Coleus was king in 2009 at Franklin Park Conservatory’s field trials in Columbus, Ohio. Ball Horticultural’s newest coleus varieties ‘Trusty Rusty’ and ‘Redhead,’ as well as ‘Henna’ and ‘Mint Mocha’ were top performers, scoring excellent ratings for vegetative quality, flowering performance and overall presentation.
Consumers also preferred coleus, making ‘Redhead,’ ‘Henna’ and ‘Mint Mocha’ three of the consumer’s choice award winners for 2009. When asked to choose three variety entries from the trials they would purchase, consumers routinely chose these coleus varieties.
Also making the top consumer’s choice list were Ball Horticultural’s lantana ‘Lucky Pure Gold’ and Goldsmith Seeds’ rudbeckia ‘Tiger Eye.’
In addition to annuals, perennials were trialed in 2009. Consumers chose Benary’s Physostegia virginiana ‘Crystal Peak White’ as the perennial they were most likely to purchase. ‘Crystal Peak White’ scored high marks in the trials for abundant blooms from mid-July through mid-August. Preliminary results for the perennial trials will be released in late spring, as winter hardiness results are still to be conducted.
After a successful inaugural year, Franklin Park Conservatory is expanding its trials to include vegetables. Entrants in the program will be given a 6-foot x 6-foot trial plot from March through November, giving entrants the opportunity to include a number of warm- and cold-season crops. Varieties will be trialed for vegetative quality, harvest length, disease/pest susceptibility and crop yield on a 1 to 5 scale.
For more Franklin Park Conservatory results, visit its website at FPConservatory.org.