The annual Overton Horticultural Bedding Plant Trials and Field Day in Texas drew about 150 growers, breeders and gardeners this year who viewed more than 500 bedding plant varieties. And because Texas constitutes an increasing market for new bedding plant varieties, seed companies flocked to Overton to test the strength of their varieties.
Goldsmith Seeds, for example, enter numerous varieties, including vinca lines resistant to aerial phytophthora. Goldsmith sends trials to about a dozen universities around the country each year, but Don Snow, the company’s technical product manager, prefers these particular trials.
“The trial is really important to us,” he says, “because when it performs well here and it performs well in Dallas, then we have the confidence to go to customers down here and say, ‘This will work for you.”
Wayne Pianta, a technical product representative at Ball Horticultural Company, agrees.
“Everyone comes here, because this is one of the most highly regarded bedding plant trials in the United States,” he says.
The very first field day 14 years ago featured less than 100 varieties. The event has grown substantially since, and it now includes vinca, ornamental peppers, trailing petunias, verbenas, begonias, portulaca, zinnias, geraniums and ageratum.