Dr. A’s Day Four Top Varieties for CAST 2017

Petunia ‘Potunia Starfish’ (Dümmen Orange)

I apologize again, for yet another petunia. But they keep caressing, or perhaps I should say assailing, my senses. The Potunia series has always been a favorite with growers and consumers, and this new color would not let me go. The flower colors were clean, the pattern was consistent, and the plants sufficiently well branched to fill most containers.


New Guinea Impatiens: Wild Romance Series (Dümmen Orange)

I was excited and hesitant in the same breath when I looked upon and heard about this new series. I am excited because Dümmen told me these plants would tolerate the same shade as bedding impatiens, thus filling in that still empty space vacated due to downy mildew. Color in the shade, welcome back. I am hesitant to get too excited because —  well —  I have not seen them perform anywhere. However, they are certainly worth a trial and a look, and then we can buy full bore.

Perennial Combos (Dümmen Orange)

The search for perennial combinations that will flower for a long period of time and play well with each other continues. The team at Dümmen has made some big strides in this area. It has fashioned some excellent combos using plants like coreopsis, salvia, Shasta daisies, gaillardia, and other tested cultivars that branch well and continue flowering for much of the season. Growers can make many different combinations (assembly instructions included) with plants from the mixed combo plant list — all component parts are said to work well together. This will be an important greenhouse component. You might want to give some a try.

Scabiosa (Hishtil)

‘Kudo White’ is the companion to ‘Kudo Pink,’ whichwas one of the finest scabiosas I saw last year. This is the best white I have seen, and although it has yet to prove its performance, it caught my eye as a perennial worth trialing.

Begonia Nautilus Series (Terra Nova Nurseries)

When I first viewed the Nautilus series, I just loved the spiral shape of the foliage, to say nothing of the amazing colors. Then someone said, “They are a little big, aren’t they?” I broke! I am officially rebelling against more “short and compact.” I have heard that term so many times, I feel I am shrinking. Yes, these are robust, and some growers may have second thoughts, but they are so colorful and functional that I recommend them without hesitation. There are five colors, and only the Nautilus Supreme is thug-like. Of course, it is my favorite.

Begonia Summerwings Elegance Series (Kientzler)

Hanging begonias are really the rage this year. Nearly all the breeders on this trip have a line of truly handsome pendulous begonias. There is room for many more, and they will come. I was very impressed with the three colors of Summerwings Elegance (Pink is my favorite) because of the dozens of breaks resulting in hundreds of blooms above the foliage. Plants are relatively easy to grow and should be gobbled up by growers and consumers.