Allan's Top Picks At Ball Horticultural Co.
Allan Armitage shares the top varieties that caught his eye from Ball FloraPlant, PanAmerican Seed and Selecta
April 13, 2010
Ball Floral Plant
'Black Velvet' petunia: No matter where we have traveled, petunias are offered. You would think with the number of petunias available that there could be nothing new in that class. Walking into the store at Ball Flora Plant soon dispelled that crazy notion. 'Black Velvet' is truly black, not just dark purple, and was shown by itself and in combination planters with plants of other colors. BLF also showed two sister plants, 'Phantom' and 'Pinstripe', both with contrasting colors on black petals. Interesting indeed, who thought black was such an arresting color?
Impatiens 'Patchwork Peach Prism': Wow, a bicolor impatiens with wonderful contrasting colors and impressive plant habit. Similar to the comment above, who would have thought there was room for another walleriana type impatiens to stand out from the crowd. 'Peach Prism' and its sister 'Pink Shades' are worth looking at.
Pan American Seed
Simply Salad program: Vegetables continue to be important items for the retailer and the Pan American fuseable seed program is nothing short of brilliant. A mix of pelleted seeds of your favorite salad greens that can be plug grown, then inserted into a bowl or container - and voila, the salad is served. Combinations with vegetative cuttings have been the craze for many years, combination seeds that germinate at the same time and fit a fast turnover program for veggies- have not. This is going to be a winner.
Begonia 'Gryphon': I was impressed with the ornamental foliage, the vigorous growth, and the reasonable quick bench time for this begonia. The begonia market has embraced those with large colorful foliage but few have been available from seed. PAS offers multi-pelleted seed for easier germination and I think the plant will catch the eyes of many consumers.
Selecta First Class
Begonia Bonfire Chocolate Series: 'Bonfire' has proven to be a highly marketable plant and has enjoyed excellent sales. Selecta has brought dark foliage to the bonfires with pink flowers ('Chocolate Pink') and red flowers ('Chocolate Red'). Big, bold and bodacious.
Allan Armitage is a professor in the Department of Horticulture at the University of Georgia, Athens, Ga. You can eMail him at allan@greenhouse grower.com.