We really like the Arcadia begonias from Ecke. This series of seven begonias has big showy blooms in shades of orange, red, pink, white and yellow, and unique foliage colors and shapes. Arcadias are said to perform well in the shade and should be great in hanging baskets.
Everyone seems to like ‘Superbells Lemon Slice’ calibrachoa. Proven Winners’ Kerry Meyer said she thinks Lemon Slice will be this year’s Cherry Star (which shot to number-one in Superbells sales in its first year on the market). This variety has a really nice–and unique–yellow pinwheel pattern, a mounding habit, and a good earliness to flower.
Easily the most exciting introduction at Benary was Begonia boliviensis ‘Santa Cruz Sunset,’ the first boliviensis begonia from seed. It’s a beautiful plant, with bright, red-orange flowers, but just as nice for growers is the economics. It’s seed crop and a fast bench runner for efficient production, and with no marketing royalty, this could be a profitable find for growers.
‘Staviski Yellow’ is a striking yellow pot mum introduced at GroLink this year. It looks like this one will fit nicely into their programmable mum collection.
Gerberas are all Florist Holland does, and they showed some amazing varieties this year. One of the coolest was ‘Sleeping Beauty’ in the Garvinea series. This white flower with a tint closes up at night and wakes up as it warms in the morning. The Garvineas produce tons of flowers and are great in the garden or in large pots.
GreenFuse showed some nice streptocarpus that we really like, including ‘Ladyslippers Deep Blue Vein.’ They’re also previewing some experimental streptocarpus varieties with bicolored flowers and an edgy, fun pattern we hope to see in 2013.
Could there be a more “Hort Couture” plant than ‘Glamouflage Grape?’ This petunia with great purple flowers over variegated foliage is an eye-catcher and fits perfectly with Hort Couture’s market and message.
PlantHaven’s Geoff and Maureen Needham always have some surprises to show at Trials and this year we really liked Colocasia Black Coral. This beautiful tropical has glossy black foliage with blue veins. It also has good disease resistance.
Hellebores are finally starting to get some attention, and Skagit’s ‘Jacob’ in the Gold Collection is a nice one. This variety features upright, large outward-facing pure-white flowers for a better presentation. The team at Skagit is promoting the traditional European concept of Hellebores as a great Christmas gift plant and a higher-end alternative for anyone looking for something beyond poinsettias.
Now that Greenheart has moved out of cyclamen, it is focused full time on developing new rose programs. They’re introducing a nice one in Sunblaze, a collection of minis for the higher end blooming potted market. Building on the success of their Table To Garden hybrid-tea-type miniature roses, Sunblaze offers 2-3 inch grandiflora blooms. They have a nice variety of colors including oranges, reds, pinks, a white, and a yellow.