Editor’s Note: Dr. Allan Armitage shares his top picks from the breeders who presented new varieties at the GroLink location in Oxnard, CA, and the Windmill Nursery location in Buellton, CA, during the 2016 California Spring Trials.
Gerbera ‘Sweet Caroline’ (Florist Holland)
Every year I am so impressed with the Garvinea gerberas from Florist. They have proven their ability to stand up to the rigors of winter, are available in more than a dozen colors, and may be used alone or in combination containers. The flower color and size of ‘Sweet Caroline’ are outstanding, and this is already enjoying robust sales.
Begonia ‘Revelation Maroon’ (Terra Nova)
Learning more about the diversity of plants offered by some of our best-known companies is always a treat. Walking into Terra Nova, I was ready for Echinacea and Heuchera, but was instead blown away by begonia and coleus. Terra Nova has been breeding begonias for many years, so it should come as no surprise that their pendulous hanging basket form would stop everyone in their tracks. The lustrous maroon foliage dripping from the basket was superb.
Dahlia Painter Series (PlantHaven)
Four colors of large-flowered dahlias were unveiled at PlantHaven. The Painter series consists of multi-tone flowers in red, pink, rustic orange (the most handsome), and a cerise. There is no doubt this series will do well, and might also lend itself to late summer/fall sales.
Calendula Power Daisy (Kientzler)
Kientzler showed off a pendulous form of an old friend. The popularity of calendula has faded in the last 10 years and few companies are working on commercially viable selections. The habit of this basket form is quite striking, and is covered with large yellow flowers.
Dicentra ‘Amour Pink’ (Terra Nova)
I really like this diminutive hybrid dicentra. The flowers are a pink shade and bloom primarily in early spring. However, it is the bluish foliage that really catches your eye. The people at Terra Nova are excited about its persistent flowering and the fact the blue tinge remains cool all summer.
Coleus ‘Marrakesh’ (Terra Nova)
Along with begonias, Terra Nova has been working on coleus for years. I love some of their dwarf forms, especially ‘Marrakesh.’ It can be grown in full sun but is far prettier when grown in the shade.