Choosing plants to add to your production each season certainly involves some risk. It can be difficult to predict which varieties will be successful for you, your customers and gardeners. So in an effort to help you plan what to grow, GPN has put together a snapshot of this year’s winning varieties. These plants won over judges with their appearance, strength and versatility.
Calibrachoa ‘MiniFamous Double Pink’ (Selecta One). The latest addition to the MiniFamous series, this exceptional summer performer survives all climates due to its strengthened root system. It features radiant pink double flowers that won’t fade even in extreme heat. Consumers will appreciate continuous garden performance from May to October.
Lewisia ‘Elise Ruby Red’ (Floragran). With abundant, continuous flowering, ‘Elise Ruby Red’ will flower for four to five months after sowing until first frost. It provides a delicate looking, yet very strong, pot or garden plant that will lighten up beds, borders, containers and rock gardens. This newcomer will stand out at retail with its glowing color and excellent shelf life.
Zinnia ‘Profusion Red’ (Sakata). A double winner (see AAS winners on pg. 23), ‘Profusion Red’ combines unique red flowers with strength and ease of growing. It blooms profusely from early summer until first frost and is an excellent choice for borders, beds and large containers.
Celosia ‘Asian Garden’ (Murakami Seed). This celosia is the first ever AAS winner from Japanese breeding company Murakami Seed. In the greenhouse, it presents good branching, an almost bushy growth habit and early-to-bloom flower spikes. In the garden, ‘Asian Garden’ continued to bloom on sturdy stems and kept its pink color all summer long.
Dianthus ‘Supra Pink’ (Hem Genetics). Joining its sister 2006 AAS Winner ‘Supra Purple’, ‘Supra Pink’ delivers three seasons of color in this easy-to- grow interspecific dianthus. This vigorous grower only reaches under a foot tall and boasts fancy, clear pink flowers with frilly petal edges that will hold up even in summer heat and drought.
Geranium ‘Calliope Medium Dark Red’ (Syngenta Flowers). This new addition to the well- known interspecific Calliope series presents deep red velvety flowers and excellent branching. With strong stems and a mounded, semi-trailing habit, it works well in containers, combinations, hanging baskets and in the landscape.
Petunia ‘Evening Scentsation’ (American Takii). This is the first petunia to receive an AAS award for its delightful fragrance and striking color. ‘Evening Scentsation’ is a medium-sized multiflora type and is suitable for use in containers, hanging baskets and in mass plantings. The scent is stronger in the evening, though it can be experienced during the day as well.
Penstemon ‘Twizzle Purple’ (Van Hemert & Co.). A North American native, ‘Twizzle Purple’ presents vibrant purple blooms on an upright plant. This penstemon blooms profusely with 1-inch tubular flowers on long, slender stems that grow up to 35 inches tall. It can be used to add height to combination plantings or in the landscape.
Verbena ‘EnduraScape Pink Bicolor’ (Ball FloraPlant). EnduraScape is the first verbena that can tolerate drought and heat plus survive cooler temperatures down to the low teens. This new pink bicolor is outstanding in the landscape or in large containers and baskets. It is a vigorous spreader that pops with soft pink blossoms that darken in the center.
Vinca ‘Mega Bloom Orchid Halo’ (Ameriseed). This exciting new vinca produces extra-large, bright purple blooms with a wide white eye. Plants maintain a nice, dense habit with flowers remaining above the foliage. Growers will appreciate the early bloom time, compactness and plant uniformity.
Zinnia ‘Profusion Red’ (Sakata). Red is the fourth color in the Profusion series to win an AAS award. Judges raved about the vibrant new red addition to the series, which was already groundbreaking due to its compact form, disease resistance, early and continuous blooms, and ease in growing.
Vinca ‘Mega Bloom Pink Halo’ (Ameriseed). Sister to Orchid Halo, Pink Halo produces huge soft pink blooms with a white eye. Both varieties offer outstanding heat and humidity tolerance without succumbing to disease. These flowers present a striking look in the garden, even from a distance.
Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers
Dahlia ‘Café au Lait’. Winner of the Fresh Flower category, this elegant flower boasts large blooms that range from soft pink or peach to creamy beige with a hit of mocha. The plants can produce very thick stems; to avoid, pinch plants when young to encourage branching low on the plant.
Physocarpus ‘Diabolo’. This North American native shrub wins the Woody Stem category and features purple-bronze leaves that can be greenish in late summer in warm climates. The clusters of small white flowers are attractive but difficult to use as cuts as petals readily shatter.
Tulip ‘La Belle Epoque’. Winning the Bulb category, this double-flowered, late tulip presents a unique rose- plum color that transforms to a lighter, almost peach- yellow shade with hints of white edging along the petals. Its stem length is only about 14 to 18 inches, but makes up for short height with beautiful blooms.
American Hosta Growers Association
Hosta ‘Brother Stefan’ (Olga Petryszyn, 1998). This medium- sized hosta displays large, heavily corrugated gold leaves with a wide green margin. Near white flowers grow in early summer. Finished size is 22 inches tall by 35 inches wide.
Perennial Plant Association
Asclepias tuberosa. Commonly known as butterfly weed, this striking perennial is native to the U.S. (except the Northeast) and, as the name suggests, is a butterfly magnet. With vibrant orange, red and yellow flowers, butterfly weed is a lovely addition to sunny gardens and also makes an excellent cut flower.
Jasmina Dolce is managing editor of GPN magazine. She can be reached at [email protected]