There was a lot to see on the vegetative side at Ball Horticultural during day two of California Spring Trials 2016, with many promising new introductions from Darwin Perennials, Ball FloraPlant, Burpee, and Ch. Morel that offer a little something for every type of gardener.
At Darwin Perennials, the new Coreopsis Uptick series offers a larger flower size with no deadheading and promises a long bloom period. Darwin also showed off several penstemon that double the flower window for an extended shipping and selling season. A new Rock Candy series can yield fresh flowers in 38 weeks with no vernalization. Other new penstemon include ‘Mission Bells Deep Rose’ and ‘Cherry Sparks.’
Ideal for the deck in mixed containers, new Mirage salvias have short, compact habits, and an abundance of blooms. Two new series additions coming to Darwin from Star Roses and Plants are the Arctic Blaze salvias and the first-year-flowering Moody Blues veronica, which is ideal for gallon production. On the combo side, five new Rhythmix mixes combine seed and vegetative varieties of perennials to keep production simple and costs down.
Ball FloraPlant had several new introductions geared toward extending the selling season past Memorial Day. Building on its season-extender intros from 2015, the breeder displayed its latest color breakthrough in angelonia breeding, the heat-tolerant ‘Archangel Cherry Red,’ which is a color breakthrough in its class. In coleus, there’s non-fading ‘Ruby Slipper,’ perfect for summer markets, and ‘French Quarter,’ a new pink coleus. And new to the Flamethrower series is the fiery Habanero.
New ColorRush petunias were hard to miss with their bold colors. They are vigorous enough for good fill in the landscape or municipal baskets. Another intro for pop at retail was the intergeneric argyranthemum Grandessa series, a product of Suntory Breeding.
Bidens ‘Bee Alive’ is a pollinator-friendly, early spring crop that tolerates summer production for fall sales. It is perfect for the deck and mixed combos, as it likes smaller pots, down to 4-inch. Another heat lover was the MegaCopa Bacopa (Sutera) series, which replaces the Abunda series and compares to ‘Betty White’ for heat tolerance.
Burpee is looking to provide retail garden centers with a choose-your-own-adventure option in vegetables. A new marketing concept breaks Burpee veggies into three categories: Small Space for space-conscious gardeners; Amazing for advanced gardeners looking for premium product, the best of the best; and Foodie Fresh, for those who like to play with their food.
The New Take 2 combos from Burpee are sure to be a big hit for small-scale gardening and the deck. They unite a slicer tomato with a small-fruited variety in one container, with both varieties ripening at the same time for eating enjoyment. ‘Pesto Party’ basil is new in the Amazing category, as is ‘Cloudy Day’ tomato, with up to four harvests per season. For the Foodie Fresh category, there’s ‘Meatball’ eggplant and ‘Cupcake’ squash, which has the soft skin and yield of a zucchini.
Cyclamen breeder Ch. Morel introduced the large-flowered cyclamen Halios HD White. HD stands for high density, meaning more plants per square foot. The distinctive new Abanico series has fan-shaped petals with fringed edges. Morel has also added some new colors and a mix to the Smartiz line.