Trial Manager: Dr. James E. Klett, Professor of Extension and Landscape Horticulturalist, [email protected]
Planting Date: Started May 28, 2008 with geraniums and finished June 18, 2008 with All-America Selection display plants.
Weather Conditions: It was extremely hot and dry in July with more days over 90 degrees than in any previous year. We had some rain in late August and early September.
Best In Show: Zonal Geranium ‘Calliope’ from Syngenta Flowers
This plant stood out with very prolific, deep red flowers that were strong throughout the entire season. The robust flowering was directly related to the impressive vigor of the plant, which had larger leaves and excellent uniform growth habit.
Top 5 Overall:
1. The BEST NEW VARIETY for 2008 was Pennisetum ‘Fireworks,’ from Creek Hill Nursery and entered by Eason Horticultural Resources. The multi-colored foliage which was a combination of dark red with stripes of pink, white and green looked good early in the season even before the purple flower plumes.
2. The BEST OF NOVELTY was given to Ptilotus “Joey” from Benary Seed. This plant had unique flower form, delicate texture and attractive coloring. The flowers appear as a fuzzy “arrow-head” shape with shades of soft lavender and white. Blooms were abundant and lasted throughout the season.
3. ‘Super Elfin Blue Pearl XP’ impatiens from PanAmerican Seed was best seed impatiens. The soft blue color and consistent bloom throughout the season made this a solid winner. Growth habit was very uniform with flowers covering the entire plant.
4. ‘Tidal Wave Hot Pink’ petunia from PanAmerican Seed was best seed-propagated spreading petunia. Plant had a very vigorous growth habit that crested high above other varieties with numerous bright pink flowers.
5. ‘Lanai Blue 09’ verbena from Syngenta Flowers was the best verbena. The stunning blue color of the flowers made a nice contrast against the dark green foliage color. Flowering was strong throughout the summer into the fall with no mildew.
Additional Comments: Overall, petunias performed extremely well in 2008 and looked good late into the season. They seem to like heat during our sunny July and August. Geraniums were also excellent in August and September when cooler nights returned.