While many breeders prefer to stick to the industry standards and improve their existing pink petunias, purple pansies and red geraniums, many breeders are branching out and finding ways to differentiate themselves from others. I think they're also paying attention to younger consumers and homeowners.
As a young consumer myself, and from conversations I've had with my peers, I can confidently say we all like to decorate our homes with new and unusual items. So when it comes to gardening, I want my front yard to stand out from my neighbors. The easy and inexpensive way to do that is to use plants my neighbors don't have.
Each year, when I go through the California Spring Trials, I enjoy discovering new and unique varieties — color combinations and shapes I haven't seen before. I start envisioning what my garden would look like with these new, novel varieties.
Last year, I fell in love with the wild Under the Sea coleus from Hort Couture because of it's unusual coral-like appearance. Another variety that stole my attention was Proven Winners' calibrachoa 'Cherry Star' with its striking bicolor pattern. From what I've heard, both crops have been very successful in their first year.
And at the 2012 Spring Trials, I saw more novel variety introductions than ever before. I'm happy the trend is catching on, and breeders are encouraging growers to add these fun and distinctive varieties to their production. Here are some of my favorite unique new introductions from the 2012 Spring Trials.
Coleus 'Stained Glassworks Luminesce' (Ecke Ranch)
Calibrachoa 'Superbells Lemon Slice' (Proven Winners)
Petunia 'Crazytunia Cherry Cheesecake' (Westflowers)
Petunia 'Glamouflage Grape' (Hort Couture)
Streptocarpus 'Ladyslippers Pink Cream' (experimental) (Green Fuse Botanicals)
Impatiens 'Patchwork Cosmic Orange' (Ball FloraPlant)
Chyrsanthemum 'Mystic Mums Eventide Coral' (Fides Oro)
Osteospermum 'Summertime Sweet Blue Sunrise' (Dümmen USA)
Verbena 'Lanai Vintage Rose' (Syngenta Flowers)
What do you think of these new varieties? Will you be adding any of them to your production? Are there any other novel varieties you saw at the Spring Trials that are missing from my list? Let me know! Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org .