D.S. Cole Growers 2016 Field Trials Results

The summer was hot and dry at D.S. Cole Growers’ trial gardens in Loudon, N.H., which created a good environment for flower development without rain damage. Owner Doug Cole says that the company did not find a large number of new introductions due to breakthrough breeding this year. However, it did trial some good product to whet customers’ appetites for what is new.

Top Performers

Begonia ‘Miss Malibu’
Calibrachoa ‘Chameleon Sunshine Berry’
Petunia Amore Series
Begonia ‘Bossa Nova Red’
Begonia ‘Rio’
Dahlia ‘Hypnotica Lavender’
Geranium ‘Wilhelm Langguth’
Cyperus ‘Nile Princess’
Thunbergia ‘Sunny Susie Brownie’
Echeveria ‘Giant Blue’

Doug Cole’s Comments On Top-Performing Varieties At D.S. Cole Grower’s Field Trials

Begonia Miss Malibu (Dümmen Orange)
This FleuroSelect winner is the “sister” of Begonia ‘Miss Montreal.’ These are both great varieties for both pots and hangers. We found that due to the growth and and flower size they should be grown in nothing smaller than a 6-inch pots. Because the flowers have a pendulas habit, consumers will find these rewarding for any kind of pot, hanger, window box, etc. The most important need is for a shade to partial shade environment.

Calibrachoa ‘Chameleon Sunshine Berry’ (Westhoff)
Attendees were thrilled to find this variety had such an interesting color pattern during the heat of August. Many plants that have vivid colors in May have the bad habit of fading during the heat of summer. This variety, along with the other varieties in this series known as the Chameleon series, has the benefits of having a good plant habit and an interesting flower pattern throughout the season.

Petunia ‘Amore’ (Danziger “Dan” Flower Farm)
Petunia ‘Amore’ has caught viewer’s eyes due to the sharp contrast of color on each bloom. The variety brings to market unique blooms on a plant with a full mounding habit. This variety made a good show at our trials as it did in the California Spring Trials. It was was one of the most talked about during Spring Trials for good reason.

Begonia ‘Bossa Nova Red’ (Floranova)
‘Bossa Nova Red’ was seen by attendees as a one size fits all variety. This plant has great attributes as a hanger or balcony plant, while at the same time filling mounded spaces. The color is good, and it has the ability to perform well in both sun or shade. It appears that full sun or partial shade is ideal. Since these are produced from seed, the plants are well branched. There is never a concern about getting blind (non-branching) stems.

Begonia ‘Rio’
This Elatior Begonia is a few years old and is just being noticed by the industry. It is not the first Elatior Begonia to have this color pattern. What makes it different is that the colors are so intense and the flowers are large. It can be grown in 4-inch pots, but a 6-inch pot brings out the best in Rio due to the large flowers and somewhat larger leaves compared to other Elatior varieties. Like all Elatior Begonias, it is ideal for the shade and will burn in full summer sun.

Dahlia ‘Hypnotica Lavender’ (Dümmen Orange)
Many dahlias have colors that are beautiful but also very close to other varieties in their shades. ‘Hypnotica Lavender’ has an outstanding color that sets it apart. Not only is the color strong, the flowers are consistent in size and form. Some dahlias have a habit of having the flowers nestled in the top of the foliage. ‘Hypnotica Lavender’ holds its flowers well above the foliage so they are always seen. They are very clean and put on a show all summer.

Geranium ‘Wilhelm Langguth’
Wow, this is not a new variety! There appears to be renewed interest in novelty geraniums including ‘Vancouver Centennial,’ ‘Occold Shield,’ and others. Like other plants such as Rex Begonias and succulents, what’s old is new. By showing ‘Wilhelm Langguth’ and other variegated leaf geraniums in our trials, attendees were drawn to these. Many comments were made about how consumers can use these varieties to create great planters.

Cyperus ‘Nile Princess’
Although this is not a new variety, this is the Cyperus that grabs everyone’s attention. It is about 2 feet tall, and because of this, it plays well with other plants. Containers of ‘Nile Princess’ continue to fill out during the summer with the one requirement being a love for water. They can also be placed in water along with colocasia to create a gorgeous water gardens.

Thunbergia ‘Sunny Susie Brownie’ (GGG-Gruenevald)
Thunbergia was originally thought of as either yellow or orange. There are now many color schemes to choose from, including a number of bicolors. ‘Sunny Susie Brownie’ stands out due to the very dark flowers. It forms quite a contrast from light-colored varieties such as the bicolor ‘Arizona Lemon Sunrise.’

Echeveria ‘Giant Blue’
This variety, along with other echeveria, are still gaining interest. Echeveria are not all alike in growth habit. Some can take a year to fill out 4-inch pots while others such as ‘Giant Blue’ and easily fill out a 6-inch pot in a few months. ‘Giant Blue’ also has a ruffled habit, which makes it stand out from others. When growing larger pots, it’s good to pick those varieties that will perform well.

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