Armitage’s Take On Great Seed Combos, Verbena, Veronica and Buddleia Spotted At Spring Trials

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We visited a couple large sites today (April 7), and there were a lot of great ideas and plants on view.

Kwik Kombos Blue Lightening Mix

Syngenta

Walking into Syngenta is like walking into a candy store – way too many flavors to taste them all. The new products included some handsome dahlias, verbenas, Kwik Kombos and a few patio vegetables.

I have trialed many verbenas over the years and the Lanai series has always been one of my top choices. In the Lanai series, Syngenta has some interesting upright forms, but the most impressive was the Lanai Twister series. The vivid, bicolor flowers are outstanding and the plants provide an excellent habit for baskets and containers. Syngenta showed off one new color and a number of improvements – this series will catch everyone’s eye in the garden center and in the landscape.

The Kwik Kombos continue to be a focus of Syngenta. I really liked the combination of yellow lantana and blue scaevola, which for climates with summer heat are better choices than those containing lobelia in the mix. Syngenta is also experimenting with seed combinations with a new line called Seedsations. While most of the combos I saw are presently experimental, I see good things coming down the pipe.

The vegetable program continues to grow, and Syngenta’s marketing efforts highlight how vegetables can be best used by the consumer, such as in community gardens, patio gardens or raised beds. A most impressive educational marketing campaign!

SHS/Griffin

SHS/Griffin is always a treat because of its displays of basic garden products like secateurs, sprayers and other bread and butter items for the retailer. It also showed some of its perennials. SHS/Griffin is distributing stand-alones like snow cone and their alpine saxifragas. Sedums continue to be a very popular item and SHS/Griffin showed some excellent ways to grow them, including a coir mat version from Northwest and a 6-pack take away package of succulents from EuroAmerican.

Veronica 'Enchanted Indigo'Proven Winners

Proven Winners has developed some licensing agreement with other breeders that have allowed them to rename some good plants. Some examples of this are ‘Pegasus’ begonia, ‘Timeless’ geraniums and ‘Playing the Blues’ salvia, which are established in the trade as ‘Gryphon’, Caliente series and ‘Mystic Blues’ respectively.

In annuals, I liked their new calibrachoas and the Charm series of petunias. But I was really taken with Cuphea ‘Vermillion.’

Proven Winners’ shrub line is excellent. Growers, retailers and consumers will do well with the dwarf buddleias, such as Lo and Beyond series ‘Blue Chip Jr.,’ the sparkling ‘Lemon Lace’ elderberry and my favorite – deutzia ‘Yuki Cherry Blossom.’ These are terrific new introductions.

In the last number of years, Proven Winners’ offerings in perennials continues to blossom. From the excellent colors in baptisia to hostas and lavenders, there was something for everyone. However, three introductions caught my eyes and I believe will do well. The veronica ‘Enchanted Indigo’ has many fine attributes and an excellent chance of being highly successful. Salvia ‘Crystal Blue,’ part of the Color Spires series, brings a vibrant new blue color to perennial salvias. Lastly, two heucheras stood apart. Look for ‘Blackberry Ice’ and ‘Brazen Raisin’ – these will be in great demand next year.

Allan Armitage was a professor in the Department of Horticulture at the University of Georgia for 30 years. He recently retired and remains an active consultant, author and lecturer.
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One comment on “Armitage’s Take On Great Seed Combos, Verbena, Veronica and Buddleia Spotted At Spring Trials

  1. Mr. Kyle Fletcher Baker, MCN

    When Armitage starts talking about new plants my ears perk up…then I read the list and quickly go from disappointed to disgusted….I now am surprised if the words ‘Proven Winner’s’ isn’t in the first paragraph ….sad to see such in incredibly intelligent man with such a respectable history turn out to be no more than another P. Allan Smith…..