Top Performers at MSU Trials

October 8, 2013 - 10:24

In my last blog, I shared some of the favorites from the 2013 Colorado State University plant trials. Many universities have been posting their trial results over the past few weeks, and there are many more to come. That said, this is a perfect time to go over and analyze the many plants and their overall performance. Then you can decide which ones are worth adding to your production next season. 

Today, I'd like to share more trial results with you. This time I'll focus on the Midwest and go over some of the favorites from Michigan State University's annual trials. According to MSU's trial garden website (, their 2013 Top Winners category is reserved for plants that really grabbed their attention at each evaluation throughout the summer and scored an average of 5.0 at the end of the season. 

Here are some of the winners, along with commentary from Art Cameron, trial garden director, and Daedre Craig, trial manager.

Angelonia 'Archangel Raspberry Improved' (Ball FloraPlant)

This angelonia showed a very unique color. Flowers popped more than other Archangel colors.

Calibrachoa 'Celebration Banana' (Westhoff)

Boasting a great bright yellow color, this variety looked consistently fantastic all summer. 

Begonia 'Dragone Dusty Rose' (Dümmen)

The flowers on this begonia had a silk-like appearance.

Begonia 'Surefire Red' (Proven Winners)

This variety formed a hedge of flowers by the end of the summer. The plant habit was very upright.


Although these next varieties didn't make it into the Top Winners category, they were top performing annuals and were early-season favorites in the trial garden this year. 

Lophospermum 'Lofos Compact Rose' (Suntory Flowers)

One of Daedre's favorites this year, it created a great hanging basket with unique foliage and flowers. Even the unopened buds looked interesting.

Salvia 'Summer Jewel Red' (Takii Seed)

This salvia showed wave after wave of bright red flowers. It attracted hummingbirds and goldfinches. 

Zinnia 'Profusion Double Hot Cherry' (Sakata)

A 2013 AAS Winner, this variety had showy flowers that held well above foliage unlike other compact zinnias.

Which top trial performers are your favorites? Have you been able to conduct any of your own trials? Which new varieties will you be adding to your lineup next season? Shoot me an e-mail anytime at; I'd love to hear from you.

— Jasmina 

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