California Spring Trials – Tuesday

It was a full flower trial day on Tuesday with visits to Gro Link, Westhoff, Plant Haven, and PanAmerican Seed, all located in the Ventura area.

Gro-Link is a leading breeder of Chrysanthemums, so we spent a fair amount of time reviewing the new introductions as well as learning which series or families are bred for early, mid and late season flowering. Although yellow and red are the 2 top selling ‘mum’ colors, I have to admit my favorite new variety for 2013 from their trial is Magnus Violet, which was really more in the rose-pink color range. A close second is Staviski Yellow.

Westhoff is always fun to visit because of their wonderful selection of annuals. I was most taken with their Verbena Estrella series, especially the new Estrella Voodoo Pink Star, and an as yet unnamed lilac-hued variety. Awesome color! Their new Calibrachoa Celebration Peach Mango also caught my eye with its consistent orange eye on a creamy yellow background.


We stopped by Florist Holland, the breeders of the magnificent large outdoor Gerbera Patio series. Nothing new here, but they are well worth considering with their huge, semi-double blooms. Look for names like Bryce Canyon or Everglades, all are named after National Parks, etc. The Flori Line series of Gerbera are also worth considering. They are more of typical Gerbera flower size, but have a vast array of flower types and colors. New this year is a nice pastel, FloriLine Midi Monet.

Our last visit for the day was PanAmerican Seed where we had a thorough tour of their new seed introductions. We also had a chance to look at the new vegetative material from Selecta. Highlights at PanAm included a new dark purple to almost black Petunia Sophistica Blackberry. Its plant habit is more open with a few less flowers than most of the other Sophistica grandifloras, but it’ll look great when it’s interplanted with other petunia colors like the new Sophistica Lime Green. Other PanAmerican highlights include trailing Pansy Cool Wave, Coleus Chocolate Covered Cherry and Petunia Shock Wave Deep Purple.


Selecta is well known for the great combinations in their Trixi Liner program, and they’ve added 5 new blends to their lineup. My favorite of the new group is ‘Out of the Blue’ featuring Bidens Namid Yellow, Lobelia Magadi Dark Blue, and Verbena Lascar White. Their new double Osteo 3D Berry White is also not to be missed, combining creamy outer petals with a violet center.


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