2015 Missouri Botanical Garden (St. Louis, Mo.) Field Trial Results

The Missouri Botanical Garden trialed 165 varieties this year for a total of 4,149 plants. Summer weather was cooler than past years, with fewer than 14 days of temperatures over 90°F. Most days were in the mid to high 80s, with much less humidity. Rainfall in May, June and part of July was much heavier than normal. August and early Sept were very dry and irrigation became necessary.

The early, cool, wet weather was hard on catharanthus, petunias and pentas. They all got a late start because of the weather but thrived once the sun returned on a regular basis.

Best In Show

Impatiens hawkeri ‘Compact Coral Pink’
■ Begonia ‘Senator White Improved’
■ Coleus ‘Party Lime’
■ Coleus ‘FlameThrower Chili Pepper’
■ Begonia ‘Baby Wing Red’
■ Canna ‘Cannova Lemon’
Celosia argentea ‘Dragon’s Breath’

Top Performers

Impatiens hawkeri ‘Sunpatiens Compact Coral Pink’
■ Dahlia ‘Mystic Illusion’
■ Coleus ‘Flamethrower Chili Pepper’
Verbena bonariensis ‘Pompous Purple’
Impatiens hawkeri ‘Sunpatiens Spreading Tropical Orange’
■ Coleus ‘Party Lime’
Impatiens hawkeri ‘Sunpatiens Spreading Shell Pink’
■ Coleus ‘ColorBlaze Apple Brandy’
■ Begonia ‘Senator White Improved’
Tagetes patula ‘Proud Mari Orange’

Trial Manager Notes

Consumers have no way of telling us what they like unless we overhear them talking or we have a conversation with them. The staff evaluates the trials, and their choices are listed as ten top performers

Solenostemon/Coleus ‘Party Lime’ is terrific for cultural reasons. The small stature of the plant is what is most notable. Less than 8-inches tall, the color is quite different from the most desirable trailing coleus, which are shades of pink and purple. The variety of use will be very popular for this new introduction.

Verbena ‘Pompous Purple’ is shorter than the species and most useful and beautiful. It did not need deadheading until late fall.

Celosia argentea ‘Dragon’s Breath’ – Although it did not get enough votes for the top ten, this celosia did not suffer from any dieback or attrition during the entire growing season. It is very compact and exhibits shades of deep pink that turn to red at the end of summer. It has limited flowers with colorful foliage, but the lack of flowers may have contributed to its lack of votes.

All cultivars of Impatiens Sunpatiens did extremely well as expected. This series loves our climate and may outpace all other Impatiens hawkeri entries in this field. It certainly has taken the limelight over catharanthus and is a candidate to replace I. walleriana, which suffers from downy mildew in our area

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