Allan Armitage’s Favorite Plants From Proven Winners, Syngenta And Danziger

Allan Armitage’s Favorite Plants From Proven Winners, Syngenta And Danziger

Between visiting California Spring Trial giants like Proven Winners, Syngenta and Danziger, Allan Armitage saw a lot of great plants in one day. Despite the size of the challenge, Dr. Armitage finds a few favorites he thinks you should try.

Proven Winners


As always, a potpourri of excellent breeding was on display. I found myself, reluctantly, coming back to the ‘Holy Moly’ calibrachoa.  Reluctantly, because there are already so many, it is hard to recommend another. It did stand out for me.

The Hello! series of gerberas sported vibrant colors. ‘Hello Pumpkin’ was my favorite, on strong stems. They were touted as persistent flowerers and extraordinarily weather tolerant. They were handsome. Time will tell the performance story, but I have sufficient confidence to include them here.

Proven Winners’ dwarf non-seed-spewing Verbena bonariensis, called ‘Meteor Showers’ was promised to be a branching short form of this very favorite plant. The offerings so far have seeded around way too much, thus are difficult to love. However, if this does not, and is truly dwarf, this will be a big winner.

Proven Winners is also introducing a bidens, this one a bright orange mango colored form, called ‘Campfire Fireplace.’ It is taller than most, but strong enough that it will not fall over. This is a very eye-catching color.


This was one of the finest displays in the entire journey. The area was airy and open and Syngenta’s offerings were displayed with creativity and taste.

I loved the trend to simplification, shown by the introduction of the Tritunia series of petunias. The best of three different series of grandiflora petunias have been combined into one. This is good news for everyone. I hope the rest of the breeders take heed. Simplification is good, clutter is bad.

I was pleased that combination baskets touting heat tolerance had plants that actually tolerate heat in Southern and Gulf climes. No lobelias and lobularias; rather nice mixes featuring scaevola, lantana, angelonia and other proven heat lovers. I love honesty in advertising.

I was also pleased to see the efforts in collecting data on vegetable performance in the container versus the ground. It turns out there is very little – and it’s information that will be most helpful to retailers and consumers.


Danziger has many new introductions. Its new scabiosa sported large, exquisite rosy-red flowers. One of the best perennials surfaced at Danziger – coreopsis ‘Solanna Glow.’ This is an excellent series and this variety should help maintain its excellence.

Danziger’s new ‘Vanessa Dark Pink’ verbena was lovely as was the Grace series of gaura, with two excellent colors and good habit.

However, what I was most pleased to see was a combination basket called Reese, consisting of lavender and light purple flowers. It was a wonderful remembrance of our friend, Reese Kiikka, who passed away suddenly a little over a year ago. He was a wonderful, caring person, and I am happy to see him honored this way. It was a nice tribute and a very handsome, sale-able combination basket.