After perusing all the breeders' Spring Trials literature and catalogs and walking the Cultivate'14 trade show floor, one trend stands out: landscape performance. It seems that all members of the industry — whether they be growers, breeders, retailers or brokers, etc. — want to connect with the landscape segment. That's no shock as homeowners are certainly investing in their outdoor spaces.
I spoke with one local landscape contractor over the weekend, and he said this has been his busiest season in recent years. And he's getting business from all demographics — even those young, first-time homeowners that our industry so desperately wants to reach! So that was music to my ears.
Are you looking to add more landscape performers to your production? If so, here are some new varieties bred specifically for the landscape:
Petunia 'Blanket Red' (Green Fuse Botanicals)
Well known for their vigor and weather tolerance, Blanket petunias are also renown for landscape performance in all regions. Red is one of three new colors introduced and is early to flower with slightly larger flowers.
Lantana 'Landscape Bandana Gold' (Syngenta Flowers)
This series of lantana features a spreading habit making it ideal for landscapes. An added benefit, Landscape Bandana is part of the Heat Lovers collection because of its performance in hot summer conditions.
Impatiens 'Big Bounce Lavender' (Selecta)
Resistant to Impatiens Downy Mildew, this interspecific crop has the same habit and flower count as Impatiens walleriana. Thriving in both sun and shade, it bounces back after wilt.
Petunia 'African Sunset' (American Takii)
A 2014 All-America Selections winner, 'African Sunset' has an excellent mounding habit, high flower count and strong petals. It is more compact than other orange-hued petunias.
Impatiens 'SunPatiens Compact Royal Magenta' (Sakata)
Slightly more compact that existing Compact Magenta (discontinued July 2014), this new variety boasts three-season flower power. It is robust, heat loving and performs well in full sun or part shade.
Verbena 'EnduraScape Dark Purple' (Ball FloraPlant)
Formerly known as Enduro, the EnduraScape series features incredibly lasting color. This breakout landscape verbena stands up to heat and stays in flower longer than other verbena.
Are you taking advantage of this growth in the landscape segment? Have you seen an increasing demand for varieties bred for landscape performance? Which varieties have you seen thrive in the landscape? Shoot me an e-mail  and let me know!
— Jasmina