Allan Armitage’s Noteworthy 2018 Plant Intros from Dümmen Orange and Plug Connection

The Greenhouse Grower Variety Team at California Spring Trials (CAST) 2018 visited Dümmen Orange and Floricultura (Westhoff, Beekenkamp, Plug Connection) on the third day. Here are my top plant picks of the day.

Begonia I’Conia Portofino Series (Dümmen Orange): Talk about change. I realize I am sounding a wee bit old, but it was not that long ago that when we said begonia, we meant wax begonia. They were and are terrific, but oh my, look at the begonia now. Everywhere I see fabulous begonias, but nowhere have they been as beautiful and well displayed as at Dümmen Orange. They were all wonderful, but the new series in the I’Conia group is spectacular. The series is the Portofino series, and while all the colors are wonderful, I was particularly impressed with Portofino Orange and Portofino Champagne. However, I’m a guy, what do I know. Outstanding work on Dümmen’s part.

Hamelia ‘Lime Sizzler’ (Plug Connection): While this is not a plant for everyone, it could be a surprising little gem for those selling to people in hot summer climates. The plant was displayed by Plug Connection and could be something for patios and decks in the south or anywhere where temperatures routinely stay above 80°F. The foliage is certainly handsome, and if temperatures are too cool to allow for many flowers, the plant will always remain ornamental.

Rose True Bloom Rose Series (Plug Connection): Every rose breeder and seller is chasing the Knockout brand. However, I have seen some new rose introductions this trip that will turn many a head. One of the neatest new introductions is the True Bloom series from Plug Connection. They have been bred with disease resistance and with flowers that look like, and more importantly, smell like hybrid teas. I really liked ‘True Passion’ and ‘True Inspiration.’ I see these as strong contenders to break into the very competitive rose market.

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