Among the almost overwhelming number of new varieties coming to the market, there were a few trends that stood out at this year’s California Summer Trials. A few trends that stood out were the options bred specifically to help our pollinator friends, bright colors and patterns, and drought-tolerant, disease-resistant, overall easy-to-care-for plants. Take a look to see what we found at stops from Los Angeles to San Francisco. We couldn’t cover them all here, so head to gardencentermag.com/keyword/cast for more new introductions.
PETUNIA ‘FUN HOUSE POTPOURRI’Syngenta Flowers
The unique flower color and pattern makes Fun House an unusual variety that’s sure to draw attention. ‘Fun House Potpourri’ can be Yellow, Bicolor or Rose, depending on PGR use and light exposure. It has a mounding habit and medium vigor, growing 10-14 inches high and 18-22 inches wide. More colors are in the works, says Melanie Fernandes, Syngenta marketing manager.
‘CANDY CANE CHOCOLATE CHERRY’ PEPPER
This new pepper shows chocolate and red stripes as it matures, giving it a unique ornamental aspect, says Luther McLaughlin, general manager, PanAmerican Seed. With variegated white and green leaves, it makes a statement indoors. The sweet fruits can be eaten at any stage of ripeness.
PETUNIA ‘STARLET MIDNIGHT SKY’
New for 2022, Midnight Sky is the first Sky petunia in the Starlet series with dark purple flowers covered in a white star pattern. It blooms from spring to fall with a mounded, trailing habit perfect for container gardens and landscapes. Selecta One also introduced ‘Headliner Enchanted Sky,’ a violet-pink flower with a white star and white speckles that works well in medium baskets and larger containers as well as mixes.
PTILOTUS ‘JOEY IMPROVED’
Benary introduced this Australian native years ago and is reintroducing this improved version. While the original Ptilotus Joey would be wobbly and hard to ship if it became rootbound in plug trays, this new version recovers well. Improvements include better branching as well. With large, fuzzy spikes and silver-green foliage, it makes for great impulse buys. It thrives in hot, dry climates and performs well in pots and landscape beds.
PATIO GERBERA GLORIOUS
Whether used as a patio pot or a cut flower, this new series of gerberas produces enormous double flowers that reach up to 6 inches wide. They work well in mixed planters or as standalone stunners, and make for great cut flowers. It flowers spring through fall in five colors: orange, yellow, purple, pink and white.
POLLINATOR’S PARADISE GARDEN PARTY COMBINATIONS
Specially selected to attract either hummingbirds, bees or butterflies, these targeted mixes combine annuals and perennials to offer a variety of shapes and sizes. Introduced in 2021, the combinations were selected to match in grower culture, making it easy to produce a fully flowering combination that will bloom all season. The perennials included are first-year flowering so they will match the annuals, making them good for early spring to fall sales, according to Emily Mason, Dümmen Orange regional program director. Shown below is Bee Friendly.
SALVIA BODACIOUS ‘HUMMINGBIRD FALLS’
PlantHaven / Dümmen Orange
This new salvia is the world’s first Salvia guaranitica bred for hanging baskets and will be available in 2022. A collaboration with Dümmen Orange, it was bred by Kermit Carter at Flowers by the Sea. Bodacious ‘Hummingbird Falls’ will take off in annual baskets and nearly every node produces a flower, meaning it’s covered in flowers all season, says Amanda Flint, PlantHaven plant project manager. With large, dark blue flowers and dark green foliage, it performs well in containers, garden borders and mass plantings as well as hanging baskets.
This new series of lantana works in a wide range of pots and hanging baskets. “If you’re looking for a pollinator-friendly plant, these are butterfly magnets,” says Katie Rotella, Ball senior public relations and digital manager, adding that they also attract hummingbirds. Shamrock lantana comes in Orange Flame, Peach, Rose and White.
BIDENS ‘BRAZEN IMPERIAL LUCK’
This pollinator-friendly bidens stands out in combinations and attracts both bees and butterflies. A collection of both vigorous and compact varieties creates bold options for combinations with an upright to mounded habit and compact vigor. Brazen also comes in Eternal Flame, Rising Sun and Samurai.
NEPETA SUBSESSILIS ‘PRELUDE PURPLE’
The new purple shade grows to 3 feet in the landscape, offering pest and disease resistance with non-fading dark purple blooms on a mounding habit. “It’s a great border option and it brings in pollinators, but you don’t have to shear it back every year,” Rotella says. The versatile plant is ideal for 2.5-quart and 1-gallon pot sizes.
ROSA SCENTIFALL LEMON
The opening variety in a new rose series, Rosa Scentifall Lemon features citrusy fragrant, lemon-yellow flowers that will repeatedly flower throughout the summer. Bred for premium hanging baskets, this new rose variety has high disease resistance. Rosa Scentifall also comes in Blush.
BRINDABELLA ROSE ‘CRIMSON KNIGHT’
With an easy, low-maintenance growing manner, robust disease resistance and fragrant double flowers, ‘Crimson Knight’ is both eye-catching and easy. Its hybrid tea rose bloom shape starts off nearly black before the blooms begin opening up, revealing a rich crimson color. Brindabella is black spot- and mildew-resistant, and is being evaluated for rose rosette resistance, according to Delilah Onofrey, Suntory marketing director. With the addition of ‘Crimson Knight’ for 2021, Brindabella is available in seven colors.
E3 EASY WAVE PETUNIA
The three E’s here are: early, efficient and evolution as Easy Wave gets a new look. Great for early sales, they’re ready as early as late March or early April in the South. The uniform habit makes it ideal for mixing and the full habit is a showstopper at retail. From PanAmerican Seed, the series is available in Sky Blue, Blue, Coral, Pink, Red, Pink Cosmos and White.