Our Ten Fabulous Favorites From Spring Trials

Shadow King 'Green-Pink Tips' Rex Begonia From Green Fuse

Begonia Shadow King Collection (Green Fuse Botanicals)

This outstanding collection of begonias is designed for containers and baskets. There are several beautiful colors. My favorites are ‘Cool White,’ which has a bright silvery leaf with a bronze underside, and ‘Cherry Mint.’

Helenium ‘Short ‘n Sassy’ (Skagit Gardens)

This was a chance seedling in a display garden that has the potential to become a popular perennial. It grows to just 12 to 18 inches tall and produces orange-bronze flowers with a dark center from June to frost. It’s heat and drought-tolerant and combines well with grasses and other summer perennials.

Digiplexis ‘Illumination Flame Pink’ (Thompson & Morgan, Cultivaris, Pacific Plug & Liner

Bred by Thompson & Morgan, this gorgeous plant is an intergeneric cross between digitalis and isoplexis. It has beautiful dark green digitalis foliage and gets the yellow and red flower from isoplexis. April Herring of PP&L called it a “digitalis with lipstick.”

Zinnia Profusion Double series  (Sakata)

Everybody already knows Profusion, and with two of the new Profusion Double series winning All-America Selection Awards, these promise to be as good as the others. ‘Double Yellow,’ ‘Double Deep Salmon’ and ‘Double Deep Cherry’ are the colors in this series.

Petunia ‘Sweetunia Johnny Flame’  (Dümmen)

The Sweetunia series is vigorous and more upright than some. ‘Johnny Flame’ is an outstanding new color in the series. See for yourself in the photo.

Chrysanthemum Zenia Series (Syngenta)

This is the plant “formerly known as a mum.” Syngenta is trying to get consumers to re-think mums. The name, which invokes the word “zen,” is accompanied by a Chinese symbol that means “happiness and enjoy a long life.” There are six colors in this collection, all selected for their ability to not look like standard mums. ‘Green Valley’ was my favorite.

Heuchera ‘Cinnamon Curls’  (Proven Winners)

There are so many outstanding heucheras — where do you start? One of the nicest ones was ‘Cinnamon Curls,’ which had a nice clear reddish-bronze color. The curly texture of the leaves added to the ornamental interest, and it combines well with other plants in the ground and in combination planters.

Gomphrena Pinball Series (Sakata)

While it’s not a major crop, gomphrena has always been a favorite of mine, and this new series makes it even better. It is heat and drought tolerant and has a nice, controlled habit. It’s the first vegetative gomphrena. Colors available are purple, snowtip lavender and white.

Petunia ‘Surfinia Heavenly Blue’  (Suntory)

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. Great for baskets and container plantings, it has the flower power to stand alone as a pot plant as well.

Petunia ‘White Merlot’ (HGTV)

This color is particularly nice in combinations. Its dark purple eye and light color make a striking impression. It’s attention-getting just by itself, too. No matter how many petunias I saw after this one, it still stuck in my mind.

And, of course, there were many stunningly beautiful combos — Fuseables, Trixis, One Touches, MixMasters, Confettis, Garden Parties, Kwik Kombos and more. All of them are designed to make things easier for the grower and the consumer. You can’t go wrong with that.

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