Breeders’ 2011 Top Plant Picks

Coreopsis verticillata 'Sweet Marmalade'

Ask a breeder which plants are the very best, and it’s like asking a parent to choose a favorite from among their children. But we asked them that question anyway, although we softened it by asking for the best three of 2011. We’re sharing selection five breeders this week. Check out the rest of the breeder picks over the next few weeks in our BenchRunner eNewsletter.

1. Coreopsis verticillata ‘Sweet Marmalade’

The flowers of this variety from Blooms of Bressingham open deep orange and mellow to soft apricot yellow through the season. It has bushy mounds of mid-green, narrow, linear foliage. Blooms summer into early autumn. Tidy habit works beautifully in garden or container. Full sun. 12 inches high and 18 inches wide. A summer cutback encourages a new flush of growth and bloom for autumn. USDA Zones 5-9.

2. Calibrachoa ‘Superbells Cherry Star’

With a strong cherry-pink bloom and a yellow star at its center, this Proven Winners plant will be in much of Proven Winners’ consumer advertising and promoted heavily to consumer editors. Point of purchase will be available and is printed on demand for customers.

3. Drimys winteri var. chiloense ‘Pewter Pillar’

Dan Hinkley selected this Chilean Winter’s bark tree from Monrovia for its tight, columnar habit and handsome leaf undersurface of silvery white. Bold glossy green leaves are clad to upright stems rising to 20 feet, while clusters of white flowers are presented at the end of each branch in late winter. A distinctive candidate as an unclipped hedge. Tree of the year at the 2010 Farwest Show. USDA Zones 7-10.

4. Sutera (Bacopa) Betty Series

Betty sutera is an inter-species hybrid that continues to bloom even in hot weather. Betty has unusually large sutera flowers. Also, while most sutera only bloom at the ends their stems, Betty sutera flowers freely throughout for a mass of color. Available in white and blue. Full sun. From GreenFuse Botanicals.

5. Gaillardia x grandiflora Arizona Apricot

A 2011 AAS Winner, this addition to the Arizona gaillardia series thrives under a wide variety of climatic conditions, allowing it to blanket a garden even under hot and dry conditions. Full sun, USDA Zone 2-10, and 12 inches tall. From Benary.

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