Top-Performing Varieties At Colorado State

Trial Manager

James E. Klett, professor and extension landscape horticulture specialist at Colorado State.


Fort Collins, Colo.

Planting Dates

Major planting were May 24, May 27, and June 2. The majority of planting was done by June 15.


About 1,050 entries with about 400 in containers and the rest in ground beds.

Weather Conditions

It was a mild May and early June with a moderate hailstorm on June 8. There were several heavy rainstorms in late June and the first part of July. The area had extremely hot weather in late July and throughout August. Many days in August were over 90°F.

Top Varieties

Comments submitted by Klett.

Best of Show–”Argyranthemum ‘Flutterby Yellow’ from Paul Ecke Ranch. Intense flowering and the bright yellow color makes this variety stand out from anywhere in the garden. Plants were uniform both in growth habit and flowering. They were constantly in bloom throughout the summer, making it rank the highest. ‘Flutterby Yellow’ has proven to be a consistent variety over time because it was also selected the Best Argryanthemum in 2010.”

Best New Variety - Lantana ‘Bandana Rose Improved’ from Syngenta Flowers. “The vibrant multicolor flowers on this lantana looked good even as they aged.  Plants have a uniform ‘tidy’ growth habit with healthy green foliage. Another superior feature is that it produces virtually no fruit or seeds and saves its energy for a constant show of blooms.”

Best Novelty Plant–Hibiscus ‘Mahogany Splendor’ from PanAmerican Seed. “The plant has impressive vigor and beautiful dark mahogany-colored foliage. It is reported to be adaptable to both drought/heat and growing in a pond as a water plant. It is a fast grower with a height of 3 to 5 feet and a great choice for the back of a border. Flowering was non-existent in our trial but was selected as a winner because as one evaluator stated: ‘It had plenty of boom without bloom.'”

Additional Outstanding Plants

Nicotiana ‘Whisper Mix’ from Floranova. “Light pink and white flowers sway in the air on tall stems, which gives a delicate and fanciful feel to a garden. It can make a great landscape plant or it can be used in the back of a border. Plants had basal leaves with good vigor and a healthy appearance.

Pennisetum ‘Skyrocket’ from Eason Horticultural Resources. “The showy variegated foliage and vigor made this an exceptional plant. The graceful pink plumes would add great texture to any garden. Leaf blades are a medium green with a white-striped margin, and the plant as a whole is very low maintenance.”

Phlox ‘Astoria Peach’ from Suntory Flowers. “The soft peach flower color combined with prolific flower power throughout the entire summer made this an obvious standout. Plants had good uniformity and vigor.”

Zinnia ‘Queen Red Lime’ from Benary. “Unique flower color was the primary feature of this variety. It also earned a lot of comments for vigor, prolific blooms and uniform plants. Flowers have a unique coloring due to young center petals starting out as a lime green color and maturing to a mauve color on the outer petals. The tall statuesque growth habit makes it a good cut flower.  Plants were noted for being powdery mildew resistant.

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