Our plant trials grew in 2014 to 74 varieties evaluating both seed and vegetatively propagated annuals. Some of the species we tested were lantana, coleus, pentas and hybrid impatiens. The trials were planted in early June, and evaluated for flower production, leaf color, uniformity of habit and flower, resistance to insects and diseases and overall appearance.
COLEUS (Solenostemon scutellariodes)
Redhead – This vegetative annual has the “WOW” factor with bright red foliage that appeared to glow in the landscape. It performed well in either direct sun or full shade. Landscape height was 24-30”. Redhead was also a low maintenance plant; it never flowered so it required no cleaning. (Ball FloraPlant)
Coleosaurus – A vegetative annual with a bold color combination of burgundy and yellow foliage. Coleosaurus adds a unique texture to the landscape. It performed well in both full sun and shade. Landscape height was 24-30”. Coleosaurus did produce flowers so maintenance was required. (Ball Flora Plant)
Kong® Lime Sprite – This seed-produced coleus is a new addition to the popular Kong® Series from PanAmerican seed. Lime Sprite boasts large foliage with contrasting maroon centers against lime-green edges. Landscape height was 18-20”. Lime Sprite was exceptional as a shade plant.
Dipt in Wine – Dipt in Wine is part of the ColorBlaze ® Series from Proven Winners. The foliage has an iridescent glow with shades of red, burgundy, chartreuse and yellow evident throughout the season. Landscape height was 24”. Dipt in Wine performed well in both full sun and shade. Some maintenance was required with sporadic blooming later in the season.
LANTANA (Lantana camara)
Bandito™ Orange Sunrise – An excellent habit with a tight, compact form. Orange Sunrise produces clusters of bright orange flowers throughout the season. The young flowers open bright yellow and become bright orange as they mature. Landscape height was 10-12”. (Syngenta Flowers)
Little Lucky Lemon Cream – The Little Lucky series has a uniform compact, mounded habit with a landscape height of 12-14”. Lemon Cream produced plenty of flowers that attracted butterflies and bees throughout the season. In bloom, the flowers were creamy yellow. (Ball FloraPlant)
Bandana® Red – The Banada series was consistent throughout the trial. Banada Red produced clusters of vibrant flowers that initially opened yellow and turned red as they matured. Landscape height was 16-20”. (Syngenta Flowers)
Lucky Sunrise Rose – The Lucky Series reached a landscape height of 16-20”. Sunrise Rose flowered throughout the summer with golden yellow florets in the center surrounded by rosey-pink florets as they aged. (Ball FloraPlant)
ZINNIA (Zinnia marylandica)
Zahara ® Yellow Improved and Raspberry – Two great additions to the Zahara series. Both produced unlimited flowers throughout the season and had consistent growth habits. Yellow Improved produced bright yellow flowers, while Raspberry did not disappoint with raspberry red flowers. Landscape height was 16-18”. No dead-heading was required since the new growth covered the old flowers. (PanAmercican Seed).
Special thanks to Ball FloraPlant, PanAmerican Seed, Syngenta Flowers and EuroAmerican Propagators for their donations of seed, liners or un-rooted cuttings.