Speedling, Inc. hosted Hem Genetics, Thompson & Morgan, ABZ Seeds, Plant Source International, and Vista Farms For California Spring Trials 2016. Here are some of the highlights of the trial.
Well-known for its naturally compact, spreading, large-flowered petunias including the Limbo and the Mambo series, Hem Genetics delighted again this year with new colors in both, including Mid Blue and Orchid Veined in Mambo GP (garden performance) and Burgundy, Mid Blue and Sky Blue in Limbo GP.
The combination of the two Petunia grandiflora varieties Limbo GP Violet and Rose is a mix in honor of Disney horticultural guru Heather Will-Brown. The mixture is named as a tribute for her 45 years of passion in promoting horticulture and gardening, at Disney World and as a judge for All-America Selections.
Hem Genetics has a new series of very large-flowered gazania in the Enorma series, with an upright and vigorous-but-controlled habit, strong flower stems, and uniform flowering. There are six colors and a full mixture.
The Solar Avalanche vinca series is a trailing vinca F1 hybrid in seven colors and a mix. It’s compact and well-branched, and ideal for hanging baskets, or other trailing or ground cover applications.
Thompson & Morgan
The breeders behind Ketchup ’n Fries have a new treat in store with Egg and Chips. The latest development in dual cropping vegetable plants, Thompson & Morgan has hand-grafted an Aubergine eggplant onto a heavy-cropping potato plant. While we didn’t get to see it in person, the photo in the catalog looks like an exciting introduction. Meanwhile, there are more experiments in the pipeline, so stay tuned.
The Cupcake bidens series and the isotoma Fizz ’n Pop series are both being marketed through PlantHaven and are nice new offerings from Thompson & Morgan, as is the new Midnight color in the compact Buzz buddleia series, available through Cultivaris.
Other intros include the next generation of Cupcake cosmos, a double-petaled white variety. More colors are coming, including a dark pink-purple, and a pink variety. Cosmos ‘Lemonade’ is a new experimental variety, with seed crops in production for a release next year.
A new series of Frou Frou violas in five colors is also new for next year. The Orchid Cream nasturtium has captivated visitors, as well, with its bicolor blooms in buttery yellow and deep burgundy.
Delizz Strawberry is an All-America Selections (AAS) winner for ABZ Seeds, and it also happens to be the very first strawberry that’s ever received an AAS award, says Adri Gillissen. The variety has large, well-shaped fruit produced on strong stems, keeping the fruit upright-facing to start, which helps with sales at retail. The berries are very sweet and the plants are compact, and the fruit set is uniform with very little pollination required.
ABZ Seeds has developed packaging as a retail concept and reception has been very good, with all of the major young plant producers, Gillissen says, including Raker, Wagner, Pacific Plug & Liner, Gro n’ Sell, and Knox Nursery all ready to produce. There’s also a list of brokers who are selling this variety on the ABZ website.
Plant Source International
Based in Minnesota, Plant Source International (PSI) is one of the only domestic cuttings producers for the U.S. market. The grower has ongoing relationships with many breeders, including with Westhoff Flowers, and is picking up a selection of new Westflowers varieties. Owner Troy Lucht says he’s also working with Terra Nova Nurseries on its coleus, and the company recently began producing Ipomoea ‘Kelly Ray,’ which was in the Hort Couture line but has recently been made available to the open market.
Still, about half of the varieties PSI produces are open market, including a selection of novelty geraniums that growers can’t get in many places, as well as herbs, scented geraniums, coleus, and some unique things like popcorn plant.
Lucht’s family also owns Malmborg’s Garden Center in Minnesota, so he has a unique perspective on what consumers want and what the industry can offer, based on his experience in young plants, greenhouse production, and retail.
A specialty producer, this operation is a source for bougainvillea liners, based in Juana Diaz, Puerto Rico. VF Ruby and VF Fire Opal are the latest introductions from Vista Farms. They’re free-flowering with brightly colored bracts, and they’re compact but vigorous with an open trailing habit. Foliage is glossy olive green, and they are good companion plants for Bougainvillea ‘Flame.’