bee Happy Red’, calibrachoa ‘Cabaret Deep Yellow’, and verbena ‘Firehouse Red’. These three warm colors create excitement and visual heat, and will generate high impact in patio containers. The bidens ‘Bee Happy Red’ is a medium-vigor variety with striking bicolor flowers. The calibrachoa ‘Cabaret Golden Yellow’ has the vigor, timing, and floriferousness to fill the container, and the verbena ‘Firehouse Red’ offers a semi-mounded habit with highly saturated red flower petals.
13. CELOSIA FLAMMA MAMAS
The celosia Flamma series is new for 2023 but was entered in multiple trials last year as experimental; my first viewing and evaluation of this new series was in the Mast Young Plants’ container trial and Raker- Roberta’s field trial late last August. What is so impressive is the multiple branching and the large, bright, non-fading plumes. This undeviating performance was evident in the Costa Premier trial this spring, in the Young’s Plant Farm container trial in early June and the Dallas Arboretum container trial in late June. The series demonstrated superior heat and humidity tolerance, consistent timing, early flowering, dense branching, and exceptional flower power. Celosia ‘Flamma Orange’ won the prestigious All-America Selections award for 2022 for its presentation, performance and summer hardiness throughout the country. Sakata is no stranger to celosia with the breeding of Chief, Prestige, Dragon’s Breath and the Century series. The breeding, development and introduction of this series sets a high standard in celosia breeding. There are five colors and a mix in this seed series for 2023.