Proven Winners’ New Superbells, Syngenta’s Improving Kwik Kombos And More

The Kwik Kombo Plumtastic Mix includes Lobelia 'Techno Heat Violet,' Petunia 'Whispers Lavender Eye' and Verbena 'Lanai Deep Purple'

Allan Armitage, who is traveling with the Greenhouse Grower team, sees plants through different eyes than most other visitors at Trials. Each day he’ll tell us what catches his attention and why. It may be a plant with great promise for consumers, or it may be a program that makes life easier for growers. Keep up to date with what’s happening this week in California with Dr. A. Today he shares his favorites from Proven Winners and Syngenta Flowers.

Proven Winners:
I can’t wait to see the landscape performance of Lobularia ‘White Knight,’ a new introduction from Proven Winners. ‘Snow Princess’ “made” the alyssum market what it is today, but many growers and retailers found that it was too aggressive to put in a mixed container.  The color is good, the habit appears much improved, and if it plays better with others, we have a winner. There’s only so much space for new alyssum cultivars, so I think ‘White Knight’ is something we’ll be looking closely at.
Regarding new introductions of calibrachoas, I think Calibrachoa ‘Lemon Slice’ was one of the finest new calibrachoas I’ve seen in many years. That’s saying something, since I look at 75 of them every year.

‘Lemon Slice’ is part of the Superbells series, and Proven Winners’ newest entry, ‘Pomegranate Punch,’ seems to be very closely aligned with the other Punches in the series. Consumers, landscapers and people in retail stores seem to like bicolor flowers more and more. ‘Pomegranate Punch’ provides that look.  I am a bit of skeptic as to the need for one more calibrachoa, but there’s no doubt about it — ‘Pomegranate Punch’ is beautiful.

Another plant worth noting from Proven Winners is a perennial catmint — Nepeta Cat’s Meow.’ I believe nepeta could be a big genus for breeders, as there are many different forms already available, yet lots of room for expansion.  While I haven’t seen the landscape performance of ‘Cat’s Meow’, I am pleased to see Proven Winners making a serious push to get a better nepeta in their program.  The habit is compact, the flowers are upright, and the plants are “cute.”

I believe as a filler plant with important woody plants like roses, the possibilities nepeta offers have no limit, and this one also offers great possibilities in mixed containers. My goodness, if we can sell bacopa, we can certainly sell nepeta. With Proven Winners’ genetics and market expertise, I have every confidence this is going to be on grower benches very soon.

Syngenta
Syngenta has an absolutely spectacular winner with the new Pentas Starcluster series. What really impressed me was the vigor of the plant (there is nothing “dwarf” about this one), the size of the flower and the stem strength. Given the fact that they were grown in a warm greenhouse, I’m truly impressed with the strength of the stems. I think the industry is ready for a more robust pentas and this one appears to be able to spit out heat and humidity — I am in love!

The Kwik Combos certainly caught my eye. I’ve been looking at combinations for many years, and while they were very nice, they had not been on top of my list for great landscape performance. However, in my trials and all my travels last summer, I was really impressed with the Kwiks’ performance relative to combinations from other companies.

With what I saw today — three new combinations to complement a much improved series of Kwiks — I believe growers, retailers and consumers definitely should not be ignoring this group of combination plantings. The company is putting money, time and expertise behind this product, and they have it nailed! Take a good look at the new combos; you will be pleased.

The third innovation at Syngenta that very much impressed me was not a single plant, but a program to reduce crop time of some important plants. It will also help ensure that some of Syngenta’s best plants remain in production.

The program, called Cutting Time, is based on excellent science and innovative production techniques. It uses callused cuttings to be sure that some difficult-to-propagate crops such as ‘Nirvana’ vinca and ‘Scentopia’ heliotrope not only remain in production, but can be produced far more quickly and with better results by the grower. Syngenta chose nine different crops to place in this program, and I believe it to be an important breakthrough in production. We all need great crops, and we all want to save time on the bench — this program is a potential no-brainer — take a close look.

Leave a Reply

More From Varieties...
Miscanthus-Bandwidth EmeraldCoastGrowers

May 11, 2018

New Sterile Ornamental Grasses One Solution to Grass Invasion

Aggressive grass species can turn gardeners off to using ornamental grasses. Less fertile alternatives offer options for keeping grasses from taking over the garden.

Read More

May 10, 2018

Beekenkamp Plants Acquires Sunny Osteospermum Breeding Program

Beekenkamp took over all Sunny Holland sales activities in 2017, and now has ownership of the company’s entire breeding program.

Read More
Stokesia-Divinity-1-feature

May 6, 2018

Growing Tips From an Expert for Stokesia ‘Divinity’

'Divinity’ has large, white flowers that open with a hint of yellow in the center and then mature to a pure, long-lasting white.

Read More
Latest Stories
Miscanthus-Bandwidth EmeraldCoastGrowers

May 11, 2018

New Sterile Ornamental Grasses One Solution to Grass In…

Aggressive grass species can turn gardeners off to using ornamental grasses. Less fertile alternatives offer options for keeping grasses from taking over the garden.

Read More

May 10, 2018

Beekenkamp Plants Acquires Sunny Osteospermum Breeding …

Beekenkamp took over all Sunny Holland sales activities in 2017, and now has ownership of the company’s entire breeding program.

Read More
Stokesia-Divinity-1-feature

May 6, 2018

Growing Tips From an Expert for Stokesia ‘Divinit…

'Divinity’ has large, white flowers that open with a hint of yellow in the center and then mature to a pure, long-lasting white.

Read More
Panicum-Northwind-feature

May 4, 2018

Allan Armitage: Three Ways to Market Grasses as Great O…

I don’t expect my friends to know the difference between switchgrass and grama grass, yet I always try to do my best to enhance the visibility of these grasses.

Read More
Bailey-Nurseries-Tree-Art-at-US-Capitol

May 1, 2018

Bailey Nurseries Fills U.S. Capitol Front Lawn With Tre…

A 150-foot tree art installation was constructed on the front lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building to promote the planting of trees in an effort to combat climate, change while creating meaningful experiences that bring nature into people’s every day lives.

Read More
Carex-and-Onoclea

April 28, 2018

Kelly Norris: Why the Plant Experience Really Matters W…

For Millennials and other new gardeners, the features of plants such as natives aren’t terribly important. It's the benefits that are paramount.

Read More
Zinfin-Doll-Hydrangea

April 25, 2018

March Was a Month of Awards for Spring Meadow Nursery, …

After taking home a best new variety award at a Belgian horticulture event, Proven Winners held its always-popular Shrub Madness tournament to coincide with the annual NCAA Championship.

Read More

April 25, 2018

Armitage Scholar’s Final Thoughts on the People a…

"This trip solidified my desire to breed plants. Every time I was able to have a discussion about plant traits, genetics, and germplasm, I felt a thrill of excitement."

Read More
Gomphrena Truffula Pink (Proven Winners)

April 24, 2018

Armitage Talks Favorites From Danziger and Proven Winne…

From annuals that look like they came out of a Dr. Seuss book to breeding marvels in perennials and shrubs, the visits to Danziger and Proven Winners at California Spring Trials were exciting, to be sure. Here are some of Dr. A's favorites.

Read More

April 24, 2018

Proven Winners Reveals Marketing Efforts for 2018-2019 …

For the first time, the brand has generated one billion consumer impressions, and plans to keep that momentum going with a number of ambitious programs.

Read More

April 24, 2018

California Spring Trials 2018: New Plant Intros from Pr…

Check out the newest 2018 plant introductions from Proven Winners and Danziger.

Read More

April 20, 2018

California Dreaming Takes on a Whole New Meaning at CAS…

At California Spring Trials 2018, the Greenhouse Grower team witnessed the revitalization of a company, plus some awesome merchandising displays, and efforts toward automation.

Read More

April 19, 2018

California Spring Trials 2018: New Intros from Syngenta…

Check out the newest 2018 plant introductions from Syngenta Flowers, Hishtil, Jaldety, Cohen Propagators, Nir Nursery, Bailey Nurseries, and Sunset Western/Southern Living Plants.

Read More

April 19, 2018

CAST 2018: Dr. A’s Favorites From Syngenta Flowers, Bai…

From an exciting perennial to a new white begonia, Allan Armitage says these showstoppers deserve recognition.

Read More
GG-and-Benary-Team

April 19, 2018

Spring Trials Rookie Inspired by Connections

The Allan Armitage Scholarship recipient has added a number of industry connections during his time at California Spring Trials, and discusses what that means to him and his career.

Read More
Benary 2018

April 18, 2018

At CAST 2018, Sakata Captures Consumer Attention Spans,…

More than halfway through the California Spring Trials, the Greenhouse Grower team had a busy but fantastic day seeing dozens of our friends at American Takii and Benary, and spending time talking about the industry's past and its bright future.

Read More

April 18, 2018

California Spring Trials 2018: New Varieties to Watch F…

Check out the newest 2018 plant introductions from American Takii, Hilverdakooijj, Hem Genetics, Thompson & Morgan, Sakata Ornamentals, and Ernst Benary of America.

Read More

April 18, 2018

How the Horticulture Industry’s Past Shaped Its P…

Andrew Scheldorf, the winner of Dr. Allan Armitage’s California Spring Trials Scholarship, says the stories of plant origins help ground our industry to the people and places that have changed us.

Read More