The 2017 bedding plant trials at North Dakota State University in Fargo, ND, included 200 full sun and 18 shade cultivars. Most of the cultivars are seed started; the only vegetatively propagated entries are recent All-America Selections winners. The beds were planted May 31 and June 1.
Pre-emergent weed control was put down June 6. Hand weeding and glyphosate were also used for weed control.
A foliar fertilizer (12-4-8) was applied June 21, July 13, and August 24.
The weather in Fargo for June, July, and August was mostly warmer and drier than the 30-year averages.
Aphids were a pest on the ornamental peppers but no control was used. Aster yellows was a problem on the French marigolds and white mold showed up on some of the zinnias. Affected plants were pulled out and disposed of.
Plants were evaluated July 26 and September 6 and 7 for size (average height and spread) and given a 1 (very poor) to 5 (excellent) rating on bloom, vigor, and uniformity. Top cultivars received 5’s in all three areas for both evaluation times. Here are 10 of those top performers:
Alternanthera ‘Purple Prince’
Berlandiera lyrata (Chocolate Flower)
Celosia ‘Arrabona Red’
Celosia ‘Ruby Parfait’
Pennisetum glaucum ‘Copper Prince’
Pennisetum villosum (Feathertop)
Tagetes erecta ‘Moonsong Deep Orange’
Verbena ‘Endurascape Pink Bicolor’