California Spring Trials 2013: Weird Petunia Colors

Happy series petunia from Cohen

Multiple colors are hot. It’s a theme we’re really noticing this year at just about every California Spring Trials stop. Clean, solid colors are great, but more and more, the breeders seem to be responding to the fact that consumers want a little variety in their blooms.

We heard at Proven Winners that their surveys are showing “bicolor” to be one of the most popular color options for consumers. It’s one of the reasons they’re so enthusiastic about their new Superbells Pomegranate Punch calibrachoa, with its striking deep-red blooms with black centers.

An odd mini-trend we’ve seen this week is an extension of this multiple colors idea, and one most growers might shy away from at first: Varieties with unstable flower colors and patterns.

We saw something like this at Westhoff’s trials last spring, and now we’re seeing it again at Danziger with its ‘Indian Summer’ petunia, Cohen with its Happy petunias, Plant Source International (with some of Westhoff’s Crazytunias), Dümmen with its ‘QueenBee’ and ‘Peppy Cerise’petunia and ‘Raspberry Superstar’ petunia at HGTV. Some appeared more variable than others, but all have pleasingly weird, unevenly colored blooms.

The initial reaction I heard was that “growers won’t like these because the color is unstable – you don’t know exactly what patterns you’re going to get on an individual plant, let alone across an entire bench of these.”

In my mind, though, that may be where the opportunity lies with varieties like this. These aren’t going to take off and outsell pink, white or purple, but they may be quirky and different enough to appeal to newer consumers who aren’t looking for the same stuff their parents planted in front of the house.

Yoav Scholz, a grower for Cohen Propagation Nursery, agreed, and pointed to a variety in Cohen’s Petunia Happy series as an example.

“Five years ago we would have looked at something like this and said, ‘It’s not stable, it looks like there’s something wrong with it,’ and we would have gotten rid of it. Now, however, we think the market may be coming around for something like this,” he says. “This may have real appeal for young people who are looking for something unique.”

This could be a good niche variety – particularly for growers serving the independents, which can create a story around a variety like this and run with it. I think they’re worth a look.

Leave a Reply

2 comments on “California Spring Trials 2013: Weird Petunia Colors

  1. You're right. As a grower, it makes me very nervous to see variety within a given flower pattern – but only when it's inconsistent. I need them to all be pretty close to equally variable or it can look like an accident at shipping. For example, we trialed a calib with random color variation a few years ago. 9 out of 10 pots in the flat had red variegated flowers while the 10th was variegated yellow. That 10th pot looked like an accident. I also think it's problematic when the flower color/pattern on the tag doesn't match the flowers on the plant. As a consumer, I'd be left wondering whether the plant was lying or the tag was. If you can keep the random pattern consistent between plants, I'm in.

  2. I'd agree with Paul that the variability needs to be somewhat stable. A plant that shades from yellow to pink, for instance, is great unless some plants are all pink and some are all yellow. Some of the new colors are really stellar; others are kind of muddy and probably won't stick around (my opinion).

More From Varieties...

May 25, 2017

Genetically Modified Petunia Update: Breeders Take Swift Action, USDA Requires Import Authorization

Now that the initial shock of genetically engineered petunias is wearing off, breeders continue testing for tainted stock and look toward the future. On the consumer side, uncertainties remain.  

Read More

May 23, 2017

USDA-APHIS Bulletin on Unauthorized Distribution of Genetically Engineered Petunias

On May 2, 2017, USDA-APHIS was informed that an orange petunia variety was potentially genetically engineered and had been imported and moved interstate without required authorization by APHIS. This led to testing of numerous petunia varieties, which confirmed this particular variety and several others are genetically engineered, and meet the regulatory definition of a regulated article under APHIS regulations. APHIS continues to work with the industry to ensure unauthorized GE petunias are not distributed in the United States.

Read More
Petunia F1 African Sunset from American Takii

May 22, 2017

Genetically Modified Petunia Update: Question and Answer with AmericanHort’s Craig Regelbrugge

AmericanHort’s key role interfacing with the USDA on the recall of genetically modified petunias has helped the horticulture industry rapidly address the problem. Senior Vice President Craig Regelbrugge talks about recent updates, the impact on the industry, and where it goes from here.

Read More
Latest Stories

May 25, 2017

Genetically Modified Petunia Update: Breeders Take Swif…

Now that the initial shock of genetically engineered petunias is wearing off, breeders continue testing for tainted stock and look toward the future. On the consumer side, uncertainties remain.  

Read More

May 23, 2017

USDA-APHIS Bulletin on Unauthorized Distribution of Gen…

On May 2, 2017, USDA-APHIS was informed that an orange petunia variety was potentially genetically engineered and had been imported and moved interstate without required authorization by APHIS. This led to testing of numerous petunia varieties, which confirmed this particular variety and several others are genetically engineered, and meet the regulatory definition of a regulated article under APHIS regulations. APHIS continues to work with the industry to ensure unauthorized GE petunias are not distributed in the United States.

Read More
Petunia F1 African Sunset from American Takii

May 22, 2017

Genetically Modified Petunia Update: Question and Answe…

AmericanHort’s key role interfacing with the USDA on the recall of genetically modified petunias has helped the horticulture industry rapidly address the problem. Senior Vice President Craig Regelbrugge talks about recent updates, the impact on the industry, and where it goes from here.

Read More
Eason 2017 spring trials report

May 16, 2017

New California Spring Trials Report Now Available From …

The report features genetics from 21 different breeding companies and information gathered from the 15 different stops on this year’s tour.

Read More
Schizachyrium scoparium The Blues

May 13, 2017

How Ornamental Grasses and Sedges Can Play a Role in Po…

Grasses and sedges provide food, shelter, and support for pollinators and the birds and mammals that keep insect populations in balance.

Read More
Asclepias with a bumblebee

May 8, 2017

How to Choose the Best Native Plants for Pollinator Gar…

The popularity of native plants is rising as gardeners become conscious of the need to plant more pollinator gardens. The challenge is to select the right plants to put in them.

Read More
Allan Armitage Of Naked Ladies and Forget Me Nots

May 2, 2017

Allan Armitage: How Growers Can Be Creative to Take Gar…

Our industry does a good job of making things convenient for our customers. It’s time to take it a step further.

Read More
Asclepias tuberosa

April 29, 2017

Greenhouse Growing Tips for Asclepias tuberosa

Madeline Maynor, Growing Operations Manager for Landenberg, PA-based North Creek Nurseries, shares greenhouse growing tips for Asclepias tuberosa, the 2017 Perennial Plant of the Year.

Read More
Andropogon gerardii Blackhawks (Intrinsic Perennial Gardens)

April 25, 2017

Kelly Norris: Diversity is the Key to Growing the Ornam…

Offering a selection of ornamental grasses that cater to customer needs will keep sales from stagnating.

Read More

April 25, 2017

41 New Vegetative Petunias From California Spring Trial…

With the abundance of new introductions for the 2018 retail season, we’ve made it easier for you to sift through them by separating out the vegetative petunias from the Northern sites, which includes selections from Westhoff Flowers, Sakata Ornamentals, Danziger, Proven Winners, and Syngenta flowers.

Read More
Begonia Spectre Silver Terra Nova Nurseries

April 20, 2017

Terra Nova Nurseries Releases Two New, Attractive Begon…

Stardust is the latest addition to Terra Nova Nurseries’ existing T Rex Begonia series, and Silver is the first introduction to the company’s new Spectre Begonia series.

Read More

April 18, 2017

Cool Combos From CAST 2017 – Editor’s Choic…

With container gardening becoming more of a lifestyle among consumers than a trend, and breeders continuing to put more effort in container mixes and components, I feel I would be remiss if I didn't share some of the special combinations that not only caught my eye at California Spring Trials, but absolutely took my breath away and made me want to immediately get started gardening.

Read More
Danziger New Hires

April 16, 2017

Danziger Invests in Continued North American Business G…

As part of a new business structure for its North American market, Mike Fernandez has been appointed Market Manager North America for Bedding Plants and Perennials, and Kate Zvara was named as Key Account Manager and Retail Specialist.

Read More
Florida Flower Trials

April 12, 2017

Looking for Info on New Varieties for Hot Climates? Che…

The Florida Nursery Growers and Landscape Association’s Florida Flower Trials, which are focused on new and improved varieties able to thrive in the extremes of Florida’s climate, are a great opportunity to connect with national breeders.

Read More
Lupinus Staircase Series (Green Fuse Botanicals)

April 11, 2017

Begonias, Celosias Among Dr. Allan Armitage’s Favorites…

Check out some of Allan’s top picks from his final day at CAST 2017, which included visits to Green Fuse Botanicals and Floranova.

Read More
Rex Begonia container mix at Green Fuse Botanicals

April 11, 2017

Green Fuse Botanicals’ Rex Begonias and First Looks; Fl…

Here are the highlights from Green Fuse Botanicals and Floranova on the last day of CAST 2017.

Read More

April 7, 2017

Hort Couture Wows With Farm to Table; Florist Holland R…

On the last day for GroLink and the second to last for the Greenhouse Grower team, the wealth of genetics, marketing programs, and announcements were pleasing to our eyes, ears, and hearts.

Read More

April 7, 2017

California Spring Trials Day Five: Notable New Plant Va…

See some of the new varieties for 2018 displayed at Ball Horticultural and GroLink Plant Company on day five of California Spring Trials 2017.

Read More