Allan’s Top Four On Thursday

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Allan's Top Four On Thursday


Dianthus Diabunda series:  In this day and age of petunias and calis, it is nice to see that some of the old folks didn’t get left behind. One of the old folks is dianthus, an old fashioned plant but one that keeps working for us. It is good to see some new breeding in this great grand dame, and the Diabunda series caught my eye. These selections of Sweet William offer the grower a quick turnover, as I was told that plants don’t need vernalization, quite a breakthrough when one thinks how much vernalization the old Sweet Williams needed. Available in 6 colors, these vigorous plants would be excellent for 6-inch or gallon containers.

Oro Farms

Erysimums: What in the world is an erysimum? As my colleague and good friend Royal Hines at Oro said, “Erysimum is a obligate cold-requiring plant…”  And the austute group with him said “Whoa, what?? He was saying, and saying it well, that wallflowers need some cold to flower in the spring. I also love wallflowers, and it was nice to see some new material to go with other wallflowers we saw at Skagit and Syngenta. I believe this is an up and coming group of plants, so I was really pleased to see them at Oro, and knowing Royal, they will be of exceptional quality. Some taller forms belonged to the Poem and Winter series while the Rysi series was much more compact. Get some in for next winter, as they make a great early spring crop.


Littletunias: The Littletunia petunias at Danziger have been met with great success, by both growers and retailers alike.  I was most impressed with some of the new selctions like ‘Sweet Sherbet’ and ‘Dark Eyed Lady,’ both of which caught my eye. It is a good series and I like some of the colors they are filling in.

Kira heucheras: To the gardener, there seem to be hundreds of heucheras out there, available at the retailer in the perennial department or through mail order. While the world does not need too many more coral bells, the greenhouse grower does. The great wave of heucheras in the marketplace flew by greenhouse people and perhaps the breeding at Danziger may help that problem. They are being positioned as a mixed container item and are being presented as an annual coral bell. They bring beautiful foliage and good flowers in a fast turnover plant, perhaps not a bad idea. 

Allan Armitage was a professor in the Department of Horticulture at the University of Georgia for 30 years. He recently retired and remains an active consultant, author and lecturer.

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