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...

September 24, 2016

Plantarium 2016 Honors Winning Novelty Varieties

Novelties at Plantarium 2016 were judged by an expert committee from the Royal Boskoop Horticultural Society.

Read More
mukgenia-nova-flame-terra-nova-nurseries-feature

September 23, 2016

Growers Offer Advice On How To Grow Mukgenia ‘Nova Flame’

‘Nova Flame’ is best brought in as a summer or fall crop and bulked over the winter.

Read More
deutzia-yuki-snowflake

September 22, 2016

Allan Armitage Suggests Plants That “Even My Neighbors Will Try”

When the urge to garden strikes, every homeowner needs a few plants like these for their yard.

Read More
Latest Stories

September 24, 2016

Plantarium 2016 Honors Winning Novelty Varieties

Novelties at Plantarium 2016 were judged by an expert committee from the Royal Boskoop Horticultural Society.

Read More
mukgenia-nova-flame-terra-nova-nurseries-feature

September 23, 2016

Growers Offer Advice On How To Grow Mukgenia ‘Nova Flam…

‘Nova Flame’ is best brought in as a summer or fall crop and bulked over the winter.

Read More
deutzia-yuki-snowflake

September 22, 2016

Allan Armitage Suggests Plants That “Even My Neig…

When the urge to garden strikes, every homeowner needs a few plants like these for their yard.

Read More
Phlox 'Pink Profusion' (Green Leaf Plants)

September 13, 2016

Aris Horticulture Names Blair Hoey As Managing Director…

Hoey brings more than 20 years of greenhouse production and management experience to Green Leaf Plants, a young plant supplier of perennials serving the U.S. and Canadian markets.

Read More
hibiscus-hollywood-hot-shot

September 12, 2016

New Variety Award Winners Announced At Farwest 2016

A panel of industry experts, as well as show attendees, selected a thornless blackberry and a hydrangea for the top honors.

Read More

September 7, 2016

Check Out The Best Annuals For Attracting Bees And Butt…

Public interest in protecting bees and other pollinators has initiated a new market for flowers that are good food plants for pollinators. Here's a list of annuals Michigan State University Extension recommends that are attractive to bees and other pollinators.

Read More

September 6, 2016

10 Colorful Spring Plants For Sales In 2017

Trends with plants come and go, but color always sells. These spring crops for 2017 offer color choices ranging from bold and vibrant hues to understated, softer tones, and they’re versatile enough to be used in baskets, containers, beds, and borders.

Read More

September 5, 2016

7 New Shrubs And Foliage Plants For Spring Interest

Perennials and annuals aren’t the only plants that supply spring color to the garden. Shrubs and foliage plants also add color and interest and are a great way to round out your spring product mix.

Read More
Janikia Eckert

September 4, 2016

All-America Selections Presents Achievement Awards At I…

Jim Nau of Ball Horticultural received the AAS Medallion of Honor, while Janika Eckert of Johnny’s Selected Seeds took home the Breeders Cup.

Read More
Phlox 'Pink Profusion' (Green Leaf Plants)

August 30, 2016

14 Cool Season Plants To Kick Off The Spring Season

These new cultivar introductions for 2016 are spring bloomers that can take the cold for early-season sales.

Read More
Penn State University Trial Day

August 26, 2016

How Greenhouse Growers Can Broaden Their Horizons

Allan Armitage says you can learn new ideas to help your business when you get out to visit plant trials and other growers.

Read More

August 23, 2016

Kick Spring Sales Up A Notch With 20 New Plant Introduc…

It’s time to look forward to the spring season and what plants will get your business off to the right start. These 18 new cultivars have all the traits of good breeding — uniform habits, bold colors, showy blooms, good vigor, and excellent branching.

Read More

August 23, 2016

Gardens Alive! Parent Company Buys Zelenka Farms

  Zelenka Farms, which has been in Chapter 11 bankruptcy, says LM Farms, which owns Gardens Alive!, has purchased the company and all of its assets. BFN Operations LLC and its affiliated entities, d/b/a Zelenka Farms, operated one of the largest wholesale nurseries in the U.S. Its products include shrubs, trees, perennials, roses, and groundcovers. The owners of Gardens Alive! have successfully purchased several other companies from bankruptcy and are experienced nursery managers. Niles Kinerk, Chairman of LM Farms, stated that “the opportunity to purchase Zelenka Farms assets and to continue the turnaround that is well underway is exactly the kind of opportunity that we look for. We understand the efforts of the management team led by Eric Ek and others have been successful, and we will support the management team in the coming months and years.” Zelenka Farms operates its six facilities across the key growing regions in the […]

Read More
Coreopsis-UpTickCream-19793-DarwinPerennials

August 20, 2016

Growing Tips On Coreopsis UpTick Series From John Wilso…

Editor’s Note: In this new feature, the Greenhouse Grower varieties team will choose one noteworthy variety each month we think is worth bringing to your attention. Then we’ll share growers’ and breeders’ perspectives on the best ways to produce it successfully at your operation. This month we focus on the hardy Coreopsis UpTick series, winner of Greenhouse Grower’s 2016 Industry’s Choice Medal of Excellence for Breeding. Growing Tips From John Wilson, Seville Farms When asked about producing Coreopsis UpTick, John Wilson says he doesn’t have much to say because it was so easy to grow. Wilson, a Corporate Grower for Seville Farms, says based on the new series’ strong performance during the trialing he has done so far, the nursery ordered a large quantity of the plants for future growing. “If breeders were looking to come up with something that says ‘wow,’ they have done it with the UpTick Series,” […]

Read More
Eucomis arrangement from Golden State Bulb

August 19, 2016

What’s New With Blooming Potted Plants

From exotic orchids and lilies to flashy red cyclamen and jaunty gerberas, new blooming potted plants come in every shape, size, and color.

Read More
Craspedia Golf Ball Beauty (Danziger)

August 19, 2016

Learn How Unconventional Plants Can Be Hidden Gems

According to Kelly Norris, plant breeding inspired by consumer motivations and interests restores our connection with consumers thirsty for out-of-the-ordinary plants.

Read More
Petunia 'Moonstruck' (2015 Welby Gardens Field Trials)

August 9, 2016

Welby Gardens Names Top Selections From Its Trial Garde…

Welby Gardens, an exclusive grower of Hardy Boy Plants, tested more than 900 varieties this year in its field and container trials. Find out which varieties were the cream of the crop.

Read More

August 6, 2016

Growing Tips On Petunia ‘Night Sky’ From Da…

Production tips for Petunia ‘Night Sky’ from Dan Chaney, Vice President of Production, at Ivy Acres.

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