2014 Variety Preview
Take a look at some outstanding plant varieties debuting in the “Class of 2014.”
Each year, the Proven Winners® team performs extensive trialing, research and discussion to determine which varieties become Proven Winners annuals or perennials, or ColorChoice® Flowering Shrubs. Here at Four Star, we do the same for Proven Selections® plants. And each year, only the best of the best are selected.
“Our number one selection criteria is performance in the garden,” explains Doug Parkinson, Account and Program Development for Four Star. “We also consider visual appeal, foliage, habit, color, number of flowers, and many other items. So the plants that made the grade for 2014 are really outstanding.”
Surefire™ Begonia brings the popular genetics and great landscape performance of Big™ to the Proven Winners® line.
Branding Does Make the Difference
“A few years ago, we put the Proven Winners brand on Graceful Grasses® and Colorblaze® Coleus, and every year, we see an increase in sales. In fact, sales have skyrocketed with the ColorBlaze brand,” he says. “There are other top-selling grasses and Coleus that are not Proven Winners brand, and while their sales have increased, it is not at all like the increase in sales for the Proven Winners brands.”
With this in mind, Proven Winners is debuting Surefire™ Begonia, and Boldly™ and Timeless™ Pelargonium in 2014 — bringing these well-known performers under the Proven Winners umbrella.
“Surefire has the same genetics as Big™, and we feel this is the ‘best of the best’ landscape Begonia,” Parkinson notes. “This can be an especially wonderful alternative to Impatiens, working well in shade and full sun.”
Boldly has the same genetics as the popular Calliope™, he says. “It’s one of the best garden geraniums on the market.” Timeless shares genetics with another very popular geranium — Caliente®.
Supertunia® White Improved
Exciting new Proven Winners® annuals
Superbells® Pomegranate Punch
“We’re really excited this year to introduce Superbells® Pomegranate Punch Calibrachoa, which compares with Superbells® Red, but has a richer, more unique red color,” Parkinson explains. “This plant has a better habit and is earlier to flower and well branched, plus is a top garden performer.
Supertunia® White Improved
“This beautiful plant plays well in mixed containers and baskets, but also performs like a Supertunia Vista in the landscape (although not as large), with less spread and height than Supertunia Vista Bubblegum but more spread and height than Supertunia Vista Fuchsia,” Parkinson says. “Try it in combinations like Above & Beyond – it is great for this!”
Supertunia® Orchid Charm
“We sent samples of Orchid Charm to growers and they are excited about how good these are, both as landscape plants and in baskets,” he says. “The smaller flowers offer incredible garden performance and really round out the Charm line of colors.”
As a new addition to the Proven Winners Lobularias, White Knight™ makes its own space, Parkinson notes. “This doesn’t replace Snow Princess®, which grows approximately 40 to 45-in. diameter. Instead, White Knight is compact, about half the size (18-20-in. diam.). Because it’s not as large in baskets and containers, it has the advantage of not needing as much moisture, but don’t let it dry down.”
Superbena® Royale Whitecap and Plum Wine
Both of these new Verbenas offer “amazing garden performance” and are less aggressive in small container production – making it easy on the grower. “These are perfect for container production because both are more compact and upright,” he notes.
Outstanding Proven Winners® Perennials
Dolce® Cinnamon Curls™
Dolce® Cinnamon Curls™
Get ready to see intense coloration in this Heuchera, especially in spring and fall, Parkinson predicts. “Even in warm weather, there is a nice cinnamon color, plus the added feature of curled, ruffled leaves for texture.”
“This is an outstanding Nepeta that is compact, early to flower, and offers repeat flowering,” he notes. “This is wonderful for mixed containers, where it spills over. This gives you more applications that you usually can’t get with a Nepeta.”
Summerific® ‘Cherry Cheesecake’
Parkinson likes the entire Summerific series of Hibiscus for the good variety of color and garden performance. “They are tall in the landscape, but not as tall and wide as the old varieties so they are easier for the grower and for the gardener. Also, they have much better branching for more flowers, with indeterminate blooming. A real plus!”
Impactful ColorChoice® Flowering Shrubs
“I am still in the process of seeing many of the ColorChoice shrubs,” Parkinson says, “but the ones I’ve seen really stand out to me.”
Let's Dance® Rhapsody Blue
Oso Easy® Lemon Zest
“This will be a real hit in the roses because it has a great yellow color that doesn’t fade,” he notes. “It keeps its color, even in the south, plus has the glossy dark foliage that gardeners like.”
Let’s Dance® Diva & Rhapsody Blue
“Diva Hydrangea gives really big flowers on strong stems for good support, which makes them better plants through the production process. Rhapsody Blue has wonderful color change from pink to deep blue.”
Proven Selections® to Watch
“We know gardeners have been asking for plants with height, and Forest Gomphrena in pink and red fit well, without taking over space in gardens or containers.
Large flowers and ‘staying power’ are keys to the Magellan series of Zinnias, Parkinson says. “There’s a good range of colors and these plants offer clean foliage in average garden conditions.
“New colors in both the Grande and Midi Dalina Dahlia series round out this selection of great plants,” Parkinson notes.
To see the entire 2014 New Varieties selections, click here. Contact Doug Parkinson at dparkinson@PWfourstar.com.
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