Presenting the Best in Show Varieties from Farwest 2018

Hibiscus 'Summerific Cherry Choco Latte' from Farwest 2018A panel of judges selected Hibiscus ‘Summerific Cherry Choco Latte’ as the Best in Show winner at the 2018 Farwest Show New Varieties Showcase.

‘Cherry Choco Latte’ was just one of 60 outstanding new selections on display at the 2018 Farwest Show in Portland, OR, and available from at least one show exhibitor.


“Farwest consistently displays the best new selections the horticulture industry has to offer, and our 2018 show is no different,” says Show Director Allan Niemi of the Oregon Association of Nurseries.

‘Cherry Choco Latte’ was introduced by Walters Gardens Inc. and is available from Walla Walla Nursery Co. Inc. It is a brand-new, long-blooming hibiscus with a smaller size that is more suitable for tighter spaces. Very large, 8- to 9-inch, three-dimensional flowers are white with intense deep-pink veining and a notably large red eye. Attractive dark olive-green foliage has bronze highlights and forms a compact clump, with flowers covering the entire habit later in the season. It is best in full sun but tolerates part shade, needs average to consistent moisture, is deer resistant, attracts hummingbirds, and is a native hybrid.

In addition to the Best of Show award, three Awards of Merit were given by the judges:

• ‘Urban Sunset’ Maple (Acer truncatum × platanoides) — Selected by Keith Warren from the maple breeding program of J. Frank Schmidt & Son Co., ‘Urban Sunset’ is a heat- and drought-tolerant tree with dark-green leaves that explode with bright, long-lasting, red-to-deep-red tones in autumn. A great fit for urban landscapes, this vigorous and upright growing tree calipers well as it develops a uniformly branched canopy with minimal pruning. Compact and narrow, ‘Urban Sunset’ develops an ideal street tree form and produces very few seeds. Selected as an outstanding performer from the breeder’s 30-plus-year effort to combine the best characteristics of Asian and European maple species, its handsome pest- and disease-resistant foliage is glossy and tatter resistant. ‘Urban Sunset’ is compact and upright, with a stronger central leader than other Acer truncatum × A. platanoides hybrids, with handsome summer foliage. It produces fewer seeds and has deeper red, long-lasting fall color. It is hardy to Zone 4b.

• ‘Summer Wine Black’ Ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius) was bred by Tim Wood at Spring Meadow Nursery in Grand Haven, MI, and introduced by Spring Meadow Nursery and Proven Winners. Available in 1- to 3-gallon containers, its dark purple-black foliage, the darkest of any ninebark, gives ‘Summer Wine Black’ a dramatic presence in the landscape. With its semi dwarf, compact habit, and disease-resistant foliage, it offers outstanding potential for landscapers and homeowners alike. ‘Summer Wine Black’ can be planted in full sun and used for mixed borders, hedges, specimens, and foundation plantings. It is disease resistant, with a compact habit and pink spring flowers. It is adaptable to most well-drained soils and tolerates drought once established. This plant is best left unpruned, but it can be pruned after blooming if needed. It is hardy down to -40°F in Zones 3 to 7.

Hibiscus ‘Summerific Holy Grail’ — The creators called this hardy hibiscus the holy grail from its inception because they knew they had something special. Introduced by Walters Gardens Inc. and available from Walla Walla Nursery Co., ‘Summerific Holy Grail’ has dark, near-black foliage of beautiful, oval-shaped leaves. Rich, deep-red flowers are enormous at 8 to 9 inches across. The red and black colors perfectly complement each other. It is best in full sun but tolerates part shade.

All of the New Varieties Showcase selections are viewable here.