Here Come The New Varieties
Allure series. The new alyssum Allure series is very uniform with great color selection for consumers, especially with its pastel mix. The plants are compact with good basal branching. Varieties are grown from seed that is film coated with a fungicide. The series is genetically compact and early flowering, actually slightly earlier flowering than other series currently on the market. The pastel formula mix caught our eye because of the pleasing combination of so many light colors. Allure comes in seven separate colors and a mix. As far as the culture goes, Allure is the same as Easter Bonnet and Wonderland. Kieft Seeds Holland. www.kieftseeds.com
'Angelface Dark Violet'. When it came to this new variety, there was quite a controversy going on with our group at Proven Winners. The commotion was all about whether men or women liked this new, interesting variety. Overall, Proven Winners said that women liked the plant while men didn't (of those coming through the trials).
This angelonia's color is a standout in the industry: 'Angelface Dark Violet' has the darkest blooms in the series, with velvety purple flowers. It is extremely compact with smaller flowers because the dark blooms and foliage absorb heat. Very well branched, this variety can be easily grown in small containers. It will reach up to 2 ft. in the landscape and is similar in habit to 'Angelface Wedgewood Blue'. Dark Violet was bred not to fade and should hold its color spring through summer. Proven Winners. www.provenwinners.com
'Abunda Colossal Lavender'. Within the past few years, bacopa has really been making its way into the industry as a major crop, especially the larger-flowered kind. However, many of those varieties were mostly white. Ball FloraPlant introduced 'Abunda Colossal Lavender', which produces extremely large flowers with a nice lavender color.
This plant has a lot of flower power from spring through autumn, which is enhanced by its slightly more upright habit; this bacopa is not as prostrate or trailing. Abunda varieties have good basal branching and heat tolerance. Lavender works well in 41Ú2-inch containers and 1-qt. programs. The slightly more upright habit of Abunda Colossal varieties is more responsive to Cycocel (chlormequat chloride) than other bacopas and allows for pot-tight production with no tangling. Ball FloraPlant. www.ballfloraplant.com
'Bellfire'. When Selecta introduced begonia 'Bonfire' last year, it was quite a hit among growers. Now the company has added begonia 'Bellfire' to the mix to make it even more exciting in the begonia world.
This new variety has dark foliage with red on the bottom of the leaves and cerise-red flowers. 'Bellfire' grows more upright and is more vigorous than 'Bonfire', but both perform great for consumers. Begonia boliviensis are not easy for growers during winter as they could go dormant if grown too cold or under short days (it is a tuberous begonia). Selecta First Class. www.firstclassplants.com
Aloha series. Calibrachoa has been a great new addition to the industry within the past five plus years. The calibrachoa Aloha series has been bred for a semi-upright habit, which works well in mixed container gardening. However, one of the most exciting parts of the new series is the point-of-purchase material that goes with it and the vibrant blue containers.
Aloha varieties also have very large flowers with bright, clean colors over a large color range. Each calibrachoa in the series was selected heavily against poor pH tolerances for added garden performance. They can be grown much as any standard calibrachoa but have lower growth regulator needs. Dmmen USA. www.dummenusa.com
'Ruby Sensation'. This year, Golden State Bulb Growers announced it was going to make a large push for its callas at retail. The company plans to work closer with retailers to let them know that callas can be used for more than just wedding bouquets. The new calla 'Ruby Sensation' is right on track to make that happen.
It has dark- to medium-pink flowers with a leathery texture. This plant is very floriferous and long lasting; it is very versatile and can be grown in any size pot as well as in some really nice combination plantings. This compact calla has long, thin, maculated leaves that make the variety even more appealing to the consumer. Golden State Bulb Growers. www.goldenstatebulb.com
'Chocolate Mint'. In a trendy combination of colors that is sure to be a hit with consumers, coleus 'Chocolate Mint' features rich, chocolate-colored leaves edged with mint green. Again, you must be thinking "another coleus?" but this is a really modern color combination for this plant. The green accenting on the edges actually looks like each mid-size leaf was hand-stitched with vibrant color.
The upright plants are suited for shady in-ground plantings and large containers. This coleus works well in standard and 306 premium packs and 4- and 6-inch pots with three plants per pot. Plant height is 12-14 inches with a spread of 10-12 inches. PanAmerican Seed. www.panamseed.com
Cutesy mix. We usually don't talk about mixes in new variety coverage, but this mix is an exception. One great aspect of this mix is the colors, White, Rose, Light Pink and Purple, which work really well together to create a showy package. It is an outstanding combination of those colors that just pop when you see the mix. It will make consumers turn their heads as they walk by because of the interesting color combination.
The cosmos Cutesy mix has a terrific compact habit for containers. Cutesy varieties will reach 20-24 inches in the garden. These varieties will work in 6-inch pots and combinations. Bodger Seeds. www.bodger.com
Goldalia series. The dahlias in the Goldalia series really stand out: Unique bloom forms and colorful bicolored flowers are combined on the three colors — Orange, Rose and Scarlet — in the series.
Goldsmith breeding brings compact growth habits and excellent branching with heavy early flowering. These dahlias work alone or in combinations and have good outdoor performance in the landscape or in containers. The outstanding color and bloom pattern are sure to intrigue retailers and put a smile on consumers' faces.
They grow 10-12 inches tall and wide and can finish in 6-7 weeks for a 4-inch pot, 8-9 weeks for a 6-inch pot and 11-12 weeks for a 10- to 12-inch basket. Fischer USA. www.fischerusa.com
'Summer Morning'. Benary introduced the very first pink-flowering delphinium from seed of this type on the market called 'Summer Morning'. The flower color is a very nice, pale pink that complements its lacey green leaves.
A FastraX perennial, it was bred not to require vernalization for flowering and should flower the first year. Hardy to Zones 3-7, 'Summer Morning' fits in well with the rest of the delphinium Summer series and has a compact, uniform habit with more heat tolerance and better branching. It remains compact, reaching only 10-12 inches in height. Ernst Benary of America. www.benary.com
Fandango series. Though there is currently one color in this series (more are in development), the scent has been bred back into the new dianthus interspecific Fandango series. The fragrance actually waxes and wanes at different times of day, making this new introduction a strong seller for retailers.
'Fandango Crimson' has frilly petals and semi-double blooms on tall plants that reach 16-18 inches in the garden. This series is excellent for large container programs; strong branching quickly fills pots. It is Hardy to Zone 9. This dianthus is Fusarium and heat tolerant. Total crop time for Fandango is 16-19 weeks. Goldsmith has already been playing with some interesting point-of-purchase material to go with this series at retail, so look out for this new gem and see what you can do with it. Goldsmith Seeds. www.goldsmithseeds.com
'Garden Spice Pink Bicolor'. Dianthus 'Garden Spice Pink Bicolor' immediately caught the eye of everyone in our group. It is the same genetics that the Garden Spice series has to offer but now this very unique color adds more trendy style for consumers.
Its attractive bicolor is very interesting and different from typical pot carnations. Flowers on the plant start out single and become more double as it grows, which gives the variety an interesting visual effect. The way the plant looks at the different stages of new bloom growths just adds so much interesting dimension to the plant. This vigorous carnation is suitable for pot sizes that are 4 inches and larger. www.fidesnorthamerica.com
Fuchsia push. For the 2008 spring season, Ball FloraPlant added 14 commercially available fuchsia varieties to its lineup, including both trailing and upright varieties. The availability of these fuschia varieties helps round out Ball's product offerings to growers and makes them more of the one-stop shop that the company aims to be. It is interesting to see the direction that FloraPlant is moving when it comes to its plant line. Adding the fuchsia line was a very interesting move for the vegetative company.
Crop times can range from 8-10 weeks for 41Ú2-inch containers to 12-14 weeks for 10- to 12-inch pots or baskets. Ball FloraPlant. www.ballfloraplant.com
Gazania Sunbathers series. When walking through the gardens of Ecke Ranch, the first thing that we were drawn to was the gazania SunBathers series. The plants were so vibrant and colorful that it looked like the sun setting in the west. In fact, the varieties in this series were named after famous beaches, such as Gold Coast and Sunset (more colors are on the way).
With breeding done in Australia, the SunBathers series can be grown cold but takes heat. The series' best feature is the showy, bright flowers that lack a dark eye. The flowers will not close completely at night or on cloudy days like seed gazania. The blooms have a semi-double form. Varieties in this series are best suited for 4-inch, 6-inch and 1-gal. containers. Typical crop timing is 13-17 weeks including time in propagation. Ecke Ranch. www.ecke.com
Belmonte series. For the past several years, Schwartz Nursery has not really had any new introductions to the market; however, this year was different. The company hit the ground running with the new geranium Belmonte series of medium-size zonals that feature dark leaves and uniformity among the varieties. Varieties can be grown in 4- to 6-inch pots and should be pinched once around week four.
Schwartz Nursery is focusing a lot of attention on the United States with this new series, which has not been a major strong suit for them in the past, but Schwartz has worked hard for this and just may make a few people happy with its varieties that come from Israel, which also happens to be a Ralstonia-free country. Schwartz Nursery. www.schwartz-nursery.com
'Moonlight Strawberry Blush'. 'Moonlight Strawberry Blush' was one of the most uniquely colored geraniums we have ever seen. It is a dark-leaf zonal geranium with a great, unique color that is new in the industry. The blooms have white centers surrounded by bright, reddish-pink petals. This variety has a low to medium vigor and performs great in gardens.
A lot of people have been saying during the last few seasons that geraniums are a dime a dozen, but put this variety in the stores and it will grab consumers' attention. It looks great in a combination or just by itself. Try it out for a season and watch your customers eat it up. Selecta First Class. www.firstclassplants.com
Gourmet Geraniums series. The Gourmet Geraniums series from GGG brings the idea of using geraniums as spices in cooking. To help introduce this concept, great merchandising material is available to accompany the varieties. It helps consumers understand that geraniums can look great in their windowsills and taste great in their meals.
The different varieties in the series deliver different tastes when used in the kitchen. Some of the different taste options include nutmeg, orange, hazelnut, peppermint and more. It is a great new way to get kids involved in horticulture. We are working on ways to get the Generation X and Yers into the stores, but what about the generations after that? Try it out. GGG. www.ggg-gruenewald.com
Florist Landscape series. What is the one thing we have been wanting from a gerbera? A great landscape plant with the flower power and colors of the cut gerbera varieties. Now we have one. The gerbera Florist Landscape series is an exciting new product that has been bred from cut-flower-type gerbera and is a tissue culture product. Flowers are produced within 14 weeks from the plug stage. Varieties in this series are continual-flowering types like cut flower plants.
The Landscape series is meant for 8-inch or larger containers or the landscape. Seven colors were introduced this year. It is being promoted as a patio container plant that consumers can enjoy all season long as a plant and as cut flowers in the home. It is bred to continue to push out new flowers all season, and the flowers should have a very nice vase life. Northern Innovators. www.northerninnovators.com
Jambalaya and Shimmer series switch. This year, S&G Flowers introduced two new complete impatiens series that will eventually replace two other series in the company's product offerings. After some good breeding improvements, S&G has determined that these two new series are a better addition to the company's line of impatiens.
Jambalaya will eventually replace Cajun, and Shimmer is an improvement over Impulse. Jambalaya is the variety for high-volume, high-density growers looking for the most efficient production with minimal labor and growth regulator inputs. Plants are more free flowering with a non-stretching habit. The Shimmer series has strong vigor, excellent branching and large flowers. The habit has been brought down a little, and the varieties are a little more compact. S&G Flowers. www.sg-flowers.com
Rockapulco series. This year, Proven Winners introduced a new genus into its product line: Impatiens walleriana Rockapulco series. The neat thing about this series is that it is in the same bloodline as Ball FloraPlant's Fiesta series.
Seven colors are currently available. The double impatiens were bred to bloom freely throughout the spring and summer and reach 10-12 inches in height. Height tolerance keeps the bloom color strong throughout the season. Proven Winners. www.provenwinners.com
Used for the fabulous foliage color, iresine 'Red Heart' is great for combinations and mixed planting. The red variegated leaves grabbed our attention right away with the unique color and pattern on the foliage of this plant. This iresine can be planted in partial shade with full light. It is heat and humidity tolerant and does well in a moist, well-drained soil. There should be no need for growth regulators, but pinch 1-2 times for branching and good shape. It is bred to be easy to root, with a rooting time of 3-4 weeks. Fertilize with 150- to 200-ppm nitrogen. Jaldety Plant Propagation Nursery. www.jaldety.com
'Britney Grand Pink' and 'Britney Grand Red'. Jamesbrittenia varieties are becoming the modern-day bacopas that offer more flower color variety and interest. 'Britney Grand Pink' and 'Britney Grand Red' have large flowers with yellow eyes. Grand Pink has salmon-pink blooms accented with a purple halo, while Grand Red features dark-red flowers surrounded by a Bordeaux halo.
The colors are unique introductions not easily found in other bacopa cultivars. Both plants are very uniform and well branched. 'Britney Grand Pink' has a mounded growth habit, and 'Britney Grand Red' has a mounded/trailing growth habit. Danziger "Dan" Flower Farm. www.danziger.co.il
'Mayon'. The flower color of kalanchoe 'Mayon' is very striking: The blooms are red to light pink with white edges. One of the things that struck us the most about this new variety is that Fides is trying to market it for the holiday market, as the red flowers with the dark-green leaves can be seen as quite festive around the Christmas season. Traditionally, kalanchoes are not typically used for holiday dcor, but this a great new variety to use for the holidays.
Growers should use 4- to 6-inch pots with this vigorous variety. Growers can also play around with it and see what kinds of holiday interest it can bring by potting it up in Christmas holiday containers. Fides North America. www.fidesnorthamerica.com
Lavender push. Who doesn't love the smell of lavender? Not many say they don't, hence the reason Hishtil has been adding new lavenders to its mix for the last several years, and this year has some nice additions. Along with its many herb introductions, Hishtil introduced two new lavenders: Lavandula stoechas 'Alexandra' and Lavandula stoechas 'Avenue'. They both show excellent performance and are homogenous in terms of flower size and overall plant size.
'Alexander' is a more compact, vigorous purple with lighter, abundant flowers. 'Avenue' is taller and long flowering. Crop time for both is 10 weeks outdoors. Plant the varieties between March and June. Use one 'Alexandra' plant per pot and three 'Avenue' plants per pot. The bloom time for both is June through September. Hishtil Nurseries. www.hishtil.com
'Northern Lights Lavender'. Pentas 'Northern Lights Lavender' was bred to perform well in the Northern regions as well as the Southern regions, which is an exciting development for pentas. A hummingbird and butterfly attractant, this pentas has an interesting "self-cleaning" flower structure that ensures contin-uous flowering throughout the summer. Flower clusters are more open and display nicely above the foliage. 'Northern Lights Lavender' has a reduced pH sensitivity and will take pH down to 6.2 (many pentas require at least a 6.5 pH). It is also tolerant of cooler temperatures near 50¡ F. Point-of-purchase materials are available through John Henry. Ernst Benary of America. www.benary.com
Mini-Me series. Not only is this series exciting to Austin Powers fans all over the world, but it is exciting to petunia and calibrachoa fans as well. The new petunia Mini-Me series from Cohen caught our attention for a number of reasons. First, the varieties offer pretty small flowers. However, while the small blooms may resemble calibrachoa flowers, Mini-Me petunias are not cross bred and contain only petunia genetics, meaning you have a calibrachoa-looking flower without the crazy habit and lack of heat tolerance.
The Mini-Me series flowers earlier than calibrachoa and has no pH or water sensitivity. However, the series is not uniform, and flower size varies among the varieties. Plants in the series are very compact and half hanging with small green leaves that compliment the small flowers. Cohen Propagation Nurseries. www.cohennur.co.il
Opera Supreme series. The new petunia Opera Supreme series from American Takii has an extremely low, spreading habit. One plant will easily spread to a 4 ft. diameter. Very floriferous, the eight varieties in the series each produce an abundance of flowers over the entire plant, including the center. The flowers are medium sized and the internodes are short compared to other trailing petunia varieties. This series exhibits less day-length sensitivity than other trailing-type petunias; the varieties require a minimum of 111Ú2 hours to induce flowering. The series includes a 2007 All-America Selections winner, Pink Morn, a great pink with a world of potential. American Takii. www.takii.com
Shock Wave series. A small-flowered, spreading petunia series, Shock Wave varieties are available in shocking pink and lime green packaging. A pink basket also is available, making the whole series even more exciting because you cannot even imagine how attractive these varieties look in this pink basket. Not only is it a great new series, but it is a great case in point that marketing really makes a difference.
The entire line is all about high-voltage color for small spaces. The petite flowers measure 11Ú2-2 inches. The series was bred to bloom in a tight, consistent 4- to 6-day window. Shock Wave petunias are generally 3-5 days earlier than Easy Wave varieties. Shock Wave and Easy Wave varieties can be grown side by side with no changes in culture. Five colors currently are available in the Shock Wave series. PanAmerican Seed. www.panamseed.com
'Black Varnish'. GroLink has always been a different stop during Pack Trials. There has not really been a big new variety push in recent years. However, this year was different. As we were walking through the trial displays, we saw all of these new plants and pseuderanthemum 'Black Varnish' caught our eye.
This uniquely colored plant is shiny and dark with broad leaves that are interesting to look at. The plant is attractive when planted alone or when mixed with other varieties. It grows 10-15 inches tall. Why not check it out? This just may be the next hot ticket item that really strikes consumers' interest. GroLink. www.grolink.com
Cathedral series. One of the really interesting things about the new salvia Cathedral series is that it is 4-6 weeks earlier than seed. Of the three colors in the series, Sky Blue is most unique. It really adds a nice color to the trio and adds some extra pizzazz to the series. This series is an interesting addition from Bodger.
All of the varieties in the series are great for 6-inch containers and the landscape. Growers should deliver one pinch and use a balanced fertilizer or constant feed of 100- to 200-ppm nitrogen. Bodger Botanicals. www.bodger.com
Touran series. Perennials continue to gain in popularity with consumers. With the lack of time they have, consumers want to have items in the garden that will come back each year without a lot of trouble. The seed version of the Saxifraga arendsii is much smaller all around. However, varieties in the Touran series have bigger flowers and a taller, more upright form. The four colors in the series — Deep Red, Neon Rose, Scarlet and White — are very interesting and should catch consumers' attention at retail. There is a lot of appeal with this new variety and even more consumer potential. S&G Flowers. www.sg-flowers.com
Surdiva series. Already generating a lot of interest from some of the larger growers, the new scaevola Surdiva series from the Suntory Collection has a great compact habit, which is fairly unusual for scaevola. This new series also has some very interesting scaevola colors. While Light Blue is the most leggy, all the varieties can be controlled and produced in small pots. No plant growth regulators or pinching are required. The 1-inch flowers are fan shaped with nice colors. All of the varieties are heat tolerant and will continue to deliver continuous color throughout summer's heat. Suntory Collection. www.surfinia.com
'Lanai Purple Star'. 'Lanai Purple Star' was one of the most talked about new varieties in the Fischer mix. As a matter of fact, it was one of the most talked about new varieties up and down the California coast. This variety is a purple-and-white bicolor verbena with large, striking blooms that are sure to grab consumers' attention.
It flowers with a unique bicolored pattern that has a little bit of reverting every once in a while that Fischer is currently working on. The variety also exhibits the same powdery mildew resistance as other Lanai varieties. It has a pronounced upright growth habit and the ability to perform outside. With medium growth vigor, Lanai varieties reach a garden height of 6-12 inches with a width of 20-24 inches and are hardy to Zone 10. Fischer USA. www.fischerusa.com
Cobra series. Within the last several years, Floranova has been hitting a number of home runs with its vinca introductions. Bred specifically for pack use, the new vinca Cobra series is compact and mounding, which is different from its counterparts in the vinca family like Viper. Even though the varieties are compact, they still will perform well in the landscape.
The series shares many key characteristics ç with Vitnesse and Viper vincas, such as large flowers, good branching and disease tolerance. Cobra varieties also can perform well in sub-optimal conditions, such as too much or too little light, heat or humidity. Five colors are currently available. Floranova. www.flora nova.co.uk
Cora series. A few years ago, Fischer introduced the aerial Phytophthora-resistant Nirvana series to the market and made a lot of growers happy. Now Goldsmith is offering the new Cora series with the same resistance but in a seed version. Varieties in the Cora series have nice, big flowers and thick, glossy foliage. They come from the same genetic background as the Goldfisch Nirvana series and have disease resistance to aerial Phytophthora. One thing to keep in mind is that Cora is a new and exciting variety intro but Nirvana still holds the market on color and habit options for this resistant vinca.
The high seeding standards associated with this series help reduce instances of double sowing. The six Cora colors and a mix remain strong and beautiful in the garden; more colors will be available in the future. These vinca are good for 4-inch containers and will reach 14-16 inches tall in the garden with a width of 22-25 inches. Goldsmith Seeds. www.goldsmithseeds.com
Viola Velocity series. When we were at Ecke Ranch, these new varieties were the first thing that grabbed our attention. They are not just violas; they are huge flowering violas, and that fact alone is what makes them so unique.
The viola Velocity series features huge flowers that bloom all summer long; the flowers get slightly smaller during the summer months but are still quite sizable. Five colors are currently available in the series, which is unique because of its tolerance of high light and heat. They will continue to perform for consumers from spring until frost. Crop time varies from six to 10 weeks depending on container size. Velocity varieties excel in full sun applications and will thrive in a range of high temperature, humidity conditions. Ecke Ranch. www.ecke.com