I'm going to have a series of posts about what I saw during my recent trip to the California Spring (aka pack) trials. The focus of the trials is annuals, so today is a run down of the ones that caught my eye. I'll follow up with perennials, with some more general thoughts on the State of Plant Breeding Today, and What I Thought of California to come.
For lovers of black plants, Ball has a new black petunia (shown here in a mixed basket with calebrachoa):
I'm not a huge petunia fan (despite the fact I work with them) but I couldn't resist taking a picture of this petunia 'Cappuchino' from Dummen. Such an unusual color!
Nemesia seems to be a rising trend, we saw TONS of them. My favorite was this 'Metallic Blue' I think nemesia are lovely, but they've never performed well for me. It will be interesting to see if some of this glut of new varieties hold up better to the heat.
Cuphea seem to be moving into the mainstream. Several companies had new cupheas with HUGE flowers. Not sure how much I like them, but they are a nice change from the endless petunias and geraniums.
Another trend I am very happy about are the regal-type Pelargoniums (aka, geraniums). Regals are spectacularly beautiful with huge, bicolored flowers, but are notorious picky and hate heat. Many companies we visited had new series of regals they claimed were more heat tolerant and better performers. I hope they are right. I'd LOVE to see these types replace the boring old zonals.
I'm not much for standard cushion mums, but I really liked these mums: Just a few flowers on each plant, but each on the size of my hand! I really hope these catch on.