Mark your calendars! There are three trials coming up that could give you a better idea of which varieties to grow in your greenhouse operation next year.
First up, Syngenta Flowers will show its recently acquired Yoder mums in a natural season trial from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 24 at Lucas Greenhouses  in Monroeville, N.J. The event will include an opportunity to meet with technical staff about mum production best practices, presentations on preventing chrysanthemum white rust and a showcase of new introductions — garden mum breeder Mark Smith on hand to discuss how they fit into existing mum programs. Registration for this event begins at 7 a.m. with a continental breakfast, and lunch will be served from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. To RSVP for the event, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org  or call (800) 344-7862 by Sept. 10. For directions to the trial site, click here . Visit Syngenta's website  for more information.
In November, N.G. Heimos Greenhouses and Millstadt Young Plants will host a comparison trial of more than 100 poinsettias from Syngenta, Ecke, Dümmen and Ball/Selecta. The company, located in Millstadt, Ill. — just outside St. Louis, Mo. — will hold this open house event from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday and Friday, Nov. 19 and 20. Appointments are available. There also will be a PGR trial and cold trial. Refreshments will be provided. For details on the trials or lodging during your stay, contact Susie Hines by e-mail  or call (618) 476-7200 ext. 106. Visit N.G. Heimos' website  for more information.
Finally, it's nearly time again for the National Poinsettia Trials , a collaboration of the research and trialing efforts of three universities (University of Florida, North Carolina State University and Purdue University), one commercial site (Homewood Nursery, Raleigh, N.C.) and five commercial breeders (Paul Ecke Ranch, Dümmen, GroLink, Selecta First Class and Syngenta Flowers). Homewood Nurseries' open house will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., and NCSU's open house will be from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 2, in Raleigh, N.C.; Purdue University will open its doors from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, Dec. 4 in West Lafayette, Ind.; and the University of Florida will welcome trial attendees from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 8, in Gainesville, Fla.
Commercially evaluating a cultivar can take to two to three years and uses bench space that could be devoted to known best sellers. That is where the poinsettia trials come in. The trial sites have all the latest cultivars on the bench — and, in some cases, under indoor lighting — ready for growers to judge. And the trials' diverse locations allow growers in all parts of the United States to identify the varieties that work best for them. Each site will have other poinsettia research projects on display, including cold finishing, sustainable trials, PGRs and novel container combinations.
This year, there will be a live webcam to show how the trials are progressing at Purdue; you can check it out here  (click "Virtual Greenhouse Tour" then login). For more information on the upcoming trials, stay tuned to future issues of GPN magazine and GPN Weekly.
Details about these events and more are available on GPN's online calendar of events .