2017 Texas A&M University Field Trial Results

The Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center in Overton, TX, trials more than 500 variety entries of more than 70 species. Most are annual bedding plant species, but a significant number of herbaceous perennials are also included. Here’s the report on the 2017 field trial season from Texas A&M University professor and trial manager Brent Pemberton.

Planting Dates: Trials were planted in the field starting in late April for crops like trailing petunias and through late May for crops like vinca.


Weather Conditions:  Conditions were seasonably cool with good rain through May. June was seasonably warm with fairly regular rain. July and early August were seasonably hot, but not extreme. Rainfall was higher than usual and regularly distributed during the month. The latter part of August had mild but warm temperatures with reasonably high rainfall continuing. Early September was mild temperature-wise, but was dry with hot temperatures returning in the middle of the month. Weather details can be found at http://etweather.tamu.edu/datatable/ .

Best of Show (in alphabetical order):

  1. Canna ‘Cannova Orange’ and ‘Mango’ (Ball Ingenuity)
  2. Canna ‘Toucan Dark Orange’ (Proven Winners)
  3. Coreopsis Uptick Series (Darwin Perennials)
  4. Lantana ‘Havana Sunshine’ (Dümmen Orange)
  5. Salvia ‘Mystic Spires Blue Improved’ (Ball FloraPlant)
  6. Salvia ‘Playin’ the Blues Improved’ (Proven Winners)

Top Performing Varieties (in alphabetical order):

  1. Alternanthera ‘Purple Prince’ (PanAmerican Seed)
  2. Begonia Jurassic Series in containers (Ball Ingenuity)
  3. Carex ‘Feather Falls’ (Pacific Plug and Liner)
  4. Caladiums (Fancy Leaf) ‘Creamsickle,’ ‘Lemon Blush,’ ‘Moonlight,’ and ‘Radiance’ (Abbott-Ipco)
  5. Caladiums (Strap Leaf) ‘Chinook’ and ‘Gingerland’ (Abbott-Ipco)
  6. Canna ‘Cannova Red’ (Ball Ingenuity)
  7. Canna ‘Toucan Rose’ (Proven Winners)
  8. Coleus ‘Flame Thrower Spiced Curry’ and ‘Salsa Verde’ (Ball FloraPlant)
  9. Cuphea ‘Floriglory Diana’ (Dümmen Orange)
  10. Geranium ‘Mary Helen’
  11. Hypoestes ‘Hypnotic Rose’ (Proven Winners)
  12. Impatiens, New Guinea Sunstanding Series (Dümmen Orange)
  13. Ipomea ‘Flora Mia Limon’ (Dümmen Orange)
  14. Lantana ‘Havana Sunrise’ and ‘Havana Sunset’ (Dümmen Orange)
  15. Lantana ‘Luscious Royale Cosmo’ (Proven Winners)
  16. Melinis ‘Savannah’ (Benary)
  17. Pentas ‘Lucky Star Deep Pink’ (PanAmerican Seed)
  18. Pentas ‘Pink Remembrance’
  19. Pepper ‘Mad Hatter’ (PanAmerican Seed)
  20. Pepper, Ornamental ‘Midnight Fire’ in containers (PanAmerican Seed)
  21. Salvia ‘Rockin’ Deep Purple’ (Proven Winners)
  22. Scaevola ‘Scala Blue Shades’ (Dümmen Orange)
  23. Thunbergia ‘A-Peel Lemon’ (Proven Winners)
  24. Verbena ‘Empress Sun Red’ (Dümmen Orange)
  25. Verbena ‘Imagination’ (Benary)
  26. Vinca Experimental colors (Floranova)
  27. Vinca Valiant Series (PanAmerican Seed)

Some tried and true also looked good such as Cora Series Vinca (Syngenta Flowers), the Big (Benary) and Whopper (Ball Seed) series of begonias in shade, pepper ‘Basket of Fire’ (Floranova/Vegetalis), Petunia ‘Tidal Wave Silver’ (PanAmerican), Petunia ‘Supertunia Vista Bubble Gum’ (Proven Winners), New Guinea Impatiens SunPatiens Series (11 colors – Sakata), and the Zinnia Zahara Series (11 colors – PanAmerican Seed).

Consumer Favorites

People’s Picks Awards 2017: These were chosen at the June 29 Field Day at the Overton Center.  Below are the selections which received 10 or more votes.  See http://flowers.tamu.edu/peoples-picks/ for the complete vote count including counts by gender.

30 votes: Salvia ‘Mystic Spires Blue Improved’ (Ball FloraPlant)
26 votes: Begonia ‘Jurassic Watermelon’ (Ball)
26 votes: Lantana ‘Luscious Royale Cosmo’ (Proven Winners)
26 votes: Ptilotus ‘Joey’ (Benary)
24 votes: Pride of Barbados
22 votes: Begonia ‘Jurassic Silver Swirl’ (Ball)
22 votes: Lantana ‘Havana Sunrise’ (Dümmen Orange)
21 votes: Rudbeckia ‘Denver Daisy’ (Benary)
21 votes: Thunbergia ‘A-Peel Lemon’ (Proven Winners)
17 votes: Verbena ‘Superbena Stormburst’ (Proven Winners)
15 votes: Caladiums ‘Creamsickle’ (Abbott-Ipco)
14 votes: Dutchman’s Pipe
14 votes: Melinis nerviglumis ‘Savannah’ (Benary)
14 votes: Zinna elegans ‘Magellan Scarlet’ (Syngenta Flowers)
13 votes: Salvia ‘Rockin’ Deep Purple’ (Proven Winners)
12 votes: Impatiens, New Guinea ‘SunPatiens Spreading Tropical Orange’ (Sakata Ornametals)
12 votes: Iris ‘Harvest of Memories’
12 votes: Scaevola ‘Scala White 2017’ (Dümmen Orange)
11 votes: Canna ‘Cannova Rose’ (Ball)
11 votes: Petunia ‘ColorRush Blue’ (Ball FloraPlant)