April 11, 2016
Dr. Allan Armitage: 6 Picks From Ball Horticultural Co. And Green Fuse Botanicals During 2016 California Spring Trials
Editor’s Note: In Day 1 of our coverage of California Spring Trials 2016, Dr. Allan Armitage, Contributing Editor for Greenhouse Grower, talks about the plants that caught his eye. See images of his six picks in the slideshow. Petunia ‘Night Sky’ (Selecta) Am I really starting off with a petunia? It is not that they are not all beautiful, there are just so many of them, Having looked at new plants for many years, it is difficult for any petunia to impress me. ‘Night Sky’ did just that. To gush about how the dozens of glittering white spots glitter on the blue petals does not do it justice. Suffice it to say it was different, it was fun, and people were talking about it. I certainly am. Begonia MegaWatt Series (PanAmerican Seed) Begonias are one of the building blocks of annual spring sales. “Full-size” wax begonias, personified by the Dragon […]
October 20, 2015
Eucomis Aloha Series: A New Bulb Crop For Containers
The Eucomis Aloha series of Pineapple lilies may be the next money making bulbs for the deck with their compact habits and shorter stems that are perfect for containers.
September 2, 2015
Under Siege? Not Really, Just Go For A Walk
I have no trouble with people buying chocolates or wine instead of flowers to celebrate anniversaries, birthdays or peoples’ lives. We should all have choices. However, the other night I felt like I was entering the Republican caucus. I was minding my own business by the television set and became more than a little upset. A website called insteadofflowers.com came on the screen. It provided serene music and wholesome images of busy women doing busy things. It turns out that such busy women enjoy a small token of appreciation, but apparently their enjoyment, according to the voice-over, does not include flowers. This website delivers meals to the house, anything from beef brisket to beef bourguignon. It is a fine website with a good idea. But why pick on us? Why not use “insteadofbaloneysandwiches.com” or “insteadofgrilledcheeseandsoup.com,” “insteadofburgerdoodle.com,” or a dozen other things. When did flowers get to be the whipping boy? […]
July 30, 2015
Allan Armitage: Let’s Talk About Starflowers. Why Is Pentas Not More Popular?
It is good to talk about production techniques, performance results and then to see how our friends garden. Diversity of plant material has always been a strength in American garden centers, and we should never run out of plants to get people excited. However, perhaps people are tired of Petunias or Callas or Geraniums, but we will never run out of options to put in front of them. One plant that is often overlooked is Pentas, a fabulous summer crop for late spring sales. These are heat-tolerant plants, and growing them below 65°F in the greenhouse results in significant delay. Fertility should be at least 150ppm nitrogen, but avoid ammonia in the fertilizer. Plants are best grown at a somewhat higher pH than usual, between 6.4 to 6.8. For best presentation, pinch out the center bud. Side flowers will bloom together, and plants will walk off the shelf. Garden centers […]
May 15, 2015
Allan Armitage On Plants: We Are Alive And Well, Thank You
Allan Armitage tells why the horticulture industry is about the people, not the plants, not the marketing and not the social media, and why horticulture is here to stay.
April 22, 2015
Allan Armitage Finds A Lot To Love On His Last Day At Trials
On the last day of the 2015 California Spring Trials, Allan Armitage and the Greenhouse Grower team visited three stops that accounted for 12 breeding companies. From annuals and perennials to herbs and strawberries, Armitage found plenty to get excited about.
April 17, 2015
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.
April 16, 2015
Allan Armitage Finds Some Surprising Intros At Floricultura
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. Westhoff 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 […]
April 16, 2015
Golden State Bulbs And Sakata: Allan Armitage Highlights New Offerings
Dr. Allan Armitage was excited to see both new and improved breeding, as well as have the chance to meet breeders and talk shop at Sakata Seed and Golden State Bulb. Sakata Seed At Sakata, we wandered through traditional crops like zinnias, New Guinea impatiens, calibrachoa and petunias. However, I have always been impressed with the SuperCal program, and this year’s introduction of vibrant colors of Light Yellow and Pink really caught my eye. The flowers of Light Yellow are significantly larger than other colors in the series. I believe the SuperCals are poised for major additional sales. Everybody was talking about ‘Dragon’s Breath’ celosia, and I wanted to see what the hype was all about. It is surely hype-worthy. The plants I observed were large with obvious vigor, and the foliage was coppery with huge, bright, rose-red flowers. Apparently this is a plant that benefits from minimal inputs, such as […]
April 14, 2015
Allan Armitage Finds Old Fashioned Plants Are New Again At CAST 2015
Day two of California Spring Trials was packed with breeders and all their new introductions and marketing. Allan Armitage found several varieties he felt were worth a second look.