Petunias, Calibrachoas And … Strawberries? More Varieties You Should Know From Spring Trials 2012

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Toscana strawberry from ABZ Seeds

ABZ Seeds

We’ve seen a good number of ornamental edible plants on this trip. Combining the two is a great way to  introduce new customers to ornamentals–they get a pretty plant and they also get something to eat along the way. Toscana strawberry from ABZ Seeds is a great example of that. With nice foliage, attractive deep-rose flowers, cool runners, oh–and strawberries, it’s not hard to see why this was the Fleuroselect Award  Winner at the most recent Week 24 Trials in Europe.

Athena Brazil

Athena Brazil is the place to go to see things you won’t see anywhere else. Check out clerodendrum ‘Butterfly Flower,’ with flowers throughout summer and fall that look like–you guessed it–butterflies.  


Suntory always brings something from a different angle. This year, Princettia euphorbia is a great example. This euphorbia delivers unique colors–multiple shades of pink–and bract forms. Avoid positioning Princettia against traditional poinsettias at Christmas, but it is well-positioned for sales in October, November and winter and spring holidays like Valentine’s Day, Easter and Mother’s Day.It’s also a natural for breast cancer awareness programs.

American Takii

Triology, a new petunia series from American Takii, has a great marketing message: it makes things easy for the grower, retailers and consumers. Available in seven colors this year (an eighth, Blue, should be coming in 2013), plants don’t require PGRs, making them more economical to produce. Retailers will like the full  plant that works in a hanging basket or in the landscape, with runners that don’t tangle. Consumers will love this versatile variety and its good mounding habit and spread.


Mammoth cyclamen is Schoneveld’s answer to the U.S. consumer’s love of big flowers. Schoneveld has long had some great cyclamen varieties, but they tended to be the smaller varieties more suited to the European market. These extremely large upright flowers rest on thick, firm flower stems above a nicely rounded plant. Mammoth is available in 8 colors. While it could make a good garden plant in a region like California, with its enormous flowers it is more likely to make a great blooming pot plant.


We’ve seen a lot of calibrachoa on this trip, but one of the most striking was calibrachoa ‘Celebration Peach Cobbler’ from Westhoff. This big full plant with tons of wonderful peachy-colored blooms makes a great hanging basket and will also work well in a larger container.

Fides Oro

One of the highlights of our stop at Fides Oro was a perennial. Well, not just one perennial, but the addition of the Bartels perennial lines to the Fides stable. Bartels has a long history of great perennials breeding, which will be a huge plus for the ever-growing Fides. But if we had to pick one introduction from the group, we liked ‘Phlox subulata.’

Ball Horticulture

Cool Wave pansy is getting a lot of attention but there was a whole lot more to see at Ball. The Impatiens Patchwork series for example. This introduction from Ball FloraPlant provides bright color for the shade. Flowers shimmer when light hits the center of blooms on Cosmic Burgundy and Cosmic Orange, which have an interesting pattern that resembles a gingerbread man.


Sakata had a number of good introductions, but one of the most eye-catching was campanula ‘Appeal Deep Blue.’ This is a cooler pot crop with a great blue color on very heavy, durable blooms–squeeze them shut and they snap right back. Expect at least a 6-week bloom time at retail with Appeal.


We’ve been seeing a lot of euphorbias hit the market in recent years, but Dümmen’s new ‘Star Dust White Flash’ looks like one of the best. With its much fuller flowering, this variety presents a full blanket of white, and will standout versus many of the still-beautiful but much thinner-flowering euphorbia.

Richard Jones is the group editor for Meister Media Worldwide’s U.S. Horticulture Group. He was formerly an editor with Greenhouse Grower and Today's Garden Center magazines.

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