Last Month'sCalifornia Spring Trials (CAST) produced some wonderful new, more heat-resistant strains of our favorite flowers to provide an exciting new array of plant material to choose from, and HGTVGardens and Greenhouse Grower have both provided previews of the newly available plant materials shown at CAST. Here are some of our personal favorites:
Above: 'Dreamtime' Jumbo Rose Bracteantha by BallFlora Plant: A stunning and sunny middle with pink ombre petals, there's nothing not modern about this pointed rose.
Above: Night Sky Petunia by Selecta: A beautiful petunia with purple and white petals that resemble the cosmos, but it won't be available until 2017.
Above: Fiesta Stardust Purple double impatiens from BallFlora: Layered through and through, this rose-like flower features splashes of pink and white for a stunning texturized showing.
Above: 4D Osteospermum Series from Selecta: Featuring an inner burst of purple petals enhanced by an outer burst of white to violet petals depending on the variety, the flowers stay open 24/7. There's also a yellow variety.
Above: Mega Revolution Salmon Pink Dark Eye Gerbera from Kieft Seed: This pastel colored layered African daisy offers a soft reprieve from the influx of bright neon petals displayed by other plants.
Above: Spring Matrix Purple White Pansy and Solar Flare Matrix Pansy from PanAmerican Seed: These high-contrasting flowers are built to last in the garden. The high-contrasting Purple White pansy features yellow, purple and white petals while the Solar Flare pansy will feature yellow and red petals in the heat.
Above: Orchid Pink Angelonia from BallFlora Plant Archangel line: Drought tolerant, deer resistant, heat tolerant and colorful — what more could a gardener ask for?
Above: Red and Yellow Eye Dahlia from Selecta: Its yellow-to-red bicolored petals are repeat bloomers resistant to mildew.
Above: Bidens Campfire Fireburst by Proven Winners: These uniquely-colored rustic orange and yellow bicolor blooms reach 8-12 inches tall. They require a lot of sun and are heat and drought tolerant.
Above: Lantana Luscious Pinkberry Blend by Proven Winners: This large, heat tolerant lantana offers a wide-ranging variety of vigorous color for the garden.
Above: Pericallis 'Senetti Sparkle Lavender' by Suntory Flowers: These heat-resistent re-flowering pericallis offer large blooms in light pink, sky blue an lavender.
Above: Zinnia UpTown Frosted Strawberry from Burpee: Tall and strong with a double flower, these ombre plants are heat resistent and water-wise.
Of course, the availability of new plant materials might be limited or vary from plant to plant, and not all plants grow well in heat-heavy Texas. While Texas' majorspring trial events happen in June, Texas A & M Professor of Horticultural Services Brent Pemberton — the head of theTexas A & M AgriLife Texas Superstar Plant program — visited the California Spring Trials to see which new plants there might prosper in the Texas heat. He recently shared his findings through a webinar available on YouTube.
"It's quite an experience to visit all the nurseries and see all the plant material that they have on display," Pemberton said, adding that he eagerly awaits the results of his own trials. "Its amazing to me how much new stuff comes out each year."
Here's just a preview of some of the plants Pemberton recommended for Texas, in no particular order:
Above: Sweet Series Garvinea by Holland: These vibrant nearly-neon colored flowers boast larger blooms than traditional garvineas but with the same great garden tolerance, Pemberton said. The garvineas come in orange, yellow, pink, purple, white and red.
Above: Jolt Dianthsus Series by PanAmerican Seed: Developed for the summer to have a great deal of heat tolerance, this heavily floral plant can provide a great deal of colorful pink and cheery ground covering. "If they are going to flower like this during the summer in the heat, that's going to be quite impressive," Pemberton said.
Above: Balsamic Blooms Basil by EuroAmerican: This dual-purpose plant features both purple ornamental flowers and heavy foliage for culinary use, this plant will be best suited for containers, Pemberton said.
Above: Dutch Mill Drive Coleus from Dummen: Brightly colored yellow and green leafs make this plant stand out enough for Pemberton to list it among his favorites.
Above: Begonia Bossa Nova Series by Floranova: This bell-shaped, cascading flower that offers long-lasting garden performance can be purchased in red, orange, rose, white, ivory, pink glow, yellow, pure white and salmon.
Above: Hypnotica Dahlinovia Dahlia Series by Dummen: Thanks to recent improvements Dummen has made to its dahlia series in recent years, Pemberton is hopeful that dahlias will finally find a home in Texas, he said. "There is a series that Dummen has that is called the XXL Series, which is probably the best dahlia I have ever trialed. They have large flowers but they are very heat tolerant and they go through the summer better than most dahlias." The new Hypnotica series "has bigger flowers, they are beefier plants and lot of times that means better heat tolerance for us."
Above: Ketchup and Fries Plant from SuperNaturals Grafted Vegetables: The top grows tomatoes and the bottom grows potatoes.
Above: Salvia Summer Jewel Series by Takii: This is a good pollinator plant that has done well in Texas field trials, Pemberton said. "The red one is very attractive to hummingbirds, I use it on the base of my hummingbird feeder at home," he added.
Dragon’s Breath Celosia by Sakata: This plant "screams Texas," Pemberton said, adding that the plant's spectacular flowers should bloom in both the spring and the fall, while providing great foliage displays in the summer. "You can get weeks of color and it’s a big beefy heat tolerant plant."
Above: Petunia Grandflora TriTunia Series by Syngenta: The TriTunia series combines the best of Syngenta's former petunias into one flower, making them "a really good example of some of the blending of some of the best plant materials coming from these companies," Pemberton said.
Above: Gerbera Hello Series by Proven Winners: These plants have nice-sized blooms and many of them, and have held up astonishingly well in Pemberton's field trials, he said. "These are definitely bred for garden use. I had these last year as experimentals in full hot blazing sun in my field trial and they performed admirably all summer long," he said, adding that they've come back up just as strong."
You tell us: What new plants are you most excited about?