We had another great year for plant trials in 2015. Our rainy spring delayed our trial installation since we were a bit on the wet-side. 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.
Hot Pak™ French Marigold – This new seed series of French marigolds look great not only in packs but also in the landscape. Our trays of 3” pots were uniform across all colors (no PGR applications required). In the landscape the plants reached 6-8” in height and flowered throughout the season. (PanAmerican Seed)
Ageratum Blue Hawaii 5.0 – A very prolific bloomer, with powder-blue flowers produced consistently over the entire plant. Landscape height 8-10”. (Benary Seed)
Gomphrena Ping Pong Series – The Ping Pong series loved our growing conditions. All three colors, white, lavender and purple thrived throughout the season producing copious amounts of flowers. The plant is easy to grow and adds height and dimension to the landscape (18-22”). Gomphrena can also be used as a cut flower. (Sakata Ornamentals)
Angelonia Serenita® Blue – Angelonia are excellent bedding plants for our summers, and Serenita Blue does not disappoint. Serenita Blue is prolific bloomer, compact mounded-habit, and thrives in the summer heat. Landscape height 12-16”. (PanAmerican Seed)
Zinnia Profusion Double Series – We evaluated 7 colors in the popular series (yellow, white, fire improved, cherry, golden, deep salmon and hot cherry). Their garden performance was consistent across all colors. The flower colors were bright and clean and the flower size consistent. Landscape height was 14-18”. (Sakata Ornamentals)
Dragon’s Breath Celosia – This plant was highly publicized during the CA Spring Trials last year so I was curious to see how it would perform. The plant performed well throughout the season, but it did not flower until September. Once in flower, it did not disappoint with striking red plumes. From June through August the foliage was interesting but no flowers. Upon further research, Dragon’s Breath is an obligate short day plant* growers should refer to the technical bulletins in order to produce plants that have initiated flowering. (Sakata Ornamentals)
*Obligate short-day plant – plant requires daylengths shorter than a certain critical length in order to flower.
Special thanks to PanAmerican Seed, Benary Seed and Sakata Ornamentals for their donations of seeds.