Armitage On New Introductions From Ball Horticultural Co., Fides Oro And Green Fuse Botanicals, On The Final Day Of California Spring Trials

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By the last day of Spring Trials, it takes some exciting introductions to capture your attention after several days of viewing dazzling new plants. And that’s exactly what happened during my visit to Ball, Fides Oro and Green Fuse.

Bounce impatiens from Selecta in a bed plantingBall

Where do you start when you are trying to make decisions at Ball? We walked around from corner to corner, and everywhere we looked was something exciting.

For me, I think the Bounce impatiens have high potential to be a game changer in the shade market. They appear low growing, well-branched and downy-mildew resistant. If they can look like bedding plant impatiens, which they look like at trials, and if they don’t open up in the middle, then they will be the answer to “what do I put in the shade?” Here’s hoping.

Let’s talk about the rex begonias. The series of hybrid rex-type begonias, Jurassic, were outstanding. I looked at the plugs, 4-inch and gallon containers, and it looks like a terrific program for growers as well as consumers. Spectacular colors that catch the eye as soon as you see them will be perfect for decks, porches and gazebos. They can be grown in containers by themselves or in combination with other plants.

So many things to choose from, I have to say again how impressed I am with the number of seed items with traditional vegetative plants. Serena angelonia several years ago was a major step forward. We also saw the first euphorbia, ‘Glitz,’ that provides an option to growers they didn’t have before. Now the big news is Ball’s Kabloom series of calibrachoa, grown from seed in many colors. Kabloom looks to have the same potential as vegetative calibrachoas. It provides the option to grow seed, something that not everyone wants, but for those that do, Kabloom will soon be available later in 2014.

Fides Oro

Going to Fides Oro, there is a lot to see. It has two combination planter series called AdORObles and GlamOROus. AdORObles provides growers with three cuttings in a plug, and the series is positioned to compete with Confetti. In contrast, GlamOROus provides a four single-item plug and is positioned to compete with Confetti Garden Party using ORO genetics.

Lavender Madrid Rose from GreenFuseGreen Fuse

Green Fuse always inspires and impresses people who visit its annual and perennial programs. I was pleased with the perennial programs, which included some spectacular new introductions such as veronica ‘Vernique Rose’ and a lavender to die for, new ‘Madrid Rose,’ which has an unusual pink hue. I was also impressed with the breeding on scabiosa. Green Fuse is working on two new colors, purple and rose, to complement the ‘Giga Blue’ program.

Allan Armitage was a professor in the Department of Horticulture at the University of Georgia for 30 years. He recently retired and remains an active consultant, author and lecturer.
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