The Value of Growing Petchoa SuperCal®

Last winter I wrote a blog post about this relatively new genus and series. Now that the growing season has begun for next spring, it’s definitely worth revisiting the SuperCal series as they continue to grow in demand and popularity.

SuperCal Terracotta
What makes SuperCal unique is that they’re a genetic cross between the Petunia and Calibrachoa genera. What makes them a value is that the cross brings the best characteristics of each genus to the series, and pretty much gets rid of the icky traits. Examples: Large showy flowers (petunia genetics), non-sticky leaves (Calibrachoa), flower power (both), tolerance to high soil pH (petunia), self-cleaning plants (both), excellent performance in both cool and warm environments (both).


SuperCal Neon Rose
We conducted a thorough container trial of the SuperCal’s this summer at our facility here in Rochester, NY. Our unusually hot and dry summer really put this series to the test, and I must say we were very pleased with the overall results. The advantage for growers is the SuperCal’s can be grown cool, so that’s a nice energy savings. For the end user, the good news is they performed exceptionally well in high heat and direct sun! The claim of self-cleaning was evident in our trials throughout the summer. We never had to deadhead the plants – EVER. Consider that a nice energy savings on the consumer side!
 
My favorite of the series is Neon Rose. The containers were packed with flowers and the color really popped – two great traits. Rest assured there are several other colors that round out the series, such as new Blushing Pink, Blue, Cherry, Terracotta, Violet, and more.

I could go on and on about the SuperCals… and I will, but not today! You’ll be seeing more details about the SuperCal series as we progress towards spring. As a professional grower, if you haven’t added the SuperCal’s to your product line, here is a strong ‘heads up’ to consider them. The liners are available through our Plug & Liner program. 

SuperCal Blue
For home gardeners, be sure to ask for the SuperCal’s by name at your local garden center next spring. We are also working on a home gardener mail order transplant program that will include the SuperCal’s. Details of the program should be available by late November.

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That’s right! Even MORE New Flower Introductions for 2013!

Can you tell that there’s a plethora of new intro’s for the 2013 gardening season? And I’m not even done yet! Today’s post wraps up the new variety highlights. And guess what - there are even more in addition to what I’ve covered in these last four blog posts! Stay tuned as I’ll be covering some of these in more detail throughout the year. In the meantime, take peek below. Clicking here will give you even more detail of the varieties below.

Vegetative Liners
  • Super Bells® Lemon Slice Calibrachoa – This new Proven Winners® variety has looked bright and zesty in the trials I’ve visited this spring and summer. Plants are covered in lemon yellow and white flowers in a distinctive star pattern.
    Super Bells® Lemon Slice Calibrachoa
  • SunPatiens® Compact Electric Orange New Guinea Impatiens – This new, high-impact color lights up SunPatiens’ 2013 line. You’ll be hearing more from me about the entire SunPatiens series during the course of the season!
    SunPatiens® Compact Electric Orange New Guinea Impatiens
  • Calliope® Hot Pink Geranium – The award-winning interspecific Calliope series welcomes three new colors, including bold Hot Pink. Superior branching fills containers quickly for a premium finish.
    Calliope® Hot Pink Geranium
  • Clio Magenta Cleome – This upright bushy newcomer provides inspiration in both gardens and large containers.
    Clio Magenta Cleome
  • SuperCal® Artist Rose Petchoa – The SuperCal’s are gaining in recognition, and deservedly so. New Artist Rose provides a nice color addition to this fantastic series. You’ll be hearing more from me about the entire SuperCal series during the course of the season!
    SuperCal® Artist Rose Petchoa
  • New multi-liners galore! There are a number of new multi-liner combinations from various breeders. Consider multi-liners of Proven Winners, and Celebrations, of Trixi’s and Mixi’s, of Kwik Combo’s™ and more! Click here for just a snapshot of multi-liner combo’s. More detail to follow as we go through the season. Stay tuned!
    Multi-Liners

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That’s right! Even MORE New Flower Introductions for 2013!

In my previous 2 posts a few of the many new flower seed and vegetative introductions were highlighted that will be available for the 2013 gardening season. Today highlights even more new flower seed and plug varieties that are available to grow this season. All are available through our seed or plug programs. Clicking on the links below will give you even more detail.

Flower Seeds and Plugs
  • Santa Cruz Sunset Begonia – The first B. boliviensis type begonia from seed, Santa Cruz Sunset has already won gardening awards this spring and summer. It’s an excellent item for hanging baskets and containers. Can be grown in full sun.
    Santa Cruz Sunset Begonia
  • Sophistica Blackberry and Sophistica Lime Petunias – Both of these new Sophistica varieties held up well in our hot summer. I was pleased to see that Blackberry did not fade out at all, but rather became richer and deeper in color as summer progressed. Sophistica Lime held its lively yellow lime color all summer long.
  • Sophistica Blackberry and
    Sophistica Lime Petunias
  • Picobella Cascade Petunia – This brand new series demonstrated very nice performance this summer. I would place it in the same class as the Shock Wave series. Both have tighter internodes resulting in a bushier spreading habit and smaller blooms than typical spreading seed petunias.
    Picobella Cascade Petunia
  • Cheyenne Spirit Echinacea – This brand new AAS winner for 2013 is already the talk of the market. It possesses an excellent color range for Echinacea Mix from seed.
    Cheyenne Spirit Echinacea

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More Enticing New Flower Introductions for 2013

In my last post a few of the many new flower seed introductions were highlighted that will be available for the 2013 gardening season. This post spotlights a sampling of the many new vegetative introductions that are available to grow this season. All are available through our plug & liner program. Clicking here will give you even more detail of the varieties below.

Vegetative Liners
  • Calipetite Calibrachoas – Wow, did these turn our heads in trials this spring! Calipetite offers neat bursts of color in pots, containers, and window boxes.    
    Calipetite Calibrachoas
    
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  • SunPatiens® Compact Electric Orange New Guinea Impatiens – This new, high-impact color lights up SunPatiens’ 2013 line. You’ll be hearing more from me about the entire SunPatiens series during the course of the season!
    SunPatiens® Compact Electric Orange New Guinea Impatiens
    
  • Calliope® Hot Pink Geraniums – The award-winning interspecific Calliope series welcomes three new colors, including bold Hot Pink. Superior branching fills containers quickly for a premium finish. 
  • Calliope® Hot Pink Geraniums
    
  • Colorblaze® Keystone Kopper Coleuses – This new Proven Winners® sun coleus will catch your eye with its rich, deep copper foliage. It makes a great landscape coleus. Also be sure to check out its new companion Colorblaze Marooned!
    Colorblaze® Keystone Kopper Coleuses
    
  • Petunia Ray Sunflower – It’s unique alright. Check out the dark maroon and yellow starred pattern of this conversation-starter!
    Petunia Ray Sunflower
    
  • SuperCal® Artist Rose Petchoas – The SuperCal’s are gaining in recognition, and deservedly so. New Artist Rose provides a nice color addition to this fantastic series. You’ll be hearing more from me about the entire SuperCal series during the course of the season!
    SuperCal® Artist Rose Petchoas
    
  • Lanai® Candy Cane Verbenas – I’ve really enjoyed the color pattern of this addition to the Lanai series. It’s performed beautifully all summer long in a hanging basket at home and put a twinkle in my eye.
    Lanai® Candy Cane Verbenas
    
  • Pardon My Purple Monardas – This new Proven Winners® Monarda caught my attention with its nice short plant stature. It can be grown for the fronts of perennial gardens and used in mixed containers.
If you’re a home gardener, be sure to bookmark this page so you can ask for the varieties by name next spring at your local garden center!

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Exciting New Flower Introductions for 2013

After a full spring and summer of viewing and trialing new flower varieties, it’s exciting to bring you some highlights as our commercial grower customers start preparing for the 2013 spring selling season. Clicking on the links below will give you even more detail!

Flower Seeds and Plugs
  • Serenita Angelonia – Bred to be shorter than the Serena’s, the series will be particularly useful in the South. Serenita Raspberry a unique color with a great habit and long lasting flower power.
    Serenita Angelonia
    
  • Chocolate Covered Cherry Coleuses – I really like the color combination of this new sun coleus from seed, and was pleased to see that the color didn’t fade during our unusually hot and dry summer in our container trials. I recommend growing and selling it in large containers on its own, and not mixed with other annuals. 
    Chocolate Covered Cherry Coleuses
    
  • Spring Matrix Pansies – This new pansy series was bred to flower up to 2 weeks earlier than Matrix. It will be a nice addition for the spring market primarily in the northeast and mid-west where the pansy selling season is short and sweet.
     
  • Shock Wave Deep Purple Petunias – This is a great addition to the Shock Wave series, with a fantastic deep purple flower color. Use this better performing variety to replace the discontinued Shock Wave Purple. (Note: this variety is also available in Harris Seeds home garden packets.) 
    Shock Wave Deep Purple Petunias
    
  • Happy Trails Portulacas – This is a nice new trailing Portulaca. I saw little difference in habit or performance outdoors compared to Sundial, but they are earlier in packs and pots for retail. Happy Trails also has a deep red color which you’ll not find in Sundial.
    Happy Trails Portulacas
    
  • Cora Red Vincas – This is long awaited new color for the Cora Series vincas. It really was outstanding in the outdoor trials I visited this summer, with bright snappy color on a nice uniform plant habit. 
    Cora Red Vincas
    
If you’re a home gardener, you may want to bookmark any flower varieties in this list that interests you so you can ask for the varieties by name next spring at your local garden center. Stay tuned for my next blog post that will highlight some intriguing new 2013 vegetative annuals!

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All-America Selections Trials

A summer review

In early August I attended the All-America Selections Summer Summit in Michigan. This summer meeting rotates around the country so that our AAS judges and industry members have an opportunity to view AAS trials in different climatic areas. This was the first year in Michigan, and it was a wonderful event! In a two day period we visited Michigan State University in E. Lansing, C. Raker & Sons in Litchfield, Elzinga Greenhouse in Kalamazoo, Mast Young Plants in Grand Rapids, and Frederick Meyering Gardens in Grand Rapids.


The various AAS flower, bedding plant and vegetable trials demonstrated how different organizations grow and trial their plant material. Even though judges only score based on the results of their own trial, looking at other trials helps round out the perspective of how a variety is performing overall.

There are some pretty interesting entries in the AAS flower trial this year. We turn in our summer trial scores pretty soon, and I’m hoping that I’ll be able to blog to you about some potential winners in the upcoming months!


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New and Upcoming Trends Spotted at the OFA Short Course

Trends are very important in any marketplace, and that is true as well in the world of ornamental horticulture. Here is what Michael Wells, our Garden Trends Marketing Manager spotted at the OFA Short Course this week:

At the OFA Short Course and throughout the trade show, many trends were apparent relative to food, small space gardening and sustainability.



As food is a priority in our lives, it wasn’t surprising to see that more garden centers are starting to offer gourmet food products along with fresh produce as part of their product line.  Some growers are adding produce field production to their operation while others are purchasing from other local farmers.

Small space gardening is hitting an all time high as both time and space are limited.  Raised beds and large containers of veggies have been seen alongside mixed containers of ornamentals.  One trend that is quickly spreading with women is Fairy Gardens.  These gardens are miniature habitats that may include houses, arbors, water features, seating and even tools that welcome enchanted fairies into your garden. 



Sustainability has really moved beyond a trend to a lifestyle, and many suppliers are using recycled materials now to develop containers and other everyday items.  Also consumers and garden centers are being creative and giving old items a new use… ladders may turn into shelving units and pallets could turn into vertical gardens! 

Trends come and go and we would love to hear what is causing a stir in your neck of the woods, or city block…

Michael

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News from OFA

It’s mid-summer and we’re in the heat (so to speak!) of launching our 2012-13 growing and gardening season. Between planting and growing trials, preparing our two professional grower catalogs for ornamentals, and attending trade shows, there’s barely time to take a breath!

Members of the Harris Seeds staff are in Columbus, Ohio attending the OFA Short Course, probably the largest and most comprehensive trade show in the U.S. for the ornamentals business.

Jonathan Jones, our Southeast Regional Account Representative sends you the following message:

Hello grower and gardening friends from beautiful, sunny Columbus, OH!  As the morning sun rose on Sunday, I was reflecting on our first day at the OFA Short Course Conference. OFA (Ohio Floriculture Association) is an association of horticulture professionals, and every July they host the premier show for greenhouse operators and nurserymen. Growers and suppliers come from across the nation to find out what is new and exciting for the upcoming 2013 season. 

And what excitement there is!  This year alone there are well over 200 new varieties of plants from around the world.  New varieties range from indoor house plants to the best of varieties for the garden. The buzz of our booth so far has been about new Petunia Sophistica Lime Green.  The exceptional color of this grandiflora petunia has attendees stopping in their tracks. Whether used in mixed containers or even as a stand-alone garden element, it will have customers and gardening friends stopping for a closer look. 

Stay tuned to for more news from OFA in the next day or two!

Jonathan

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Spring Has Sprung…. Has It?

Back in early March we were experiencing record high temperatures across the country, giving everyone a premature taste of spring fever. This week it’s been a little colder than normal (at least here in Rochester), and although I’m itching to start planting my garden, the near freezing nighttime temps, tell me to wait, wait, wait.

Okay, if we have to wait, let’s whet our appetite a bit for some of that summer color we can look forward to in the very near future! I enjoy sharing our customers’ ornamentals growing experiences when possible, be they a home gardener or a professional grower, and thought you’d all enjoy the following commentary and pictures from one of our grower customers:

"I have owned a landscape business for 20 years. I built my first greenhouse on our property 7 years ago and started doing plant sales, the second greenhouse 2 seasons ago. My business is modest, but sales have increased every year about 50%. In that time I would say 90% of the seeds I have grown have come from Harris Seeds. Looking forward to next season."

Steve Schwab
Triple Diamond Yard & Garden


Holy Moly, look at the size of those containers!

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Last Day of California Spring Trials – Thursday – Part 2

My previous blog post covered our visit to the Proven Winners group on the last day of our California Spring Trial tour last week. We also visited Benary, Suntory, and The Plug Connection that same day. All are located down in the San Diego area.

Without a doubt, the standout introduction at Benary’s trial was their new Begonia boliviensis Santa Cruz Sunset. The flower form is different from what we’re accustomed to, and has recently become more popular. The vigorous plants fill out hanging baskets and large planters for a stunning display of color. Note that Santa Cruz Sunset is the first boliviensis type Begonia available from seed!


Suntory had a few new additions to their renowned Calibrachoa Million Bells series that are worth noting. Million Bells Tropical Delight made a great presentation with its contrasting red eye and veins against the yellow background. Also new is the very attractive Million Bells Bouquet Amethyst.

  

Visiting The Plug Connection’s trial was a great way to for us to recap the trip because they are a grower who brings in the new introductions from the breeding companies and compares them against commercially available varieties. It affords us an opportunity to see how they truly size up to what is already on the market. Also, each year they take one vegetative genus and grow a complete trial of it. For the seed part of the trial, I was especially interested to see how the new genetically dwarf petunia Duvet and EZRider series performed against the already established Limbo series. Based on pack and pot performance, my observations were that the Limbo’s still appeared to be as dwarf or more compact than either of the two new series. But I’m also waiting to see how all 3 series perform against each other in our garden trials this summer. The Plug Connection grew the compact versions of Calibrachoa for their specialty trial this year. It was an excellent comparison to see the Callie, Noa, Million Bells Bouquet, Lindura, Minifamous, and Calipetite series all grown together. I have to say I was most taken with the Calipetite series. This series is bred by Sakata, and although I hadn’t mentioned it in last week’s blog when we visited Sakata, we did notice it at their trial. What stands out about this series is how truly compact it is. While everyone assumes Calibrachoa is trailing and vigorous, Calipetite appears to be sweet, neat and petite! They are perfect candidates for using on their own in pots or as a component in combo planters for a touch of bright color.

    

The Plug Connection (one of our plug and liner suppliers) also introduced their Mighty ‘Mato grafted tomato program last year. It’s been very well received and their plan is to expand the program to include a few more tomato varieties and also bring in Eggplants and Peppers.

This wraps up our annual California Spring Trial tour. As much as I enjoy this trip to observe each season’s new products and catch up with industry colleagues, it’s always nice to return home to terra firma! For more pictures of our last day of trials, be sure to visit us on Facebook!

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Last Day of California Spring Trials – Thursday

Last Thursday was our last day visiting the CA Spring Trials. I apologize for not blogging sooner- after all, it’s been almost a week! We returned on Friday and I’ve been in ‘catch up’ mode since then.

Anyway, Thursday was a great way to wrap up our intensive Spring Trials trip. We visited the Proven Winners group, Benary, Suntory, and The Plug Connection. All are located down in the San Diego area.

Having written a blog post about Proven Winners® just prior to our trip, I was eager to visit them to see what we could look forward to for next season, and I wasn’t disappointed. By far the most impressive 2013 intro is Calibrachoa Superbells Lemon Slice. Developed from a sport off of SB Yellow, this new addition presents a totally unique color pattern of creamy white with a bright yellow broad star. The pattern appeared, and has been confirmed, to be extremely consistent. It looked spectacular in a hanging basket. If you’re a plant junkie, then no doubt you’re familiar with Supertunia Pretty Much Picasso. Now this popular variety has a new sibling named Supertunia Picasso in Pink. Both have the very distinctive lime green margin, but while SPMP offers a lilac-rose center, SPIP’s center is more in the dark pink part of the color wheel. Perhaps more distinctive is the habit of this new intro. Everything about it is a tad tighter and more compact, creating a nice full basket or container.

  

Other highlights in the PW annuals section were a striking Lantana called Luscious Berry Blend, Lobularia (Alyssum) Blushing Princess, - a companion to the popular Snow Princess, and a very eye-catching Coleus Colorblaze Keystone Kopper.

    

PW perennials have gained diversity since Walters Gardens joined the group last year. Perennial highlights that caught my eye were a new Dianthus series – Fruit Punch, and two great looking dwarf Monarda varieties: Pardon My Pink and Pardon My Purple. I was really taken with these because of their 12” bushy, clumpy plant habit that is atypical of Monarda. Note both these varieties will need vernalization.


For more pictures of Proven Winners, be sure to visit us on Facebook. And stay tuned this Friday when I’ll finish up the Spring Trial tour with our visits to Benary, Suntory and The Plug Connection!

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California Spring Trials – Wednesday

On Wednesday, Dick and I spent time at the Ecke Ranch, where we viewed their 2013 introductions and got reacquainted with a number of their excellent annual varieties.

Ecke is known for the Oglevee brand of geraniums that are known worldwide. New this year in their Elegance series of Regal Geraniums is Elegance Burgundy Frost. The dark maroon flowers with white margins are simply stunning. We were also drawn to their new Nordic Tuberous Begonia series. I especially liked Nordic Dawn. Both Nordic Dawn and Fire completely fill out baskets and are loaded with gorgeous pendulous blooms. Also be on the lookout for another new Tuberous Begonia series – Arcada. Seven colors are being introduced, all with large lush full double blooms that will knock your socks off. I didn’t have a favorite because I liked them all!

  

Another new annual that captured my attention at Ecke’s was Bacopa Atlas Lavender - a wonderful complement to last year’s new Atlas White. Both have beautiful extra-large flowers - a real plus with Bacopa. Also keep an eye out for Coleus Stained Glassworks Luminesce. I thought the strappy leaves of this variety just popped with color.

  

For more pictures be sure to visit us on Facebook!

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