February 4, 2013

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

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 […]

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November 9, 2012

2012 Field Trials Reports: Cornell University

Trial Manager: Melissa Kitchen: mjb239@cornell.edu Trial Location: Ithaca, New York Weather Conditions: April started out fairly normal, but the heat wave began in May. Temperatures kept creeping up all summer, ending with higher than normal temperature for June, July and August. In addition to the heat wave, we didn’t get much rain and we had drought conditions in June and July. The weather started to return to normal in August, and the plants really began to thrive. Average temperatures were 65.3°F, 72.3°F and 68.8°F respectively, for the months of June, July and August. Rain amounts were 1.84″, 1.59″ and 3.58″ respectively, for the months of June, July and August. See graphs below. For full trial results, visit http://www.hort.cornell.edu/bglannuals/index.html Top Performers 1. Hibiscus ‘Mahogany Splendor’ (Proven Winners)2. Pennisetum glaucum ‘Jade Princess’ (Ball Ingenuity)3. Plectranthus ‘Colorblaze Marooned’  (coleus) (Proven Winners) 4. Plectranthus ‘Spumoni’ (coleus) (Proven Winners)5. Cleome ‘Senorita Rosalita’ (Proven Winners)6. Petunia […]

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November 9, 2012

Field Trials Reports: University of Illinois

Trial Manager: C. Diane Anderson, Research and Education Specialist in Landscape Horticulture, cdianea@illinois.edu  Trial Location: Urbana, Illinois Planting Dates: May16 to May 30, 2012 Number And Types Of Entries: 1,071 varieties trialed in 14-inch single-variety containers, 6-foot mixed species containers, rows, and display beds. Both full sun and lath-house trials were conducted. All winners reported below were in full sun. Weather: Extremely hot and dry – longest prolonged drought and excessive heat since 1988 Best In Show Salvia farinacea ‘Sallyfun Blue Emotion’ (display bed) Top Performers Catharanthus roseus ‘Victory Pure White’ (row) Zinnia ×hybrida ‘Profusion Knee-High Red’ (row) Zinnia ×hybrida ‘Profusion Coral Pink’ (row) Zinnia ×hybrida ‘Profusion Yellow’ (display bed)Zinnia marylandica ‘Uptown Pink Champagne’ (row) Salvia farinacea ‘Sallyfun Snow White’ (display bed) Petunia ×hybrida ‘Whispers Star Rose’ (row) Petunia ×hybrida ‘Famous Violet Picotee’ (display bed)Pelargonium interspecific Caliente series (row and 14-inch containers)Torenia fournieri Kauai series (row in full sun)

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November 7, 2012

Getting Results

When great minds think alike, great things happen. The new Plant Trials Database is an example. Launched just last year, the goal is to consolidate information from the many trial gardens across the U.S. in a database that can be easily viewed and analyzed. The brainchild of three industry leaders: Allan Armitage, Greenhouse Grower columnist and professor emeritus of horticulture at the University of Georgia, Diane Blazek, executive director of All-America Selections (AAS) and Timothy Howard, president of Clarity Connect — the development of the database is a solution to a need for consistency and easy access to information on trials results. While not yet available to growers, the database allows breeders and trial managers to quickly see results from multiple trials and evaluate varieties. “I had been wanting to do something where plants trialed in different locations can be easily viewed by anyone — certainly the breeders who pay […]

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November 6, 2012

2012 Field Trials Reports: Colorado State University

Trial Manager: Dr. James E. Klett, Professor and Extension Landscape Horticulture Specialist, Colorado State University, Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, Campus Delivery 1173, Fort Collins, CO 80523-1173, jim.klett@colostate.edu Planting Dates: May 22, 25, and 31, and periodically through June 14. Number of Entries: Approximately 1,100 varieties from twenty companies Weather: Extremely hot and dry with days over 90°F in July, August and into September. Little to no rainfall from early July to mid-September. Many days the temperature reached 100°F. Trial Website: www.flowertrials.colostate.edu Best of Show: Dahlia ‘XXL Hidalgo’(Dümmen USA) This plant brings a unique class to the garden dahlia category and was a standout without special care. The flowers are relatively large and are noted for having a deep, rich “butter-French” color. Flowering started early and continued strong late into the season, complimented by the dark green foliage. This dahlia will add stature and glamour to the typical garden. […]

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November 6, 2012

Best In Show: 2012 Field Trials Results

The plants that came through this season’s trials still looking like winners are truly tough. With record-setting temperatures and drought conditions ranging from mild to severe throughout much of the country, new varieties were thoroughly tested.We asked trial managers from around the country to send us their top performers, as well as the weather conditions during the trial period. Fifteen responded, and the results are shared below. We did not receive results from any trials in the Northeast or Pacific Northwest. While not every new plant was trialed in every garden, a few cultivars made it onto more than one list of best performers. Two coleus, Plectranthus ‘Chocolate Covered Cherry’ and P. ‘ColorBlaze Marooned’ were among these, as well as Calibrachoa ‘Superbells Lemon Slice,’ Evolvulus ‘Blue My Mind’ and Begonia ‘Whopper Red With Green Leaf’ and B. ‘Whopper Red With Bronze Leaf.’ The one perennial that made multiple lists was […]

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November 5, 2012

Field Trials Reports: J.C. Raulston Arboretum

Trial Manager: Bernadette Clark, bernadette_clark@ncsu.edu   Trial Location: J.C. Raulston Arboretum, 4415 Beryl Rd., Raleigh, North Carolina, 27606.  Planting Dates: Our summer annuals were planted on May 1, 2012. Number And Types Of Entries:  This season we had approximately 600 entries (586 to be exact). Our summer, like much of the country, was extremely hot. We experienced long periods of temperatures over 90°F with 10 days at or over 100°F. In the month of July, our average night temperature was 74°F. Periodic heavy rainfall (more than 8 inches in July) has also plagued this season.  Top Performers In-ground Petunia Supertunia seriesPetunia ‘Sweetunia Bordeaux’Euphorbia ‘Diamond Frost’Euphorbia ‘Star Dust White Flash’Lantana ‘Pink Bird’Lantana ‘Lucky Flame Improved’Lantana Bandana seriesLantana Luscious seriesMecardonia ‘Gold Dust’Capsicum ‘Loco’Capsicum ‘NuMex Centennial’Capsicum ‘Chilly Chili’Capsicum ‘Black Pearl’Ipomoea Illusion seriesIpomoea Sweet Caroline seriesPennisetum ‘Sky Rocket’Portulaca ‘Cupcake Yellow Chrome’Angelonia ‘Serenita White’Angelonia ‘Serenita Lavender Pink’ Impatiens ‘Magnum Hot Pink’ (New Guinea) Verbena ‘Superbena Coral Red’ Containers Calibrachoa ‘MiniFamous iGeneration Orange’Calibrachoa ‘Superbells […]

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November 5, 2012

Field Trials Reports: North Dakota State University

Trial Manager: Barb Laschkewitsch, agriculture research specialist/trial garden coordinator, barbara.laschkewitsch@ndsu.edu Trial Location: North Dakota State University Horticulture Demonstration and Research Plots, Fargo, North Dakota Planting Dates: May 21, 22 and 24 Number and type of entries: About 250; 25 shade, 225 full sun; named entries; All-America Selections Display Garden Weather Conditions: Drier and warmer than normal Top Performers Celosia Fresh Look series Angelonia Serena series Supertunia ‘Indigo Charm’ and ‘Sangria Charm’ Capsicum ‘Sangria’ Agastache ‘Raspberry Daquiri’ Ipomoea ‘Blackie,’ ‘Margarita,’ ‘Sweet Caroline Bronze,’ ‘Sweet Caroline Green Yellow’ Pennisetum setaceum ‘Rubrum’) (purple fountain grass) Pennisetum setaceum (fountain grass) Many spreading petunias    

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November 5, 2012

Field Trials Reports: University of Minnesota

Trial manager: Steven R. Poppe, Horticulture Scientist, University of Minnesota, West Central Research and Outreach Center, 46352 State Highway #329, Morris, Minn., 56267, poppesr@morris.umn.edu Planting dates: All trial annuals were planted the week of May 28 and the week of June 4. Number of entries: 487 Weather conditions: The 2012 growing season, (frost-free) was 155 days, (average is 144) with the last spring frost on April 20 and a fall frost on September 23. Rainfall between May 1 and September 26 was 12.63 inches, 3.27 inches below normal. May, June and July had above-normal temperatures, with August being below normal. May through August had 10 days of 90°F or higher temperatures. For full trial results: go to http://wcroc.cfans.umn.edu Top Performers Begonia ‘Whopper Red With Bronze Foliage’Angelonia ‘Serena Blue’Pentas ‘Northern Lights Lavender’Begonia ‘Million Kisses Devotion’Petunia ‘Supertunia Raspberry Blast’Salvia ‘Summer Jewel Red’Diascia ‘Darla Orange’Plectranthus ‘Fuseables Chocolate Symphony’ (coleus)Calibrachoa ‘Million Bells Bouquet Brilliant […]

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November 5, 2012

Field Trials Reports: Louisiana State University Ag Center

Trial Manager: Allen Owings, professor of horticulture, aowings@agcenter.lsu.edu  Trial Location: LSU AgCenter, Hammond Research Station, Hammond, Louisiana  Planting Dates: Mid-March through early May  Number And Types Of Entries: Warm season annuals, roses, ornamental grasses, herbaceous perennials Weather Conditions: Average temperatures along the Gulf Coast for the summer with above average rainfall. Hurricane Isaac occurred in late August. Best In Show Salvia ‘Amistad’ Top Performers  Echinacea ‘Cheyenne Spirit’ Pennisetum ‘Cherry Sparkler’ Begonia ‘BabyWing Bronze With White Foliage’ Salvia Lighthouse series Cleome ‘Senorita Blanca’ Begonia Monza series Cuphea ‘Trend Purple Red’ Plectranthus ‘Chocolate Covered Cherry’ (coleus) Gomphrena Qis series  

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November 5, 2012

Field Trials Reports: Lucas Greenhouses

Trial Manager: Jason Szymanski, jasons@lucasgreenhouses.com Trial Location: Lucas Greenhouses, Monroeville, New Jersey Planting Dates: Week 20 (breeder trials), Week 21 (commercial items). All material was planted from a 26 strip liner to a 14-inch container (5ppp) Number And Type Of Entries: 200+. Our trial mainly is mainly Syngenta varieties. We grow Syngenta’s entire commercially available vegetative line while also incorporating  a few of their seed items. The goal is to add more seed items each year. In addition, we sprinkle in various new introductions from other companies. Weather And Other Notes: We plant the liners (5ppp) into a 14″ container in the early parts of May. These containers stay inside until about the first week of June and then are moved outside to there final spacing. Our spring was warmer and drier than usual which carried over through  the summer. This helped to increase insect pressure. It wasnt until late […]

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November 5, 2012

2012 Field Trials Reports: Dallas Arboretum

Trial Managers: Jimmy Turner, Senior Director of Gardens, 8617 Garland Rd., Dallas, Texas, 75218, jturner@dallasarboretum.org Jenny Wegley, Senior Research and Greenhouse Manager, 8617 Garland Rd., Dallas, Texas, 75218 jwegley@dallasarboretum.org Field Trial location(s): Dallas Arboretum, Dallas, Texas Date planted: Week 19 (May 7 to May11) Number Of Entries: More than 3,300 entries for spring and summer trials) Trial Website: www.dallasplanttrials.org, www.dallasarboretum.org, www.FlameProofPlants.org Weather: We caught a break this year compared to our triple-digit heat of last year. We had no record-setting triple digits this year. Overall, our summer was very pleasant and mild. We did hit over 100°F on several occasions, but nothing like the summer of 2011. The one factor that did do damage to some material was our lower humidity at the peak of our summer. This caused burn and stress on several cultivars. Pest/disease outbreaks:  No signs of disease or pests with these trials.                                         Unusual occurrences: Low percentage […]

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November 5, 2012

2012 Field Trials Reports: University of Georgia

Trial manager: Meg Green, Trial Garden Supervisor, greenplantnerd@gmail.com Trial Location: University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia Planting dates: We began planting in early April, hoping not to have a late frost. We grew the petunias and calibrachoa in containers outside almost upon receiving them in mid-March. We had an early, prolonged spring and were extremely fortunate not to receive a late frost. Number and types of entries: Each year, we trial what our plant sources send us, the best and the newest cultivars of geraniums, petunias, impatiens, begonias, calibrachoa, celosia, caladiums etc. We plant as many of each cultivar as we can, often putting plants in multiple locations. Weather conditions during the trials: The summer of 2012 in Athens, Georgia, was as peculiar as last summer. We had a long, mild spring and a temperate early summer. We were then whammied by weeks of 100°F-plus temperatures. Throughout the summer, we were […]

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November 5, 2012

2012 Field Trials Reports: Costa Farms

Trial manager: Eli McKinney, emckinney@costafarms.com Trial Location: Miami, Florida Planting Dates: November 2011 to June 2012 Number and Types of Entries: 400 varieties from 21 breeders and brokers. Varieties trialed were mostly annuals, but some were perennials and tropical varieties. Weather:                                  Overall temperature: 70°FNight temperature: 65°FDay temperature: 76°FMaximum temperature: 84°FMinimum temperature: 61°FTotal rainfall: 22 inchesOverall PAR: 39 mol/dayHumidity: 80 percent Top PerformersIn alphabetical order Agastache Nectar series (Pacific Plug and Liner)Argyranthemum Beauty Yellow series (Westflowers)Begonia Big series (Benary)Gaillardia ‘Gallo Yellow Improved’ (Aris)Gaillardia Galya series (Danziger)Helichrysum ‘Silver Star’ (Westflowers)Impatiens SunPatiens series (Sakata)Kniphofia ‘Rockette Yellow’ (EuroAmerican Propagators)Mecardonia ‘Magic Carpet Yellow’ (Sakata)Petunia Littletunia series (Ecke)Petunia ‘Ray Rim Purple’ (Danziger)Phlox Phloxy Lady series (Dümmen Red Fox)        

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November 1, 2012

2012 Field Trials Reports: Ball FloraPlant

Trial Manager: Susan Schmitz, sschmitz@ballhort.com Trial Location: West Chicago, Ill. Planting Dates: last week of May, first week of June Number and Types of Varieties: About 4,000 varieties were grown out for the trials this year: annuals, annual combinations, perennials and vegetables. Weather: record-breaking heat (four days over 100°F) and drought in June and July. It was hot in August, but there was some rain. Weather was more typical in September. Top Performers June to September 2012 (In alphabetical order) Alternanthera ‘Little Ruby’: outstanding foliage all summer long. Many comments by guests on great color. Angelonia Serenita series: non-stop color all season. ‘Serenita Raspberry’ is an especially nice color. Begonia Whopper series: excellent landscape begonia — up to my waist in one bed right now, super heat tolerance. Begonia ‘Baby Wing White With Bronze Foliage’:  a great year for begonias. This was another one with terrific landscape performance. Celosia ‘Tornado […]

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June 14, 2012

Marketing Concepts Come Out At Spring Trials

California Spring Trials have come to represent many different things to many different people. Growers may be wowed by mounding habits, consistent peduncles and comparison trials, while others may be interested in new varieties, merchandising ideas and item selections. Then there is me. As the director of marketing for Metrolina Greenhouses, what appeals to me? This year I took a different approach to years past; I stepped back, admired the extensive marketing efforts of the breeders and, ultimately, tried to represent our mutual customer. And this is what I found – breeders are getting really good at merchandising, packaging and telling their stories. Merchandising, POP, And Vignettes From practical to fun, displays were bigger and better than ever before. Several stops are worthy of calling out: Syngenta set the stage for mums, drawing attention with hanging leaves, bold POP and a multi-seasonal story. With the launch of HGTV, Dümmen was […]

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April 3, 2012

California Spring Trials 2012: The Top Stories

California Spring Trials 2012 has wrapped up for our traveling crew of Managing Editor Kevin Yanik, Group Editor Richard Jones and varieties guru and Greenhouse Grower columnist Allan Armitage. So which stories from this week were the most attention getting? Here are the top five Spring Trials stories, based on your clicks. HGTV Collection Looks Like A Home RunThe “G” in HGTV has long been missing, but as Kevin Yanik writes, the brand is positioning itself with the help of Dümmen USA and Agricola Management to better connect with its audience and attract a new generation of gardeners. Armitage’s Day One HighlightsFind out what got Allan Armitage fired up Saturday at Benary, Plug Connection Proven Winners and Suntory Flowers. The Potential Of Ball’s Cool Wave PansyBuckets of rain couldn’t keep GG’s varieties guru from salivating over many of the new genetics introduced while visiting Fides Oro and Ball Horticultural Co. […]

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March 26, 2012

Seed-Plus-Vegetative Combos Now A Possibility

A year ago, when Selecta introduced the Trixi 2.0 method which roots three different species together into one single-stuck multiliner, General Manager Stefan Reiner pointed out that the combo possibilities to come were potentially limitless. This year, Ball Horticultural Company is taking a leap forward with Selecta’s innovation, introducing the first multiliners to feature both seed and vegetative species at the California Spring Trials. The innovation, called Synergy, falls under the relatively new Ball Ingenuity division. “Using the 2.0 technology, we can sow seed in trays, stick cuttings and fuse them into one component,” says Kevin Roethle, the head of Ball Ingenuity. All the combos on display Saturday at Ball were concepts that are still being evaluated, but Roethle says growers can expect selection announcements in June. “We’ve started with 290 combinations,” Roethle says. “We’re trying plants like grasses, violas and some cool-season crops. There are so many different options […]

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March 26, 2012

Allan Armitage’s Spring Trials Day 2 Highlights

Good evening to everyone from rainy California. Day two is complete and I am still feeling like a kid in a candy store. It is so much fun! Without a doubt, the best part of the California Spring Trials continues to be seeing old friends, meeting colleagues and soaking in the enthusiasm at each stop. Soaking aside, lots of things caught my eye today. Fides Oro Fides Oro must have set a record in its ability to integrate the two firms. The number of breeders represented boggles my mind, especially when I think back that the announcement of the merger was only announced a year ago. Walking through the facility was to discover new genetics at every corner.  Some plants that caught my eye were the extraordinary dahlias, the Dahlinova Hypnotica series in particular, as well as the well-ordered choices in hardy mums (Mystic), from very early to late-flowering cultivars, […]

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