Begonias, Celosias Among Dr. Allan Armitage’s Favorites From Green Fuse Botanicals and Floranova at California Spring Trials

Begonia Dibs Series (Green Fuse Botanicals)

Begonias, begonias, begonias: It seems the breeders can’t get enough. I have seen so many, yet I am still enthralled by the beautiful fist-size foliage and lovely flowers seen on many. In this Rex hybrid series, Green Fuse has taken some of its larger plants from the Shadow series and put them in this thunderous and beautiful new group, the Dibs series. They are big, and they make a statement. I particularly like ‘Cherry Mint,’ but ‘Butterscotch’ is also going to be an excellent seller.

Lupine Staircase Series (Green Fuse Botanicals)

Last year, the first Staircase lupine made its appearance, and it was so good that it received Greenhouse Grower’s Editor’s Choice Award from the Medal of Excellence ceremony at Cultivate’16. Multiply that acclaim by six, and you can see why I am so taken by the series put together by Green Fuse. The additional colors are bright and the flowers every bit as well behaved and upright as the initial offering. New colors in creamy white and pink should move off the shelves easily.

Celosia Bright Sparks Series (Floranova)

A number of handsome celosias were introduced this year, but this one from Floranova gets my vote. The plants were compact but not too short. The flowers were bright but not gaudy, and the mix was outstanding (I may be a sucker for yellow, but ‘Bright Sparks Yellow’ was amazing). These plants are eye-grabbers, and I see no problem why this would not be one of the best-selling celosias at retail.

Viola ‘Freefall XL’ (Floranova)

I have not shared any violas this trip — that is not to say there weren’t any, but other plants caught my eyes more than the violas. At Floranova, I looked closely at this new series and saw pendulous stems with much larger flowers than their original Freefall series. I most enjoyed the calm color of ‘Freefall XL Azure Blue.’ This brand-new offering allows retailers and consumers another choice in the basket and container pansies made so popular by the Cool Wave series.

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