Nominees For The 2013 Medal Of Excellence Industry’s Choice And Editor’s Choice Awards

The Welby Gardens Team: (L-R) Al Gerace, John Gerace, Mandy Foster, Marty Gerace

Each year, we ask our panel of industry experts to look for their five favorite new introductions at the California Spring Trials and tell us why they are deserving of the Medal of Excellence Industry’s Choice Award. While some plants were chosen by several panelists, and only one of those can win, this list includes 25 noteworthy introductions.

Plants nominated by Greenhouse Grower Editor Robin Siktberg are denoted as eligible for the Industry’s Choice Award, Editor’s Choice Award or both.

Welby Gardens, Denver, Colo.
Al Gerace, Marty Gerace, John Gerace and Mandy Foster

Petunia ‘Cha-Ching Cherry’ (Ball FloraPlant)
‘Cha-Ching Cherry’ was an eye catcher! We turned the corner and said, “Wow!” The lime-green center with the cherry and white striping was spectacular, not to mention the shape and amount of the flowers on the plant was impressive.

Petunia ‘Sweetunia Johnny Flame’ (Dümmen)
‘Sweetunia Johnny Flame’ has a very unique bloom coloration, with a dark burgundy flame exploding from the center to a striking purple outer edge. The flower size was also impressive; it’s a distinctive eye-catcher.

Pentas Star Cluster Series (Syngenta Flowers)
We liked this pentas series because of its large, showy flower clusters and its potential to do well in our Colorado climate.  We are eager to test its performance in our field trials this summer!

Dahlia ‘Hypnotica Tequila Sunrise’ (Fides Oro)
The Hypnotica series is very impressive due to its large flower size, vigorous plant habit and uniformity. The new ‘Tequila Sunrise’ is a great addition to this extraordinary series. We love its distinctive bi-color blooms and anticipate its performance will be in line with what we have come to expect from the Hypnotica series.

Antirrhinum Candy Showers Series (Sakata)
The Candy Showers series is a new trailing snapdragon. We are excited to add it to our fall production. Its colors are rich and vibrant, and its trailing habit will add endless planting possibilities for fall and early spring in our market

Vaughn Fletcher (McHutchison)

Antirrhinum Candy Showers Series (Sakata)
Very significant breeding, the first-ever trailing snapdragon from seed. Five strong colors with flower development from the center of the plant and along the stems. Multi-purpose plant for mixed containers or a standalone basket, fall and spring.

Gomphrena ‘Pink Zazzle’ (EuroAmerican)
I am excited about this plant for use in mixed sun containers. It has a unique flower structure and color and is durable and drought-tolerant. It’s multi-purpose: containers, cut flower or pot crops.
 
Petunia ‘Surfinia Heavenly Blue’ (Suntory)
The most unique and beautiful new petunia flower. ‘Heavenly Blue is an eye-catcher, great for retail sales. Surfinia petunias have great garden performance and this color is a great addition.                  
 
Gomphrena Pinball Series (Sakata)
This is the first vegetative gomphrena, with a mounded habit. It’s floriferous and heat-tolerant. Great for mixed containers, it adds a new, unique flower.
 
Digiplexis ‘Illumination Flame’ (Bred by Thompson & Morgan, presented by Cultivaris)
A majestic, eye-catching plant, ‘Illumination Flame’ features dark green foliage and a beautiful rose flower with an orange throat. Since the plant is sterile, it has non-stop color until fall. Great in mixed containers and landscape beds.

Mast Young Plants, Grand Rapids, Mich.
Brian Weesies, Jim Raterink, Laura Robles

Coleus Kong Jr. Series (PanAmerican Seeds)
Kong Jr. is a more grower-friendly Kong. It will still get large in the landscape for the consumer, but has smaller leaves and is a bit more manageable for growers. It is also less prone to upright growth and then getting top heavy or floppy than the traditional Kong series. It has good basal branching.

Digiplexis ‘Illumination Flame’ (Bred by Thompson & Morgan, presented by Cultivaris)
This breeding breakthrough was developed by crossing a digitalis and a digitalis relative native to the Canary Islands called isoplexis. The result is a plant with awesome eye-catching color that blooms non-stop from the primary flower stalk and from the laterals.

Pentas Star Cluster Series (Syngenta Flowers)
This vegetative tetraploid pentas is early to flower and has great summer heat performance for consumers. The flower clusters are large and vibrant and attract hummingbirds and butterflies, which is an added benefit for the consumer.

Petunia ‘Sweetunia Johnny Flame’ (Dümmen)
Sweetunia petunias are a great series for hanging baskets. This stand-out color is a sport of ‘Black Satin’ and is sure to be a hit at retail.  

Coreopsis ‘Highland Blast’ (Danziger)
Highland is the taller of two new early-flowering coreopsis series, and ‘Blast’ is an attractive burgundy-and-yellow bicolor with a well-branched habit. Once blooming initiates, this plant will be in flower all summer long.

Raker & Sons
Susie Raker, Steve Reed

Digiplexis ‘Illumination Flame’ (Bred by Thompson & Morgan, presented by Cultivaris)
 This is a sterile hybrid, which allows this plant to bloom continually throughout the growing season. It has a distinct growing habit that is multi-branched with an exotic flower color.  

Gomphrena ‘Pink Zazzle’ (EuroAmerican)
Huge, bright pink flowers, drought-tolerant, multi-use plant (pots, garden, cuts).  We have never seen a gomphrena like this.

Pentas Star Cluster Series (Syngenta Flowers)
For northern growers, seed-grown pentas tend to be an issue because they are very slow. This product will help northern growers have access to this great plant.  It has huge flowers with a great display of color.

Salvia ‘April Night’ (Danziger)
Earlier to flower than Salvia ‘May Night,’ and hopefully will solve some of the production/propagation issues associated with ‘May Night.’

Cuphea Sriracha Series (Syngenta Flowers)
Cuphea has always been propagated vegetatively, but this is seed-grown. Although the habit and color on this series aren’t anything to write home about, it will allow for a lower-cost version of cuphea to be available to the market.  

The Metrolina Team
Abe Van Wingerden, Sim McMurry, Mark Yelanich

Canna ‘South Pacific Scarlet Red’ (American Takii)
Great in our trials and will open up an entirely new market for canna lilies due to its performance and ease of growing.

Gerbera ‘Patio Volcano’ and ‘Grand Canyon’ (Florist Holland)
This company continues to innovate and come up with new bicolors that are showstoppers in the marketplace.

Calibrachoa Calipetite Series (Sakata)
This new series of calibrachoa allows new uses in smaller pots and different formats. Fun to grow, marketers just need to ensure the consumer knows it has a smaller habit.

Sutera (syn. Bacopa) ‘Betty Deep Blue’ (Green Fuse Botanicals)
We have tested hundreds of bacopa over the years, and the Betty series has the superior look and performance in the market right now.

Petunia ‘Cha-Ching Cherry’ (Ball FloraPlant)
Bicolor petunias are not new to the marketplace, but this particular one has a unique pattern and look that our team liked.

Allan Armitage, University of Georgia, Athens, Ga.

Pentas Star Cluster Series (Syngenta Flowers)
Pentas has become more mainstream in the last five years, because the demand for plants that are relatively quick off the bench, look good at retail and are tough in heat and humidity keeps growing. This series, particularly the lavender color, is larger than most other retail introductions and somewhat bucks the trend for short and compact plants. Good! The stems are strong, the plants are vigorous and the flowers are large. The four colors in the series give growers and retailers sufficient choice to show off these plants.

Erysimum Winter Series (Cultivaris)
Wallflowers are anything but a mainstream American crop, but they deserve to used more than they are. These plants bear more flowers, stay in flower longer in the landscape, and have more exciting colors than any wallflower I have seen.  They are spectacular in containers and can easily be marketed in all climates to be planted with pansies; in the fall in warm areas, and in early spring in locales with cold winters. If wallflowers are to become mainstream, this is the group that will get them there.

Verbena Enduro Series (Ball FloraPlant)
Verbenas have been around forever, and we have seen some excellent series in years past. At the Spring Trials, I was taken with the colors, particularly the purple and pink, and their apparent vigor. We have not seen a new series introduced in some years that has as many people talking as this one. The number of flowers and the low habit should appeal to landscapers and retailers alike.

Petunia ‘Cha-Ching Cherry’ (Ball FloraPlant)
I could have picked three different petunias, but came up with this one. The breeding frenzy for petunias has not slackened, and many choices were outstanding. This deep burgundy one really caught my eye. Large flowers, eye-catching color, and one that stands out from the hundreds of other petunias out there. That in itself is sufficient reason to put it on the list.

Antirrhinum Candy Showers Series (Sakata)
Snapdragons are always a bit of an iffy plant, in that they have sufficient cold hardiness in warm areas but not in the North, and have sufficient heat tolerance in the North but usually not in the South.  That they are popular is not in doubt, but whether they have sufficient wow power at retail is a concern. Regardless, I loved this series because of the excellent pendulous habit, allowing one more group of plants to slide into the basket and container market, which has become so important. Good colors, compact, yet sufficiently spilling out of containers and a plant well-known and already well established in the marketplace puts this on my list.

Mike Duvall (Home Depot)

Zinnia ‘Profusion Double Hot Cherry’ and ‘Profusion Deep Salmon’ (Sakata)
AAS winners, great color, double flowers, disease resistance with heat tolerance and excellent garden performance.

Begonia boliviensis ‘Unstoppable Big Fire’ (Dümmen)  
Bright orange color, very large flowers and a great-looking habit.

Geranium Pinto Premium Bicolors: ‘Pinto White to Rose,’ ‘Pinto Orange’ and ‘Pinto Rose’ (Syngenta Flowers)
Exciting new colors for Pinto Premium with its outstanding garden performance. ‘White to Rose’ is an AAS winner.

Angelonia ‘Angelface Wedgewood Blue Improved’ (Proven Winners)
Eye-catching bicolor in an outstanding angelonia series.

Verbena Wicked Series (Dümmen)
Three bicolors with a great habit to work well with Confetti combinations.

Robin Siktberg (Greenhouse Grower)

Petunia ‘Cha-Ching Cherry’ (Ball FloraPlant) Industry’s Choice and Editor’s Choice

I had seen hundreds of petunias by the time I saw this plant, and it still grabbed my attention. The color and variable pattern is really unique.

Pentas Star Cluster Series (Syngenta Flowers) Industry’s Choice and Editor’s Choice
I’ve always loved pentas, despite some of its weaknesses. This series puts those weaknesses to rest with its huge flowers, strong stems and tetraploid vigor.

Digiplexis ‘Illumination Flame’ (Bred by Thompson & Morgan, presented by Cultivaris) Industry’s Choice and Editor’s Choice
This unique and gorgeous intergeneric hybrid has a lot to offer the consumer: Bushy, attractive deep-green foliage, summer-long blooming and above all, abundant spikes of rosy pink flowers with an orange/yellow throat that are different from anything else out there.

Petunia ‘Surfinia Heavenly Blue’  (Suntory)
Editor’s Choice

The vigor and flower impact of ‘Heavenly Blue’ is amazing. The wavy petals and truly lovely color of the flowers are sure to please consumers.

Begonia ‘Shadow King Green-pink Tips’ (Green Fuse) Editor’s Choice
There’s always a need for outstanding, beautiful shade plants, and this one offers vigor and versatility for combination planting.

Leave a Reply

2 comments on “Nominees For The 2013 Medal Of Excellence Industry’s Choice And Editor’s Choice Awards

  1. Incredibly, year after year, there is absolutely zero representation from small growers and independent retailers. Half the marketplace gets no voice at all. No wonder the choices are always so petunia-heavy, so predictable. Not in any way a reflection on the panelists or their choices—after all, we all have our preferences—but you sure need some new blood or more segments represented, or we'll all start to think the choices have something to do with who advertises in the trade magazines.

  2. You have a good point, Lloyd, and we will certainly look into including representatives from the smaller grower and independent retailer segment next year. Thank you for bringing that up.

More From Varieties...

February 11, 2016

Succulents: A Mainstay Of The Green Revolution

Succulents offer many options for growers to provide waterwise, low-maintenance plants that work well for green infrastructure and other environmentally focused projects.

Read More

February 10, 2016

Poinsettia Production On The Decline

Poinsettia production is on the decline in several of the top 15 poinsettia-producing states.

Read More
Dr Allan Armitage

February 8, 2016

Why Succulents Have Become The Hippest Plants On The Market

Allan Armitage says succulents used to be relegated to the far end of the display bench, but their adaptability, decorative value, and low maintenance requirements have now made them a staple.

Read More
Latest Stories

February 11, 2016

Succulents: A Mainstay Of The Green Revolution

Succulents offer many options for growers to provide waterwise, low-maintenance plants that work well for green infrastructure and other environmentally focused projects.

Read More

February 10, 2016

Poinsettia Production On The Decline

Poinsettia production is on the decline in several of the top 15 poinsettia-producing states.

Read More
Dr Allan Armitage

February 8, 2016

Why Succulents Have Become The Hippest Plants On The Ma…

Allan Armitage says succulents used to be relegated to the far end of the display bench, but their adaptability, decorative value, and low maintenance requirements have now made them a staple.

Read More

February 4, 2016

Poinsettia Growers Discuss Their Recent Trials And Triu…

Growers from Pennsylvania, Illinois, and North Carolina describer their experiences trialing everyone’s favorite holiday season flora.

Read More
Rhododendron ‘Dandy Man’ (Proven Winners ColorChoice Shrubs)

February 2, 2016

Spring Meadow Nursery Partnering With Proven Winners Eu…

The expansion creates a cohesive brand for what is now a global market, immediately introducing more than 24 shrubs to the European market, with the potential for 125 or more in the future.

Read More

February 1, 2016

12 New Poinsettias For Holiday Growing

Poinsettias are still a consumer favorite during the holidays for home décor and gift giving. For greenhouse growers looking to get a jumpstart on purchasing young plants for the 2016 poinsettia growing season, there is no shortage of great varieties to choose from. Here are 12 new varieties to keep in mind for holiday product offerings.

Read More

January 27, 2016

Costa Farms’ Season Premier Provides Sneak Peek A…

Costa Farms presented the 2016 Season Premier at its 2-acre Trial Gardens in Miami, FL, in the third week of January. The event showcases varieties from breeders of all sizes to growers and major retail buyers, providing a look at what genetics are coming to the market and how they’ll perform in retail settings and in the landscape, when consumers bring them home. The mild winter climate in South Florida allows Costa Farms’ Research and Development Department to simulate the spring growing conditions of various regions in the country. Because each group of visitors to Costa Farms’ Trial Gardens wants to see what the new plants look like in the environments that matter to them, Season Premier offers several areas within the Trial Gardens that highlight different ways to look at the wealth of new varieties. The New Product Showcase offers a way for retailers to see how plants will […]

Read More

January 26, 2016

Beekenkamp And Danziger Partner To Distribute Poinsetti…

Danziger is continuing to expand its portfolio of products to the U.S. market with the addition of poinsettia cuttings of Beekenkamp’s varieties.

Read More

January 24, 2016

Positive Consumer Experiences Help Advance The Orchid C…

HGTV HOME Plant Collection plans to expand its Fresh Style product line through a partnership with Green Circle Growers (Oberlin, Ohio), which will supply decorative orchids, tropical plants, and indoor garden combinations. Greenhouse Grower asked Maxwell Sherer about Green Circle's orchid program, the latest trends he’s seeing, and where he thinks orchid growing is headed in the future.

Read More
Sansevieria in Corner of home

January 21, 2016

Tropical And Indoor Foliage Plants Emerge As A Lifestyl…

Consumers are incorporating houseplants into their everyday lives, which is driving the trends toward smaller-size plants and unique products that appeal to a younger demographic.

Read More
Pollinator-Conference-NC State

January 20, 2016

How To Promote Pollinator-Friendly Plants This Spring

Following last year’s launch of the National Pollinator Garden Network, groups like the National Garden Bureau and others remind growers that offering pollinator-friendly plants is a great way to keep up with consumer demand.

Read More
Caladium Painted Frog Series (Plants Nouveau)

January 17, 2016

16 New Foliage Plants To Round Out The Garden

Every garden needs a good mix of flowering and foliage plants for an attention-grabbing show of thrillers, fillers, and spillers. These new foliage varieties will not only act as a lush backdrop for colorful blooms, they can also stand on their own with their noteworthy textures and colors.

Read More
California Coast

January 13, 2016

Mark Your Calendars For The 2016 California Spring Tri…

It’s time to think about registering for the 2016 California Spring Trials. You won’t want to miss any stops along the way, so use this quick reference to help with planning for your trip.

Read More
David Roberts Bailey Nuseries Feature Image

January 12, 2016

Bailey Nurseries’ David Roberts Says New, Novel Varieti…

Roberts was recently hired by Bailey Nurseries to be the General Manager and Breeder for Plant Introductions, Inc., which Bailey acquired last year.

Read More
Kelly Norris - feature

January 11, 2016

Kelly Norris: Questioning The Purpose Of New Plants

Norris asks if the time has come to rethink new plant introductions, or how we market them to consumers.

Read More
Weeks Roses Miss Congeniality

January 11, 2016

Weeks Roses Introduces New Lineup Of Roses For 2016

Weeks breeds and grows a wide range of rose bushes, all of which are field tested for many factors.

Read More
CAST2015_Floranova_Vegetalis_Ageratum Cloud Nine Blue

January 8, 2016

Floranova Opening New Chile-Based Research Station, For…

Floranova has announced it is building a new research station in Chile that will open in mid-2016. As a result, the company will not participate in the 2016 California Spring Trials, but says it will be back in 2017.

Read More
Streptocarpus 'Yellow Blue Eye' (Green Fuse Botanicals)

January 5, 2016

15 Flowering Foliage And Tropical Plants For The Home A…

Tropical and foliage plants are the ultimate lifestyle plants because they enrich the environment and provide mood-boosting benefits. Take into account some of these new introductions for a crop mix that helps your customers realize the true benefits of plants.

Read More
[gravityform id="35" title="false" description="false"]