Chasing The Flags – Market Research From Trial Gardens

Solanum wendlandii

During the Trial Gardens at University of Georgia open houses for the industry and the public, we asked visitors to place a small flag marker in their favorite plants. Approximately 700 people shared their passions this year, and the flags provided useful information about what catches the eye in the landscape.

This exercise is a snapshot in time. The annuals do not change dramatically in the intervening month, but the perennials do. Because of this, the plant lists may be different two weeks before or after this time period.

There are hundreds of plants in the garden, and asking people to choose only five is a daunting task. Many different plants had one to five flags, but only those with a significant number of flags have been included here. If a plant is on one of these lists, it may be worth taking a second look.

The Industry Open House

This gathering occurred in mid-June and was attended by approximately 300 landscapers, retailers, designers, breeders and brokers.

Industry Top 10

This list goes from fewest to most flags and includes my comments under each variety.

10. Begonia ‘Bonita Shea,’ UGA
A fabulous begonia, I hope some growers get it back on the market. It is too beautiful to let it go to waste.

9. Dahlia XXL ‘Vera Cruz,’ Dümmen
We seldom see dahlias look good in the heat and humidity of the gardens, but we are really excited about them this year. It was pleasing to see a dahlia selected. Many others in this series also looked healthy.

8. Pelargonium ‘Caliente Orange,’ Syngenta Flowers
The Caliente series is so good you can pick out the various colors 100 feet away. The Calientes always score well.

7. Eucomis ‘Reuben,’ De Goode Bulbs
A bulb is seldom selected, but this new cultivar of pineapple lily caught many eyes. The fact that it was hidden beneath a tree in the garden, yet still selected, says volumes about its beauty.

6. Calibrachoa ‘Superbells Lemon Slice,’ Proven Winners
We have approximately 80 calibrachoas in the garden. For two of them to stand out from the rest means they had to be something.

5. Petunia ‘Fortunia Purple Picotee,’ Fides
With more than 100 petunias looking exceptionally good, how could one be a clear winner? Whatever the reason, this one was.

4. Calibrachoa ‘Mini Famous Orange,’ Selecta First Class
See number six above.

3. Echinacea ‘Big Sky Solar Flare,’ ItSaul Plants
This is a perennial people never seem to get enough of. It was nice to see one of the Big Sky series of purple coneflowers heavily flagged.

2. Phlox ‘Peacock White,’ Syngenta Flowers
Another perennial that people could not get enough of, ‘Peacock White’ is always on lists at this time.

1. Solanum wendlandii Paradise Vine, UGA
The most flags went to a vine — and it was chosen by industry members. Who would have thought? Breeders, brokers and growers (all curmudgeons) stabbed this relative of the potato. The trial gardens team is making cuttings as you read this.

The Public Open House

This was held on July 14, almost a month later than the industry shindig, with about 350 people. It is interesting to note that the tastes of the consumer are somewhat different than those of the industry; in fact no calibrachoas or pelargoniums were chosen despite the fact that they looked good. As with the Industry Open House, many more plants were flagged. These are only the top 10.

Public Top Ten

This list also goes from fewest to most flags and includes comments.

10. Phlox ‘Peacock White,’ Syngenta Flowers
When any plant is picked on both lists, go find it, grow it and sell it. Enough said.

9. Rudbeckia ‘Prairie Sun,’ Ernst Benary of America
The yellow coneflowers were stunning. This one was chosen as the most stunning of the varieties with such flowers.

8. Capsicum ‘Basket of Fire,’ Vegetalis
We are trialing dozens of veggies, from tomatoes to peppers, and this tasty, but very hot, pepper was chosen as the best of all of them.

7. Impatiens ‘SunPatiens Blush Pink,’ Sakata
All our impatiens looked very good, but the public couldn’t get over the performance of the SunPatiens and the beautiful color of Blush Pink.

6. Coleus ‘Colorblaze Marooned,’ Proven Winners
The dark color was wonderfully set off by a handsome pink petunia in the same container.

5. Caladium ‘Tapestry,’ Bates Sons & Daughters
Caladiums just get better as the weather warms up, and this large-leaf cultivar caught everyone’s eyes.

4. Begonia ‘Bonita Shea,’ UGA
See number 10 on the Industry Top 10 list.

3. Petunia ‘Debonair Black Cherry,’ Ball Horticultural
That the public picked a petunia is simply amazing — this one really caught everyone by surprise.

2. Pennisetum ‘Jade Princess,’ Ball Ingenuity
This was not at all surprising. It is simply a fabulous plant with great foliage and great flowers.

1. Solanum wendlandii Paradise Vine, UGA
What can I say? The same plant was selected as the best plant in the entire garden by both groups! I know it will never be a mainstream item, but for those who grow vines, it would be wise to add this to your availability as soon as possible.

Leave a Reply

More From Varieties...
Suntory Blue Rose Applause

October 21, 2017

Suntory’s Blue Rose ‘Applause’ Now Available to U.S. Florists

‘Applause’ was originally introduced to the U.S. in 2011, and since then it was been successfully tested and selected to meet new market conditions.

Read More

October 17, 2017

14 New Shrubs With Fringe Benefits

What’s popular with shrubs? Consumers want varieties that will give them more return on their investment, in terms of long-lasting blooms and multi-season appeal that lasts from spring until fall and at times stretches into the winter months. Here are 14 new varieties of shrubs and sub-shrubs to consider for your product mix in 2018.

Read More

October 14, 2017

PlantPeddler Hosting Poinsettia Variety Day in December

The event will feature side-by-side comparisons of more than 100 commercial and pre-released varieties from seven breeders.

Read More
Latest Stories
Suntory Blue Rose Applause

October 21, 2017

Suntory’s Blue Rose ‘Applause’ Now Available to U.S. Fl…

‘Applause’ was originally introduced to the U.S. in 2011, and since then it was been successfully tested and selected to meet new market conditions.

Read More

October 17, 2017

14 New Shrubs With Fringe Benefits

What’s popular with shrubs? Consumers want varieties that will give them more return on their investment, in terms of long-lasting blooms and multi-season appeal that lasts from spring until fall and at times stretches into the winter months. Here are 14 new varieties of shrubs and sub-shrubs to consider for your product mix in 2018.

Read More

October 14, 2017

PlantPeddler Hosting Poinsettia Variety Day in December

The event will feature side-by-side comparisons of more than 100 commercial and pre-released varieties from seven breeders.

Read More

October 10, 2017

Coastal Callas Is a Dream Fulfilled for Founder Adrian …

Adrian Espinoza and his family founded Rancho Espinoza Inc. and Coastal Callas in California seven years ago with a mission and purpose to provide consistent quality and reliable supply of calla lilies to the marketplace.

Read More
Azalea Encore Autumn Bonfire

October 4, 2017

Big Changes on the Horizon for Woody Ornamentals

The future looks bright for the woody ornamentals market, with exciting new varieties in the pipeline that will offer greater disease resistance, cold hardiness, bloom capacity, and more.

Read More

October 3, 2017

25 New Blooming Potted Plants for Luxury Sales

Consider these new blooming potted plant varieties that offer full blooms, unique foliage, and a touch of extravagance and easy maintenance for time-strapped customers who want to pamper themselves.

Read More
Hydrangea 'Berry White' (Bailey Nurseries)

October 2, 2017

Woody Ornamentals Market Set for Growth

The woody ornamentals market is looking up. Now, out-of-the box thinking about product offerings and consumer education will keep things moving in the right direction.

Read More

September 27, 2017

New Mum Intros From California Spring Trials 2017

For fall gardening product selection, you can't go wrong with offering mums. Here are a few of the new introductions that we saw at California Spring Trials 2017 that will be making their retail debut in 2018.

Read More
Hydrangea ‘Endless Summer BloomStruck’ (Bailey Nurseries)

September 26, 2017

Bailey Nurseries Enhances Product Development Program, …

Plant Introductions, which Bailey purchased almost three years ago, is being rebranded as Bailey Innovations, an entity that will breed and trial new varieties in Georgia.

Read More
Green Fuse Lupine Staircase Pink

September 24, 2017

How to Effectively Grow Staircase Lupine

The Staircase Lupine series, part of Green Fuse Botanicals’ First Light Perennials collection, has the potential to put on a great display with solid and bicolor hues.

Read More
Terra Nova 2018 Catalog

September 23, 2017

Terra Nova Nurseries’ Latest Plant Catalog is Now Avail…

The new 2017-2018 plant catalog, which features hundreds of varieties, series, and collections from Terra Nova Nurseries, pays homage to the company’s 25th anniversary.

Read More
Armitage GWA Buffalo Tour 5

September 21, 2017

Tour of Buffalo Gardens Reveals Hidden Gems And Communi…

This past August, Allan Armitage joined the Association for Garden Communicators on a tour of Buffalo. It was a reminder that that we can make a difference in neighborhoods, in cities, and in people’s lives.

Read More
Suntory Grandessa argyranthemum - feature

September 18, 2017

Breeders Open Availability for Unrooted Cuttings; Here&…

With new avenues for buying young plants for vegetative production, growers should have an easier time finding availability and receiving shipments of unrooted cuttings for the coming seasons.

Read More
Ball, Tagawa Succulents Partnership

September 14, 2017

Ball Seed to Partner With Tagawa Greenhouses on New Suc…

The new program includes in-demand retail products that are popular with younger shoppers, allowing growers to easily build a comprehensive succulent program and stay on-trend in the marketplace.

Read More
Strait-Laced Elderberry

September 10, 2017

Check Out the Top Varieties On Display at Farwest 2017

A panel of plant experts, along with show attendees, selected their favorite offerings during the Farwest 2017 New Varieties Showcase.

Read More

September 5, 2017

Hort Couture Announces New Propagation and Broker Partn…

The new grower-propagator partners are deeply vested in the independent garden center channel with propagation expertise, as well as finished production focused on the independent grower.

Read More
Helianthus Sunfinity (Syngenta Flowers)

September 3, 2017

Growing Tips for Helianthus Sunflower ‘Sunfinity…

This annual sunflower is a profuse bloomer with strong branching that produces multiple flowers per plant from spring to fall.

Read More
Ball Seed Field Day 2017

September 2, 2017

Highlights from Ball Seed’s Annual Field Day and Landsc…

Attendees of the one-day event had the opportunity to see new plants in up-close-and-personal trials, and engage with speakers and product experts.

Read More