Ready for Retail California Spring Trials

July 2019
Ready for Retail By Tim Hodson

Take a look at a sampling of the numerous new varieties that made their debut at California Spring Trials.

Each year, California Spring Trials (CAST) provides our industry with the opportunity to see and learn about the latest new variety introductions that are on tap for the coming year.

This year, CAST took place a few weeks earlier than it has in recent years as the team from Lawn & Garden Retailer and GPN spent five days in March visiting all of the locations. Last month, we showed you some of the creative and innovative merchandising concepts that were on display during our time in California — this month we want to show you some of the new varieties.

There were hundreds of new intros that premiered at CAST, but we wanted to provide you with a snapshot (actually 35 of them) of some of the new varieties that caught our eye this year and that you just may want to consider for your retail benches in 2020.

Enjoy and start your planning today!

ready for retail spring trials 1-51. Viola ‘Corina Purple Ice’

Hem Genetics

A new addition to the series, ‘Corina Purple Ice’ shows off its striking color and has a uniform habit for bench appeal. It is suited for spring and autumn sales and can be used in a wide range of container sizes. It produces tons of flowers, which continue to produce blooms throughout the season.

2. Sedum ‘Silver Roses’

Jaldety Nursery

This succulent has a very appealing texture and a compact habit that plays well in combinations. It has cream-colored flowers and silver rosette-like leaves that are heat and drought tolerant and require hardly any maintenance.

3. Nemesia ‘Honey Dark Purple’

Cohen Nurseries

This nemesia series has a compact but upright growth habit. The fragrant flowers will bloom from spring until fall but perform best in cool weather and the pollinators love them. It will work well in containers, hanging baskets and borders. Full sun to part shade.

4. Thymus spp. ‘Ruby Glow’


A low spreading groundcover, this thyme will produce ruby-colored flowers surrounded by dark green foliage on 6-inch stems from late spring through early summer. It has a ball-shaped growth habit with gentle lemon scent and is drought tolerant.

5. Adenanthos ‘Chris Tal’

Nir Nursery

This evergreen shrub is a friendly Christmas tree that has soft silvery green-gray foliage that have a featherlike texture and will grow to 1 1/2 inches. It can tolerate mild frost and doesn’t require much fertilizer or water.

6. Coleus ‘Red Threads’

Terra Nova Nurseries

‘Red Threads’ has eye-catching, feathery, burgundy-colored leaves that create a soft, fluffy look. This coleus has an upright, but slightly spreading, habit with dense foliage. Works well as a filler for containers, summer borders and mass planting and is hardy to Zone 10-11.spring trials ready for retail 6-8

7. Echibeckia ‘Summertime Blazing Fire’

Pacific Plug & Liner

This addition to the Summerina series has a striking two-toned yellow and red flower with smaller petals or “fringles” near the center of the flower that look like a flame. The large flowers and high flower count work well in large pots. It is a great item for shoulder season sales.

8. Pentas Graffiti 20/20


Graffiti 20/20 is a new series of pentas that loves the sun and butterflies love it. It is a versatile performer with dense, tight flower clusters that ensure maximum color at retail. Nine colors and one mix are available (Flirty Pink is pictured).

9. Bidens Taka TukaReady for Retail


There are four new colors of Taka Tuka bidens (Red Yellow Center is shown here) from Benary+. Perfect for hanging baskets, it has a well-branched habit that really stands out. Other colors include Red Glow, Orange Yellow Center and White Yellow Center.

10. Lantana ‘Hot Blooded Red’

Syngenta Flowers

This hot new lantana is a rock star with its mounded habit and bright red and yellow color. It is more vigorous than other lantana, making it a great choice for gardens throughout North America. The medium-sized flowers are covered with attractive color. It is sterile and has been a top pick in many trials.

11. CaladiumsReady for Retail Spring Trials California

Proven Winners

Proven Winners is partnering with Classic Caladiums to offer their best-performing varieties for the 2020 season. Breeding breakthroughs have resulted in many new color patterns and shapes. There are 11 fancy leaf types and nine strap leaf varieties being offered.

12. Petunia Amore


Three new colors have been added to the Amore series — King of Hearts (pictured), Fluttering Heart and Pink Heart. As the name implies, each bloom has a unique heart-shaped pattern. Early to flower, the large flowers have a stable pattern show good resistance to rain.

13. Begonia ‘Dreams Esme Peach’

Beekenkamp Plants

Esme Peach is the new color addition to Beekenkamp’s Dreams BK collection. It is very floriferous and has a long flowering period. It has excellent outdoor performance and has high heat tolerance. It also has long shelf life at retail.

14. Helianthus ‘Sunbelievable Brown Eyed Girl’


This compact sunflower provides extraordinary summer color with its large, vibrant blooms. One plant reportedly will produce 1,000 blooms during a growing season. It is heat tolerant to help ensure consumer success. Monrovia is planning an extensive consumer campaign to promote this variety.

15. Digitalis ‘Pink Panther’

American Takii

This first-year flowering plant is quick to flower and compact for easy shipping. Its foliage is well balanced, and the flowers are sterile. This helps prolong their life and enhance the consumer’s enjoyment. ‘Pink Panther’s’ sturdy branches help produce multiple and colorful flower spikes.

16. Pot Dahlias Rebel


Rebel is an attractive decorative pot dahlia with firm stems and flowers with flat petals. It is available in bright, cheerful colors that will grab consumers’ eye. The plant produces large flowers with strong stems and will continue to flower all the way until the first frost.

17. Pansy Spring Grandio seriesReady for Retail California Spring Trials


Specifically bred for early spring production, this new pansy series is available in 12 colors and two mixes (Clear Mix is shown here). All of the colors are early blooming and more daylength neutral. Uniform habit and well matched bloom time across the series.

18. New Guinea Impatiens ‘Roller Coaster Hot Pink’

Dümmen Orange

This standalone introduction has an abundance of rich pink blooms that are made for shade. It is a medium vigorous plant with beautiful double flowers on top of its dark green foliage. A good season extender for late spring early summer sales.

19. Impatiens walleriana Beacon series

PanAmerican Seed

The new Beacon series of impatiens exhibits high resistance to Impatiens downy mildew from sowing all the way through the gardening season. It will grow 10 to 12 inches tall and 12 to 14 inches wide. The series is made up of six colors and two mixes (Bright Red is pictured).

Ready for Retail California Spring Trials20. Lily ‘LA White’

2Plant International

This variety has large flowers and wider foliage for great consumer appeal. It also is more heat tolerant for than other varieties. It is a versatile plant that will bloom in 64 days and will grow to about 17 inches.

21. Begonia Crown Jewel

J Berry Nursery

These begonias have a rich and luxurious foliage that will light up a landscape. The rhizomatous hybrids are bred for heat and drought tolerance and show little

inclination for pest and diseases. These early bloomers will grow to 6 to 18 inches tall. There are four varieties in the collection.

22. Osteospermum ‘Serenity Coral Magic’

Ready for Retail Calif Spring TrialsBall FloraPlant

The “magic” on this daisy appears when its colors change as flowers fully open. It has an exceptional habit and unique colors that will appeal to consumers. It works well in cool season containers as well as in the landscape.

23. Dahlia Venti Series

Selecta One

The premium dahlia series, Venti, is made up of nine colors (Tequila Sunrise is shown). The uniform, vigorous series of double-flowered, colorful dahlias has great shelf appeal and is a perfect option for larger containers.

24. Penstemon ‘Quartz Red’

Darwin Perennials

This vivid orange/red addition to the Quartz series is very heat tolerant and long flowering. It reblooms throughout the season for high impact color. It has a sturdy, upright habit that will reach 20-24 inches.

California Spring Trials (CAST) 23-2625. Leucanthemum ‘Madonna’

Kieft Seed

This Shasta daisy offers better uniformity in height and habit to produce more salable plants. It is a compact, first-year flowering shasta that doesn’t have a risk for bacterial infection. The result is picture-perfect containers on the bench and in the store. Laced-edge petal help give it a unique look.

26. Petunia ‘Surfinia Purple Starshine’

Suntory Flowers

Surfinia celebrates its 30th anniversary with the addition of this new bicolor novelty. Bright purple blooms show off their stable star pattern in a compact, mounded habit. Works well in hanging baskets and planters.

27. Peppers Mardi Gras FunCalifornia Spring Trials (CAST) 23-26


These snack-sized peppers are available in four eye-catching colors (Orange is pictured). The timing and habit is similar for all four, so they can be grown together in a single container for a tasty and attractive patio display. Fruit size is approximately 3 1/2 by 1 1/2 inches.

28. Rose Pretty Polly

Star Roses and Plants

Available in three colors — Lavender, Pink (pictured) and White — this series has very good disease resistance and excellent flowering from spring until fall. It maintains its compact habit in the landscape.

29. Gerbera ‘Garvinea Sweet Frosting’

Florist Holland

There are two new introductions to the Garvinea Garden Gerberas line — Classic Femmy and Sweet Frosting (shown here). They flower from early spring until first frost, and each plant reportedly can produce up to 100 flowers. Bees, butterflies and other pollinators love them.

30. Alstroemeria Colorita series

Royal Van Zanten

Colorita is a long-lasting alstroemeria that provides an explosion of color in the garden or on the patio. The series has eight different color types and 13 varieties (Lisa is pictured). Colorita’s striking color and unique foliage make for a great high end impulse item at retail.

31. Begonia Betulia

Ball Ingenuity

With the look of a tulip, this begonia has a compact habit with extremely durable smaller foliage and good branching. It blooms continuously from spring until first frost. It is available in four colors — Red, Bright Pink, Candy Pink (pictured) and Light Pink.

32. Cyclamen Donatello

Schoneveld Breeding

The new Donatello series is part of Schoneveld’s Super Series of cyclamen. It is made up of seven different colors (‘Donatello Deep Red Wine’ is shown here). This silver leaf beauty works well in the landscape or indoors.

California Spring Trials (CAST) 23-2633. Helianthus Sunsation series


The Sunsation series has large, pollen-free blooms with a black center. The series has three new colors — Flame, Lemon and Yellow (pictured). This helianthus has multiple flower buds on the top and dark green glossy foliage.

34. Begonia Rex Bewitched series

Green Fuse Botanicals

This new series will really make a statement on the patio or in the ground. The Bewitched series has three colors: White (pictured); Wintergreen; and Red-Black. For home gardeners, it is low maintenance and easy to grow.

35. Didelta ‘Silver Strand’


This new addition to the FanciFillers series has attractive silver foliage that just begs to be touched. Thanks to its texture, mounding habit and size, ‘Silver Strand’ will stand out in mixed combinations. It is a heat lover that is drought tolerant.


Related: 2019 Spring Trials Sparks Retail Ideas

Tim Hodson

Tim Hodson is the editorial director of GPN and Big Grower. He can be reached at [email protected]


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