Dr. A Weighs in on His CAST Favorites From American Takii, Sakata Ornamentals, and Benary+

The Greenhouse Grower Variety Team at California Spring Trials (CAST) 2018 visited American Takii, Hilverdakooij, Speedling, Sakata Ornamentals, and Ernst Benary of America on the third day. Here are my top plant picks of the day.

Sunflower ‘Smiley’ (American Takii): We have seen a few sunflowers on the trip, and likely more to come. ‘Smiley’ from Takii Seed is as sturdy a plant as I have seen. They are short and have excellent secondary flowering. The color is strong and plants should make a nice impulse item at retail. Who can resist a Van Gogh?

Experimental Blue Delphinium grandiflorum (American Takii): In our industry, “blue is blue, unless it is red” fairly portrays our manner of describing flower colors. Violet, lavender, dark blue, azure blue, and mauve are often characterized as blue. However, the experimental delphinium from Takii Seed is a true blue, and a true dark blue at that. As soon as you place your eyes upon it, you are hooked. It is still a delphinium and still possesses inherent limitations to warm temperatures, germination, etc, However, it is superb.

SuperCal Premium ‘Caramel Yellow’ and ‘Cinnamon’ (Sakata Ornamentals): I have always been impressed with the landscape toughness of the SuperCals from Sakata. They are almost bullet proof. So, it didn’t take too much effort to have me go gaga over two new colors. ‘Caramel Orange’ and ‘Cinnamon’ have a stout style and elegance. They are simply, well, simply beautiful.

Argyranthemum ‘Artemis Apricot’ (Benary+): I have never been a big fan of argyranthemums, and I am still not a good choice for trumpeting their attributes. However, many people love them, and they find them very successful in the landscape and garden. ‘Artemis Apricot’ from Benary+ really caught my eye. It was short, but I could not take my eyes off the flowers. The plants carry flowers of more than one color as they open and fade. While the predominant flower color is apricot, the flowers are more or less bi-tone as the new flowers fade. These simple plants are amazing.

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