Jul 19, 2017
Florida’s Top Trial PerformersBy Jasmina Dolce

In the June and July issues of our sister publication, GPN, columnist and trusted industry consultant Vaughn Fletcher gave his analysis of the top-performing new variety introductions at Costa Farms’ Trial Garden in Miami, Florida.

This is the first trial of the season, and Fletcher visited the site in its early stages in late January and once again in late March when plants were mature and at their peak. By this time, the trial had received eight weeks of high temperatures, humidity and rain. So what he observed during his visit is reflected later in summer in other parts of the country. The top performers here are considered true summer survivors.

According to Fletcher, he titled this two-part article series “The Power of Color” because the world’s flower breeders strive to introduce and promote new varieties that provide eye-catching color and ultimately residential and commercial performance — resulting in consumer success in various applications from beds to baskets to containers.

Characteristics that he looks for in the selection process include: uniformity, floriferousness, foliage quality, architecture, flower brightness and saturation.

Here are some of his favorites noted in the article series. To read the full articles, click here for part one and here for part two.

Verbena ‘Lanai Neon Rose’
Syngenta Flowers

Neon Rose is a new addition to the spreading Lanai series, and this color was needed to complete the collection. This variety was specifically impressive with non-fading vibrant inflorescence, excellent spreading habit and a flower canopy presentation that was well above the foliage.

Calibrachoa Bloomtastic Series
Dümmen Orange

‘Bloomtastic Serenity’ and ‘Bloomtastic Rose Quartz’ were bred to be the most vigorous in the Dümmen Orange line, and both colors demonstrated this in the trial. The flowers were iridescent and large with a strong eye, and the flower canopy was impressive.

Snapdragon Candy Tops Series

After weeks of heat, humidity and rain, this dwarf series displayed floriferous and well-branched plants. The attributes of this series include strong stems, fragrance and flowers above the foliage canopy creating a colorful presentation.

Petunia ‘Cascadias Purple Gem’

The Cascadias series comprises a large assortment of colors including rim, single and bicolors. This new novelty star-shaped variety was impressive for many reasons including vigor, flower pattern consistency and stability. It appeared to have excellent weather tolerance.

Coleus ‘Mainstreet Ruby Road’
Dümmen Orange

This is a great addition to the Mainstreet series for 2018, offering excellent multicolored striking and defined foliage. It was not flowering in full sun. Many coleus varieties were in the trial, but this was the eye catcher.

Impatiens ‘SunPatiens Compact Purple’

Sakata continues to add new colors to this extraordinary series every year, and for 2018 we have Compact Purple, a very uniform color with highly saturated, stable purple flowers. The flower canopy, structure and flower power matched other varieties in the trial.

Do you visit any trials before spring hits to compare various varieties’ landscape performance? Have you visited the Costa Trial Garden? Will you be adding any of the above varieties to your lineup? Shoot me an email at [email protected], and let me know. I’d love to hear from you.

— Jasmina



Jasmina Dolce

Jasmina Dolce is managing editor of GPN magazine. She can be reached at [email protected]


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