By Tim Hodson, Editorial Director, Lawn & Garden Retailer magazine
This year, for the first time in several years, California Spring Trials took place in March.
The editorial staff from Lawn & Garden Retailer traveled down the California coast over five days. They visited all of the stops to see what exciting new varieties breeding companies have for the upcoming year.
Here is just a sampling of some of the categories that were trending this year.
The California Spring Trials unveiled tons of new perennials with the introduction of ‘ThinkPlants’ — a new marketing initiative created to bring exceptional perennials to the North American marketplace. The consortium is made up of Syngenta Flowers, Terra Nova Nurseries, Danziger, Kiwiflora, Unex, and
Dümmen Orange introduced ‘Rock Crystal’, a new series of delosperma with a diversity of seven colors. Rock Crystal produces large, vivid flowers that are suitable for one quart up to one-gallon sales. It produces retail color throughout the season.
One perennial that drew plenty of attention was the digitalis (or Pink Panther) from American Takii. This plant is bright, colorful, and compact for easy shipping.
Darwin Perennials introduced a hardy new digitalis ‘Arctic Fox Rose’. This beautiful flower grows in northern gardens and flowers all summer long in the south.
Impatiens Make a Comeback
Growers and gardeners have been searching for a solution to Impatiens downy mildew for years.
This year, Syngenta Flowers and PanAmerican Seed introduced new Impatiens walleriana series that provide that solution. Both breeding companies have been doing extensive trials. They demonstrated the results of their research as well as their brand new products.
Imara XDR (Extra Disease Resistance) is Syngenta Flowers’ new series of seed impatiens that have been trialed extensively in North America and Europe. This landscape performer is ideal for growing in packs and pots. There are currently eight colors in the series.
PanAmerican Seed’s new Beacon series of impatiens exhibits high resistance to Impatiens downy mildew all the way through the gardening season. The series is made up of six colors and two mixes.
The begonia category continues to grow every year. Breeders are hard at work perfecting genetics to meet consumers’ needs. Here are just a few that premiered this year.
‘Esme Peach’ is the latest color addition to Beekenkamp’s Dreams BK collection. With excellent outdoor performance and high heat tolerance, it has become a staple for many garden centers. It also has a long shelf life at retail.
The Begonia Funky series from Benary looks great in baskets, containers, and beds. Its unique look and color variation makes it very appealing to consumers. Four new colors debuted this year.
Sakata introduced two new begonia series — ‘Viking’ and ‘Viking XL’. These all-weather begonias incorporate well into landscapes as well as creating beautiful containers. Twelve different colors are available.
Ball Ingenuity’s Betulia Begonia x hiemalis has the look of a tulip with extremely durable smaller foliage and good branching. It blooms continuously from spring until first frost. It is available in four colors.
J Berry Nursery’s Crown Jewel begonias have a rich and luxurious foliage that really light up a landscape. These begonias are bred for heat and drought tolerance and show little inclination for pest and diseases. There are four varieties in the collection.
Sun Shines on Helianthus
Sunflowers were really shining this year during CAST.
Evanthia’s Sunsation series of sunflowers has three new colors — Flame, Lemon, and Yellow. This helianthus has multiple flower buds on the top and dark green glossy foliage.
Proven Winners ‘Suncredible Yellow’ vegetative sunflower is a sun-lover that is loaded with flowers. It continuously blooms from summer through the fall.
This year, Monrovia is bringing ‘Sunbelievable Brown Eyed Girl’ to the marketplace. Consumers will love the fact that one plant alone will produce 1,000 blooms during the growing season!