Vaughn Fletcher with McHutchison Horticultural Distributors is part of Greenhouse Grower‘s Medal Of Excellence For Industry’s Choice Panel. Fletcher recounts some of the standout varieties he saw while visiting Suntory Flowers and Westhoff during California Spring Trials.
Petunia ‘Surfinia Summer Double Salmon’
This is a strong color addition to the three in the program. It appears to manifest the same qualities as the series: floriferousness, vigor, stable flower color, non-fading and great summer performance. I observed this variety at the Costa Farms trial the last week of March and all the attributes listed were manifest. It’s the best double series in the industry.
Bidens Beedance Series
There are two new colors in the series for 2016: Painted Red and Red Stripe. Red Stripe is more compact with very dark-green foliage and offered a better presentation in the 4.5-inch container than Painted Red; however, Painted Red exhibited darker foliage, a more vigorous growth habit, and the bicolor flower was more stunning than Red Stripe. This will make a great series for mixed containers. The mixed combo container with Red Stripe was an eye catcher.
Catharanthus Soiree Kawaii Series
There are five colors in the series. It has a very compact growth habit; however, the Double White exhibits the most vigor, and Coral with the white eye is the most striking, with a controlled, rounded growth habit. The series has application for 4 to 4.5-inch containers and mixed container production for full sun locations. This will be an excellent late spring to early summer program.
Westflower’s is introducing designer mixes for 2016 available in URC and liner form and the top five included: Aperitif, Leading Lady, Sunset Strip, Coat Azure and Cute as a Button.
It also has three Petunia classes including the Crazytunia, Perfectunia and Hell’s.
Crazytunia is a collection of unstable, crazy patterned colors that are great for mixed containers, and for 2016 Westflowers is introducing Blackberry Cheesecake, Knight Rider Improved, Swiss Dancer, Lucky Lilac and Pink Frills. There are enough new varieties to create some great designs.
The Hell’s series is comprised of three colors, including Glow, Fruit Punch and Orange. This is a uniform day-length-neutral series with vibrant, eye catching colors. The series has demonstrated heat tolerance and color stability in southern trials this season.
Last but not least, we have the Perfectunia series, a day-length-neutral series, compact in early stages and good in high density production. New colors include Fiesta Red, Magic Morn with a strong yellow eye, Lavender, Indigo, Mandarin and Amarena.
Lobelia ‘Hot Snow White’
‘Hot Waterblue’ lobelia has been one of the most outstanding garden performers. The new counterpart is Snow White with its uniform, floriferous and a pure white flower. It is great in quart and mixed container production.
Verbena Hurricane Series
Westhoff introduced one bicolor last season and for 2016 it adds three more to compete with the Twister and Wicked series. The Hurricane series has a great mounding habit with vibrant contrasting flowers.