The Saga Of Osteos

The Saga Of Osteos

We have all seen them in the last eight years or so, the steady, lava-like stream of new plants, some spectacularly good, some much less so. The daisy family has been well and truly represented in the new plant movement, including gazanias, gerberas, arctotis, brachyscome and the bazillions of cape daisies, particularly argyranthemum and osteospermum. It is the latter plant whose rise I have watched with dismay.

The dismay is well documented in my lectures and writing. I have seen new cultivar after new cultivar introduced through pack trials and promotions and watched as their spring flowers stopped appearing as soon as temperatures rose above 70ºF. As I trialed these cultivars (literally hundreds of them) over many years, I watched the plants morph into shrublets by June 15, all leaves, no flowers. Year after year after year. Yes, there has been a slow and steady improvement, but not enough to give me reason to change my opinion.

I have not been bashful in stating that osteospermums are overhyped and oversold for most of the country. Even this year at pack trials, I believed we were doing a disservice by introducing even more. As beautiful as this year’s crop was, I held out little hope that the consumer would spend more money for more disappointing green things. However, I have continued to trial new cultivars in the hope that better cultivars (i.e. those that actually flowered during the summer) may appear. Usually the trial space is wasted. 

A Second Look

But, whoa, Nellie! I may be opinionated, but I am not blind. Every year, a few cultivars made it to the finish line with flowers intact, so some hope was warranted. This year, believing they would again crash early, we planted 25 cultivars in our “K-Mart bed,” the one beside the parking lot, hotter than Hades and in full sun all day.

However, in our open house at the trials this year, the osteos kicked butt! People who would not give them a second look kept commenting on how well some were performing. But that was only the beginning of July, and as excited as I was by the comments, I was stubbornly skeptical. After all, let’s wait until August. I kept revisiting these loathsome creatures, but as I write, it’s August and the news is good enough to share. I am ecstatic to be able to finally say something good about this group of plants.

I don’t have to remind you about the heat of the summer 2006, global warming in full throttle. Certainly many of the more than two dozen osteos were no better than normal, but there are enough to hope for even better times ahead. We take data every two weeks, and assign a rating of one to five, five being outstanding. Here are some of the most outstanding, as of Aug. 1, those I would buy for my daughters.

In alphabetical order:
‘Crescendo Compact Purple’ by Paul Ecke Ranch. Plants are probably intergeneric hybrids, smaller flowers, but colorful and provide a different look to the flowers. ‘Crescendo Primrose’ was also good.

‘Margarita Lemon’ by Fides Inc. Consistent flowering, handsome color. The best of the Fides introductions, at least in our trials.

‘Serenity Lavender Frost Improved’ and ‘Serenity White Improved’ by Ball FloraPlant. Whatever the breeders at Ball did, the improvements made a difference. Both cultivars are compact and continue to flower well.

‘Sideshow Purple’ and ‘Sideshow Purple Bicolor’ by Paul Ecke Ranch. Probably the best overall series in the trials, all colors were improved compared to past years. These two have also been in the top five, flowering and performing consistently wellall season.

‘Soprano Yellow Spoon’ by Proven Winners. The performance has been excellent. The bright spoon-shaped flowers are eye catching.

‘Sun Yellow’ by Dömmen Inc. Bright yellow flowers on compact, well-branched plants. The best of the Dömmen varieties and consistently performing well.

‘Tradewinds Pink’ by Goldfisch Inc. The Tradewinds series also showed hints of great things to come. This cultivar had good clear pink flowers and a well-branched habit.

I hesitate to get too carried away based on this year alone, but performance has been improving glacially over the last five years. I am pleased to report these findings, and hope I can be similarly positive this time next year. However, in the meantime, if osteos are in your plans for next year, get going and order some of these.

Leave a Reply

More From Annuals...
Sheridan Nurseries

September 3, 2015

Greenhouse Grower’s 2015 Operation Of The Year Sheridan Nurseries Raises The Bar

Ontario-based Sheridan Nurseries has long been an innovator in the Canadian market, but during the economic downturn, CEO Karl Stensson says the company decided to take things a step further. “We have survived the Great Depression, two World Wars and many other downturns in the economy,” he says. “During this last recession, our staff set out at being the best at what we do.” The company’s efforts have paid off. Sheridan Nurseries was named Operation of the Year at Greenhouse Grower’s Evening of Excellence, held July 13, at Cultivate’15 in Columbus, Ohio. The company was also awarded for Excellence In Perennials Production, based on its reputation for plant quality and the activities the nursery has led and been a part of, both within its company and in the industry at large. “We are elated and proud of our staff accomplishments,” says CEO Karl Stensson. “Over the last five years, we […]

Read More

September 3, 2015

Legalization Of Marijuana In California A Strong Possibility

The push for the legalization of recreational marijuana intensifies in California as proponents promote the crop’s agricultural and economical benefits.

Read More
More and more people are employing a landscape service, but that doesn’t mean they don’t still garden

September 2, 2015

Under Siege? Not Really, Just Go For A Walk

I have no trouble with people buying chocolates or wine instead of flowers to celebrate anniversaries, birthdays or peoples’ lives. We should all have choices. However, the other night I felt like I was entering the Republican caucus. I was minding my own business by the television set and became more than a little upset. A website called insteadofflowers.com came on the screen. It provided serene music and wholesome images of busy women doing busy things. It turns out that such busy women enjoy a small token of appreciation, but apparently their enjoyment, according to the voice-over, does not include flowers. This website delivers meals to the house, anything from beef brisket to beef bourguignon. It is a fine website with a good idea. But why pick on us? Why not use “insteadofbaloneysandwiches.com” or “insteadofgrilledcheeseandsoup.com,” “insteadofburgerdoodle.com,” or a dozen other things. When did flowers get to be the whipping boy? […]

Read More
Latest Stories
WavePetunias-GrowIt_contest_featured

June 18, 2015

Wave Petunias Sponsors Photo Contest Through GrowIt! Ga…

The gardening season is heating up and the Wave Petunias Team wants to see the #WildestWave. The popular plant brand has joined forces with the GrowIt! Garden Socially app to host a two week contest in June that encourages Wave Fans to share and rate photos of their favorite Wave Petunias. The grand prize is a $100 gift card to the garden center of the winner’s choosing. “We are excited to work with GrowIt! and see our Wave Petunias tagged in cities from coast to coast,” says Claire Watson, brand manager for Wave. “Seeing gardeners’ creative photography, awarding a winner, and learning what each region likes about Wave Petunias will be extremely useful as we further promote our ‘Wow ’em With Wave’ ad campaign this season.” Gardeners can place an entry into the contest by downloading GrowIt!, filling out a profile, and uploading photos of Wave Petunias. Placing the tag #WildestWave in the photo’s comments section […]

Read More
Salvia 'Ember's Wish'

March 11, 2015

Annual Salvias – Not Just Red Bedding Plants Anym…

Salvias are popular — and they need not all be the same. Here are a few you know well, and perhaps a few you do not. All are easy to grow and may be found through a broker or grower.

Read More

February 18, 2015

New Annuals For 2016 From California Spring Trials

California Spring Trials (CAST) is long past for 2015, but you still have the chance to see the new genetics that will be hitting the market in 2016. We asked breeders to share with us pictures and information on some of the great new annuals introductions they shared at CAST, so we could share them with you.

Read More

November 14, 2014

First Vegetatively Propagated All-America Selections (A…

All-America Selections (AAS) honors two vegetatively propagated impatiens with AAS winner status.

Read More

October 13, 2014

Growing Tips For Verbena

Rich Schoellhorn, product manager at Proven Winners, shares some tips for growing verbenas successfully.

Read More

October 13, 2014

Greenhouse Grower 2014 New Varieties Guide: Petunias [S…

Greenhouse Grower asked more than 40 breeders to send photos of new introductions they think are worth your attention. The result is the 2014 New Varieties Guide. See what petunias made the cut.

Read More

June 12, 2014

New Begonia Variety And Coleus Series, Plus Two Lobelia…

Terra Nova Nurseries introduces seven new varieties and one new series.

Read More

May 27, 2014

Two New Salvias Added To Southern Living Plant Collecti…

Two new salvia varieties are now available exclusively to growers from the Southern Living Plant Collection and Sunset Western Garden Collection.

Read More

May 9, 2014

New Petunias Making Their Debut In 2015

Take a look at the new petunia varieties that will be making their appearance in 2015.

Read More

April 23, 2014

Foliage Begonias May Be A Big 2015 Trend [Spring Trials…

A number of breeders debuted their rex begonia and begonia hybrid lines at 2014 Spring Trials.

Read More
Petunia 'Success Violet' from Benary

April 11, 2014

What’s New With Petunias For 2014? [Slideshow]

Breeders are rolling out great new petunia introductions for 2014. Take a look at the variety of petunias they have to offer.

Read More
Verbena 'Superbena Royale Whitecap' from Proven Winners

November 11, 2013

Three New Verbena Superbena Introductions From Proven W…

Three new varieties have joined the verbena Superbena line-up this year: 'Superbena Royale Plum Wine,' 'Superbena Royale Whitecap' and 'Superbena Violet Ice.'

Read More
Calibrachoa 'Mini Famous Double Blue' from Selecta

October 17, 2013

6 New Calibrachoa For 2013

Check out these lovely new introductions in calibrachoa.

Read More

October 10, 2013

Begonia ‘Silhouette Lemon Rose’ Doubles The Bloo…

Begonia ‘Silhouette Lemon Rose’ is a striking begonia hybrid with phenomenal basal and lateral branching. Plant sterility gives maximum continual flowering throughout the season with double the bloom number of a traditional non-stop begonia. Dark mahogany foliage with contrasting emerald green veining provides a dramatic contrast to the soft lemon yellow 1.5- to 2-inch diameter blooms that blush apple blossom pink in high light. This easy-care beauty is ideal for mixed pots and containers, hanging baskets or the summer border. For more information, visit PlantHaven.com

Read More
Petunia 'Flash Mob Bluerific' Burpee Home Gardens

October 7, 2013

18 New Petunias To Add For 2014

Tried and true, petunias are a garden staple. Here are some new introductions breeders are rolling out for your consideration in 2014.  

Read More
Verbena 'Hurricane Hot Pink' from Westflowers

October 7, 2013

New Verbena For 2014

Check out these eight new verbena varieties and consider them for your 2014 greenhouse production.  

Read More
Dahlia Dalaya Shari from Selecta

September 25, 2013

4 New Dahlias For Your 2014 Season

Looking for new dahlia varieties to incorporate in your crop mix? Here are 4 beauties your customers will love.  

Read More
'Wall Street' Coleus from Dummen/Red Fox

September 25, 2013

4 Colorful New Coleus For 2014

Gorgeous foliage makes these new introductions must-haves for next year.  

Read More