The National Plant Trialing Program Puts All The Plants In One Basket

The National Plant Trialing Program website

How many times have you discussed great ideas — ideas that make sense, ideas that would benefit your company or others — but don’t quite get around to using them? Time, money and distractions all conspire to derail idea implementation until finally, with sufficient prodding and poking, the idea begins to take shape.
The idea, here, is the National Plant Trialing Program, a simple commonsense approach to trialing plants that should have been implemented years ago.  And like the little engine that could, the idea is starting to build steam.

The concept is simple. New plants from all the world’s breeders are trialed in numerous locations around the U.S. and Canada. Many (but not all) of the trialing sites report their data on websites, blogs or in print. It is difficult — if not impossible — however, for breeders and others to gather all the data together and assess and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of their introductions in various parts of the country. The National Plant Trialing Program seeks to solve these problems.

The idea took form. Breeders and trial sites were approached about participating in the program. Those who agreed have been gathered under one umbrella. A website (NationalTrials.com) was created on a membership-only basis, so trial sites can enter data on the plants they received from breeders. Now when someone searches for a variety, data on a particular geranium or petunia cultivar from Florida to Michigan, all appear in one place.

The program has value for breeders. It allows the breeders to fine-tune their products and have real, independent data to help them market plants on a regional, not just a national, platform. In a perfect world, easy access to a plant’s performance under different weather locales would allow companies to breed for characteristics they might not otherwise see in data spread out everywhere. The trial grounds will be on notice that cultivars must be grown with certain standards, evaluated over the season in a standard manner and appear on the website by a certain time.

The program is a work in progress. There is still a lot missing. The year 2012 was the initial trial of the program, and it was not without potholes and hiccups. Breeders and trial gardens both have to buy into the concept seriously, not just give lip service. The money for the project is presently the responsibility of the breeders, and if they are not satisfied, things will change. Not all breeders have joined, but in my humble opinion, the breeders that do not join will simply lose credibility and be left behind. The same is true for trial sites. If they don’t participate, I can’t see the breeders supporting them

The only people who can view the data today are the breeders and the trial sites. It is a members-only club. If the program goes well in 2013, I foresee the membership opening to growers, landscapers, retailers and other industry members, but it will not be open to the general public any time soon.
For more information, contact Diane Blazek at [email protected]

Leave a Reply

More From Varieties...
Bee on Lavender feature

March 23, 2017

Allan Armitage: Plant Consumers Don’t Talk About Varieties; They Talk About Solutions

Allan Armitage says it's time to get in touch with our true audience and market plant solutions, not plant products.

Read More
Spin Top Gaillardia Series (Dummen Orange)

March 22, 2017

New Perennials and Tender Perennials for 2018 from California Spring Trials

We asked breeders to share with us pictures and information on some of the true perennials and tender perennials that you'll see at California Spring Trials 2017. Here's a sampling of some of the varieties hitting retail shelves in 2018.

Read More
Zinnia Solmar Series (Floranova)

March 17, 2017

Phlox, Zinnias, and More for 2018 From California Spring Trials

We asked breeders to share with us pictures and information on some of the great new annuals that you'll see at California Spring Trials 2017. They didn't let you down.

Read More
Latest Stories
Bee on Lavender feature

March 23, 2017

Allan Armitage: Plant Consumers Don’t Talk About …

Allan Armitage says it's time to get in touch with our true audience and market plant solutions, not plant products.

Read More
Spin Top Gaillardia Series (Dummen Orange)

March 22, 2017

New Perennials and Tender Perennials for 2018 from Cali…

We asked breeders to share with us pictures and information on some of the true perennials and tender perennials that you'll see at California Spring Trials 2017. Here's a sampling of some of the varieties hitting retail shelves in 2018.

Read More
Zinnia Solmar Series (Floranova)

March 17, 2017

Phlox, Zinnias, and More for 2018 From California Sprin…

We asked breeders to share with us pictures and information on some of the great new annuals that you'll see at California Spring Trials 2017. They didn't let you down.

Read More
Cosmos ‘Apollo’ (Floranova)

March 14, 2017

Begonias, Dahlias, and More for 2018 from California Sp…

We asked breeders to share with us pictures and information on some of the great new annuals that you'll see at California Spring Trials 2017. They didn't let you down.

Read More
Pennisetum First Knight Feature

March 11, 2017

Now is the Time for Growers to Plan for Fall Perennial …

If you haven’t already put in your orders for the items you’ll sell this fall, it’s time to start now.

Read More
Dianthus Pink Kisses Selecta Feature

March 8, 2017

Growing Tips for Selecta’s Dianthus ‘Pink Kisses’

Kyle Peterson, Production Manager at Fessler Nursery, grew Dianthus ‘Pink Kisses’ on a trial basis and says he was pleased with its performance.

Read More
Limbo GP burgundy picotee

March 7, 2017

New Petunias and Calibrachoas for 2018 from California …

We asked breeders to share with us pictures and information on some of the great new petunias and calibrachoas that you'll see at California Spring Trials 2017. They didn't let you down.

Read More
Butterfly on a Pollinator Plant Feature

March 7, 2017

Allan Armitage: Why You Should Focus on the Functionali…

New crops are great, but Armitage says selling plants by function makes more sense.

Read More

March 5, 2017

2016 Young’s Plant Farm Field Trials Results

Check out the 2016 field trials results for Young's Plant Farm in Auburn, AL.

Read More
kelly-norris

March 4, 2017

Kelly Norris Describes How Growers Can Help Plant the F…

The tough plant varieties unique to their regions could be the urban superstars of tomorrow.

Read More
Welby Gardens field trials

March 2, 2017

2016 Welby Gardens Field Trials Results

Check out the 2016 field trials results for Welby Gardens in Denver, CO.

Read More
Zinnia 'Zahara XL Fire Improved'

March 1, 2017

2016 University of Minnesota Field Trials Results

Check out the 2016 field trials results for University of Minnesota in Morris, MN.

Read More
Geranium Combos feature

February 27, 2017

Tips for General Combination and Hanging Basket Product…

Bell Nursery’s Head Grower Tom Wheeler provides his recipe for success when growing premium combos that put on a show at retail.

Read More
Portulaca 'ColorBlast Tangerine'

February 26, 2017

2016 University of Georgia Field Trials Results

Check out the 2016 field trials results for the University Of Georgia trial gardens in Athens, GA.

Read More
University of Wisconsin field trial gardens

February 25, 2017

2016 University of Wisconsin Field Trials Results

Check out the 2016 field trials results for the University of Wisconsin display gardens at the West Madison Agricultural Research Station in Verona, WI.

Read More
Poinsettia 'Christmas Joy Marble'

February 20, 2017

5 New Varieties Shaking Up the Poinsettia Tradition

With poinsettias trending toward non-traditional colors, growers may find new opportunities to spread sales beyond the winter holidays. Here are five of the newest euphorbia varieties to hit the market that may play a role in redefining the future of the poinsettia market.

Read More
University of Tennessee trials overview (2015 University of Tennessee Field Trials)

February 19, 2017

2016 University of Tennessee Field Trials Results

Check out the 2016 field trials results for the University of Tennessee Gardens in Knoxville and Jackson, TN.

Read More
Reiman Gardens field trials

February 18, 2017

2016 Iowa State University Field Trials Results

Check out the 2016 field trials results for Reiman Gardens at Iowa State University in Ames, IA.

Read More