Plants of all shapes, sizes and species are rolled out during Spring Trials each year, the vast majority of which, of course, are annuals. The numbers of new introductions can be almost overwhelming, and every stop on the tour offers at least a few welcome surprises.
Check out these highlights from the 2012 California Spring Trials and see which annuals may be a fit for your production run next spring.
Begonia Arcada series
Bright-colored blooms and unique foliage colors and shapes are part of the Arcada series signature. The begonias come in seven colors and work well in hanging baskets. Because this series thrives in the shade, it can easily brighten up a not-so-sunny space.
Begonia boliviensis ‘Santa Cruz Sunset ’
Both drought and rain tolerant, ‘Santa Cruz Sunset’ is a low-maintenance crop that thrives in full sun or shade. Red-orange and striking bell-shaped flowers make it a great impulse pick for retail customers.
Chrysanthemum ‘Staviski Yellow’
New for the 2012 season, this bright chrysanthemum is a prime choice for mixed-color planters. Part of a late-season family of plants, this variety works well in a summer shade program.
Primula acaulis ‘Blue Zebra’
This light blue flower with dark blue veins and a bright yellow center has a long blooming period and is easy to grow. Available for 2013, ‘Blue Zebra’ is a great addition to any spring program.
Pansy Cool Wave series
With the popularity of the Cool Wave petunias, PanAmerican Seed now offers the Cool Wave pansy. With long-lasting color and cool-weather hardiness, this easy-care, spreading pansy makes a great filler in baskets and mixed combos.
Impatiens ‘Patchwork Cosmic Orange’
These tri-colored impatiens are part of a low-maintenance, grower-friendly series. Delivering non-stop color all season, ‘Patchwork Cosmic Orange’ is ideal for premium basket and planter programs.
Petunia ‘Blue A Fuse’
Burpee Home Gardens
With a catchy name and stunning violet, yellow and white flowers, these petunias pop in any basket. ‘Blue A Fuse’ is a low-energy-input crop that flowers early.Its compact, mounded habit also looks great at retail.
Begonia ‘Sparks Will Fly’
Burpee Home Gardens
This bronze and orange begonia is an easy-to-grow quick finisher. ‘Sparks Will Fly’ works well in patio planters or used in the landscape as a low-growing annual for the front of borders.
Short Pot Freesias: ‘Sunburst,’ ‘Tootsie,’ ‘Gompey’
Each of these three genetically-short freesia varieties have a wonderful fragrance, compact growth and short crop time. A partial-sun plant, these freesias bloom from March to July and grow best in USDA Zones 8 though 11.
Evolvulus ‘Blue My Mind’
‘Blue My Mind’ stands out for its heat and drought tolerance. An outstanding container plant, it loves hot weather. Plants do need to be watered well for several weeks during root establishment. While the plants can withstand drought conditions, growth and flowering are
better with consistent moisture. Deadheading is unnecessary.
Lobularia ‘Blushing Princess’
‘Blushing Princess’ impresses with its vigor, temperature tolerance and abundance of flowers. This is a beauty for
baskets, containers and flower beds. As long as soil stays moist, ‘Blushing Princess’ will continue to provide color throughout the summer.
Petunia Summer Double series
Early flowering, outstanding heat and rain tolerance and a uniform mounding shape make this series notable among double petunias. Consumers will love the versatility and long bloom time. Grow as a pot plant or in baskets.
Begonia Crackling Fire series
New for 2013, this series of begonias have showy, strong colors and grow quickly. These plants are naturally compact, have an upright growth habit and thrive in full to part sun.
Euphorbia ‘StarDust SuperFlash’
Dümmen USA’s ‘StarDust Super Flash’ (which has a new name after being called StarDust White Flash at Trials) has an impressive amount of bracts, great heat tolerance and wonderful growth habits. With its much fuller flowering, this variety presents a full blanket of white, and will standout against many of the still-beautiful but much thinner-flowering euphorbia.
Geranium Great Balls of Fire series
This series of drought- and heat-tolerant, double-flowered ivy geraniums includes eight color choices. Other benefits include big blooms and strong foliage. With a branching and mounding habit that trails over the edge of the pot, the Great Balls of Fire series is a perfect choice for hanging baskets.
Diascia Penhow Little series
With a breathtaking array of uniform flowers, these plants look great in garden borders, rockeries, containers and baskets. These long-flowering diascias come in six colors. The finish time for a quart-size pot is six to eight weeks and 10 to 12 weeks for a gallon-sized pot.
Calibrachoa ‘Peach Cobbler’
Continual flowering from spring to late fall and breeding that allows the flowers to stay open for longer periods in low
temperatures and light levels help make this calibrachoa a profitable crop. Yellow flowers with red-veined stars help
brighten any garden or patio and look stunning in a basket or pot.
Scaevola ‘Scampi White’ and ‘Scampi Blue’
These two compact varieties are ideal choices for a container garden. While ‘Scampi White’ has a spreading habit and can grow to 4 to 6 inches in sun or shade, ‘Scampi Blue’ has a mounded habit and grows 6 to 10 inches tall in the shade. ‘Scampi White’ is a Zone 7 to 9 plant, but ‘Scampi Blue’ thrives in Zones 12 to 14.
Begonia ‘Ikon Bronze’
Whether a plug, pot, landscape or hanging basket plant, ‘Ikon Bronze’ displays tactile foliage with a lovely branching habit. Each blush-white flower is 2.75 to 5.5 inches in diameter, forming a mass of blooms that spread 16 to 20 inches.
XPetchoa ‘Artist Rose’
This is a new color in the SuperCal Petchoa series; the flowers are lavender, threaded with deep purple veins. ‘Artist Rose’ shares the same extra-large flowers, early flowering, non-sticky foliage and self-cleaning ability of the rest of the series, which now also includes blushing pink and violet.
Calibrachoa Calpetites series
This brand-new series features five colors − blue, pink, yellow, red and white − and tight, dense plants that do not need PGRs. It is ideal for shipping, tolerates high pH and stays compact even in retail environments.
Petunia Trilogy series
Trilogy petunias have the ability to both mound and spread effectively. Available in seven colors, these petunias work in the traditional garden as well as in baskets. The Trilogy series also requires fewer PGRs and boasts a longer-lasting performance in the retail setting.
Cyclamen persicum ‘Super Serie Mammoth’
Growing to a super size without losing its signature round shape, this series is known for its thick, long stems and, of course, large blooms. Growers also have the ability to define their own color mixtures of the eight colors that range from cream white and light salmon pink to wine-red flamed and neon-flamed.
Verbena ‘Lanai Candy Cane’
The striking red-and-white bicolor flowers of ‘Candy Cane’ are borne on uniform, vigorous plants with exceptional powdery mildew tolerance. The Lanai series is frost-tolerant and ideal for early spring sales. Sell by itself or in mixed containers.
Petunia Picobella Cascade series
This brand-new minature trailing petunia series features flowers in lavender, purple, red, salmon and white. It offers excellent central flowering with flowers all over the plant and a uniform flowering window.
Lavender Laveanna series
These floriferous and well-branched plants produce a lovely lavender scent from both the flowers and the leaves. Each of the four colors boasts a well-shaped habit. Growing best in full sun and well-drained soil, the Laveanna series works well in the garden, on patios or as part of a mixed container.
Dianthus Cosmic series
Pacific Plug & Liner
These heirloom-style, flowering carnations are fragrant, have peppermint-colored blooms and flower from February through April. A sun-loving series, the two colors, pink swirl and red swirl, grow best in USDA Zones 6 through 9.
Cosmos ‘Pink Pop Socks’
Thompson & Morgan
This easy-to-sow annual boasts a compact habit and looks great in a pot. With a mix of fully-double pompom, anemone or single flowers, ‘Pink Pop Socks’ has the ability to be a mixed basket on its own. Growers can also select the flower type based on the foliage.
Chrysanthemum Mystic Mums Series
Mystic Mums are bred to have larger, decorative flowers and a flexible, mounding plant habit. There are unique color options and the series offers great color retention and shelf life. The flowering season for these mums ranges from very early to very late depending on the variety.
Gerbera ‘Garvinea Sleeping Beauty’
These white-and-purple blooms are present from early spring until frost and work well in the garden, borders and containers. With a high resistance to pests and diseases, as well as an ability to thrive in diverse weather conditions, ‘Garvinea Sleeping Beauty’ is a great, low-maintenance plant.