California Spring Trials – The Weekend

This past weekend Dick Chamberlin and I stopped at 5 different sites, representing 6-7 different breeding companies in Watsonville, Gilroy, San Juan Bautista and Salinas. We visited Golden State Bulb Co., Syngenta Flowers, Danziger Flowers, Hem Genetics, Thompson & Morgan, and Takii.


We saw Calla Lilies in all different colors and sizes, including a very beautiful variety named Nightlife that throws off 7-8 blooms per bulb. Golden State had a great demonstration of growing Calla’s for cut flowers that we’ll be researching in more depth for our cut flower growers. There were wonderful new Kwik Combo’s from Syngenta that make super colorful statements in baskets and containers. Syngenta is also releasing a new ‘milliflora’ petunia series called Picobella Cascade, the first of its type from seed.


I loved Danziger’s new Argyranthemum called Pompon Yellow. It has a very compact, branched habit with lively yellow cushiony flowers. Very nice! At Hem Genetics the message was very clear – try to grow genetically dwarf annuals when you can – it helps reduce the use of PGR’s (plant growth regulators), simplifies production, and home gardeners will still enjoy a nice plant habit and performance in the garden. Hem Genetics has adopted the phrase ‘How Low Can You Grow’ for any of their flowers series that fall into this class, which I think sums it up perfectly! Examples are Petunia Limbo and Mambo, Salvia Reddy, and their 2013 introduction – the Nano series of Geranium.

Next season look for Triology petunias from Takii Seed. This full-fledged spreading petunia series boasts a plant habit with shorter internodes than most other trailing petunias, giving it a densely branched compact habit that will ultimate spread to about 30” in the garden or containers. I particularly liked Triology Purple with its bright purple blossoms that completely cover the plant. Their demonstration showed you’ll only need one plant to yield a full blossom covered 10” basket.

On Monday we visit Sakata Seed in Salinas, and Floranova in Lompoc., so stay tuned!


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