Allan Armitage visited three breeders at Spring Trials’ newest location, Floricultura. He found several plants that made Floricultura’s debut a must-stop site in 2015.
At Westhoff, plant breeding is alive and well, with many things to embrace. The petunia program is vibrant and creative, and I am particularly confident that the Crazytunia program will continue to grow. Crazytunias should fly off the shelves because of their unique colors.
Westhoff also brings more standard fare to the table. The Epic series of bacopas have large flowers and should be of particular interest. ‘Epic White’ is particularly nice. And the lobelia in the Hot series has been excellent. ‘Snow White’ adds a good white to the mix. The Hot series does tolerate heat better than most lobelias and now it has a reasonable number of colors.
The plant that caught my interest the most this year was ‘Lilac Cascade.’ According to Westhoff, this is an intergeneric hybrid between Lamium and Stachys, two genera that provide toughness and long flowering in the landscape. This is untested, but I recommend that growers and retailers take a close look at this plant because it’s different and could become quite popular with consumers.
Beekenkamp brings additional colors to the pallet with its introduction of a brand new celosia series, Kelos Fire. It is day-length insensitive, a useful characteristic for scheduling. Five colors are available, and all appear to be vibrant and easy to produce.
When I visit Plug Connection, I am never quite sure what I will see. The grafted veggie program has been quite successful and the introduction of ‘Ketchup and Fries’ will without a doubt capture everybody’s imagination.
Plug Connection is also working on a traditional vegetable introduction program with large fruits on small plants.
I was also pleased to see the reintroduction of the Fascination series of fragrant dianthus. These are true mini carnations and have the potential for repeat sales.