Armitage Talks Sumo Petunias, Belgium Mums, Garvinea Gerbera and Hort Couture Introductions At Spring Trials
After more visits on day five of Spring Trials, there were many new varieties from several different breeders that caught my eye.
Suntory, the home of Million Bells calibrachoa and Surfinia petunia, has impressed everyone with its new series of Sumo petunias, big, bold and beautiful.
There are far too many petunias in the marketplace today, and eyes tend to glaze over when we see yet another series; however, I think the Sumo series has a place. The pink was quite outstanding. I also thought the upright sun diascias, because they were truly upright, were very nice. The colors were clean and plants across the series appear to be uniform.
Suntory will be introducing a variegated scaevoela — the variegation is clean and the plants caught my eye. Time will tell whether a variegated scaevola has a place. The double petunias are excellent. While they are not new, they’re very good. It’s difficult to breed a uniform series of double flower petunias, but Suntory has managed to do just that. Lastly, it is hard to not be lured under the spell of Heavenly Blue petunia, one of the most handsome petunias in the past few years.
A couple of plants definitely caused a blip on my radar. The ‘Pink Zazzle’ gomphrena is certainly interesting, with its hairy leaves and the very un-gomphrena- like flower. I look forward to seeing how it does in the landscape. If it is a good performer, it will do quite well.
Euro presented a series of Super Mints — with potential to provide good flowering, fragrance and a mounding habit. However, similar to the gomphena, the jury is out on landscape performance — will it remain compact and mounding, or will it be like a mint thug?
As always, the folks at Plant Haven bring interesting plants to the market. Their three new gaillardias were brilliant — mounding, tough and vibrant. Their nemesias and diascias were also exciting and I can’t wait to get my hands on the heat tolerant diascias they are bringing in 2015.
How can you not love what the people at Hort Couture are doing? First of all, it was a PVC-free zone, and for me, that was a nice break. Some of their introductions include ‘Mannequin Mountain Blue’ salvia, a mealey-cup sage on steroids, ‘Ice Queen’ variegated geranium, one of the Glitteratti series of hybrid geraniums and ‘Stainless Steel,’ a great foliage plant (it is a Pseuderanthemum if people need to know) for all areas of the country.
Fantastic lilies were on display, as always, but I am becoming a believer in their callas — incredible colors, excellent habits. Not everyone is buying callas, but if you are, these are indeed worth a look. I also found myself going back to check out their pot astilbes series. They aren’t knocking anyone out of the water with new colors or habits, but being American rather than European-grown could make a significant difference in forcing times.
It was like walking into a Belgium Mum version of Disney World with great pyramids of gorgeous mums in all colors and sizes. Their new Jasmoda series, with 6 1/2 weeks response time looked like the way to go.
Athena makes no bones about trying out unusual plants like alternanthera (its ‘Little Ruby’ should be the standard to measure all alternantheras) and vines. Working with other breeders like Danziger has allowed them to offer a good line of perennials to complement their line of annuals.
Whenever I visit Florist, I walk away with a serious case of gerbera sunburn. The colors are so vibrant, and the selection is so grand that they act like magnets to anyone walking by. Different sizes of plants and flowers are available, but the Garvinea series is still as good as it gets for the combination of beauty and performance.
Royal Van Zanten
I saw outstanding cyclamens in mini size to gallon container size. They showed a future series of spreading campanulas that is missing from the American landscape. I believe they could be a useful product in the future.