Allan Armitage’s Favorite Plants From Proven Winners, Syngenta And Danziger

Between visiting California Spring Trial giants like Proven Winners, Syngenta and Danziger, Allan Armitage saw a lot of great plants in one day. Despite the size of the challenge, Dr. Armitage finds a few favorites he thinks you should try.

Proven Winners

As always, a potpourri of excellent breeding was on display. I found myself, reluctantly, coming back to the ‘Holy Moly’ calibrachoa.  Reluctantly, because there are already so many, it is hard to recommend another. It did stand out for me.

The Hello! series of gerberas sported vibrant colors. ‘Hello Pumpkin’ was my favorite, on strong stems. They were touted as persistent flowerers and extraordinarily weather tolerant. They were handsome. Time will tell the performance story, but I have sufficient confidence to include them here.

Proven Winners’ dwarf non-seed-spewing Verbena bonariensis, called ‘Meteor Showers’ was promised to be a branching short form of this very favorite plant. The offerings so far have seeded around way too much, thus are difficult to love. However, if this does not, and is truly dwarf, this will be a big winner.

Proven Winners is also introducing a bidens, this one a bright orange mango colored form, called ‘Campfire Fireplace.’ It is taller than most, but strong enough that it will not fall over. This is a very eye-catching color.


This was one of the finest displays in the entire journey. The area was airy and open and Syngenta’s offerings were displayed with creativity and taste.

I loved the trend to simplification, shown by the introduction of the Tritunia series of petunias. The best of three different series of grandiflora petunias have been combined into one. This is good news for everyone. I hope the rest of the breeders take heed. Simplification is good, clutter is bad.

I was pleased that combination baskets touting heat tolerance had plants that actually tolerate heat in Southern and Gulf climes. No lobelias and lobularias; rather nice mixes featuring scaevola, lantana, angelonia and other proven heat lovers. I love honesty in advertising.

I was also pleased to see the efforts in collecting data on vegetable performance in the container versus the ground. It turns out there is very little – and it’s information that will be most helpful to retailers and consumers.


Danziger has many new introductions. Its new scabiosa sported large, exquisite rosy-red flowers. One of the best perennials surfaced at Danziger – coreopsis ‘Solanna Glow.’ This is an excellent series and this variety should help maintain its excellence.

Danziger’s new ‘Vanessa Dark Pink’ verbena was lovely as was the Grace series of gaura, with two excellent colors and good habit.

However, what I was most pleased to see was a combination basket called Reese, consisting of lavender and light purple flowers. It was a wonderful remembrance of our friend, Reese Kiikka, who passed away suddenly a little over a year ago. He was a wonderful, caring person, and I am happy to see him honored this way. It was a nice tribute and a very handsome, sale-able combination basket.

Topics: , ,

Leave a Reply

More From Armitage On Plants...

March 20, 2018

California Spring Trials 2018 Central Region Preview: Ball Horticultural, Dümmen Orange, PlantHaven, Suntory Flowers

Check out this California Spring Trials 2018 Central Region preview of new varieties from Ball Horticultural Co., Dümmen Orange, PlantHaven International, and Suntory Flowers.

Read More

March 20, 2018

Survey Says: Poinsettia Prices, Sales, and Production Increased in 2017

Traditional reds were still bestsellers, but interest continues to grow in white and novelty varieties. Greenhouse Grower’s annual survey provides an in-depth look at the holiday season.

Read More
Green Fuse Lupine Staircase Pink

March 19, 2018

Green Fuse Botanicals Expanding Distribution Network

The company’s expanded product line has created an opportunity to broaden its reach to the grower community through a wider range of brokers.

Read More
Latest Stories

March 6, 2018

Allan Armitage: Columnist, Author, Professor … Te…

Dr. Allan Armitage is well-known in the horticulture industry for his passion for plants. That passion also applies to tennis, as evidenced by his tennis team’s run to a national championship.

Read More
Helleborus Frostkiss Penny's Pink

February 24, 2018

Allan Armitage on Hot New Perennials for 2018

Here are some of the perennials Armitage thinks may increase in value in 2018.

Read More

January 26, 2018

Allan Armitage: A Closer Look at New Annuals for 2018

Petunias, marigolds, pansies, lantanas, and zinnias will always be needed, but here are some other annuals I think may increase sales.

Read More

January 6, 2018

Why Growers Should Not Market Their Plants, But the Sol…

In his latest column, Allan Armitage says landscapers, designers, and gardeners want solutions to problems, not simply a recommendation for one more handsome plant.

Read More

December 3, 2017

Great Plants for 2018 That Stand Up to Heat and Humidit…

In his latest column, Allan Armitage credits trial managers at the University of Georgia, who have come up with an extensive list of plants that continually outperform others throughout the season.

Read More
Allan Armitage San Marzano tomato plant feature

October 26, 2017

Allan Armitage: Why Simplicity Rules for Younger Homeow…

Most starter gardeners are not looking to buy the ingredients to make a combination planter or basket. They want it made for them — no muss, no fuss.

Read More
Allan Armitage Of Naked Ladies and Forget Me Nots

October 2, 2017

Hear Classic Plant Stories From Allan Armitage in an Up…

Greenhouse Grower’s resident Contributing Editor and “Dr. A. Unchained” scribe Allan Armitage will be the guest speaker on gardening author and speaker Kerry Ann Mendez’s national gardening Webinar series.

Read More
Armitage GWA Buffalo Tour 5

September 21, 2017

Tour of Buffalo Gardens Reveals Hidden Gems And Communi…

This past August, Allan Armitage joined the Association for Garden Communicators on a tour of Buffalo. It was a reminder that that we can make a difference in neighborhoods, in cities, and in people’s lives.

Read More
Bidens Popstar (Kientzler)

August 31, 2017

Allan Armitage: Why I’ve Become a Fan of Bidens

The rather boring plant with mundane daisy-yellow flowers has morphed into a vigorous plant carrying colorful flowers that seems to be comfortable in most of the country.

Read More
Van Wilgens Garden Center Customer Appreciation Day

July 26, 2017

Allan Armitage: How Interacting With Your Customers Can…

Plants are our common denominator, but trust and positive interaction with our customers and each other is truly what keeps us in the plant business.

Read More
Allan Armitage Citizenship

June 26, 2017

Allan Armitage Describes His Path to Citizenship

In between offering his take on new varieties and gardening trends, Allan Armitage and his wife Susan recently became proud citizens of the U.S.

Read More
Tyler Beasley and Allan Armitage

May 25, 2017

Allan Armitage: Two Great Examples of Young People Movi…

In his latest column, Allan Armitage says perhaps we should, as an industry, extend our hands to our youngest members. We might be pleasantly surprised what happens.

Read More
Allan Armitage Of Naked Ladies and Forget Me Nots

May 2, 2017

Allan Armitage: How Growers Can Be Creative to Take Gar…

Our industry does a good job of making things convenient for our customers. It’s time to take it a step further.

Read More

April 5, 2017

Dr. A’s Day Four Top Varieties for CAST 2017

Check out Dr. Allan Armitage's top five picks from visits to Dummen Orange, Chisan Orchids, and Windmill Nursery during day four of California Spring Trials 2017.

Read More

April 4, 2017

Dr. A’s Day Three Picks for CAST 2017

Take a look at Dr. Allan Armitage’s top five favorites from the American Takii, Sakata, and Floricultura stops during the 2017 California Spring Trials.

Read More

April 3, 2017

CAST 2017, Day 2: Dr A’s Eye Catchers

Today I wanted to share some exciting programs that were on display on Day 2 at CAST. There are always new plants to chat up, which I will do tomorrow, but here are a few interesting lineups to think about.

Read More

April 2, 2017

CAST 2017: Dr. A’s Top 5 Picks From Danziger, Syngenta …

On day one of California Spring Trials 2017, Dr. Allan Armitage reveals the five plants that most caught his attention.

Read More
Allan Armitage Of Naked Ladies and Forget Me Nots

March 28, 2017

New Book From Allan Armitage Features Stories of Plant …

“Of Naked Ladies and Forget-Me-Nots” offers Allan’s recollections of the origins of unique plant names, as well as how many plants factored into historical events.

Read More