For those who didn’t have a chance to attend the California Spring Trials, Local Plant Source Chief Horticulturist Meghan Peoples discusses the plants she’s most excited about, and why. (Just remember — these plants are still being introduced to growers and may not be available on the market for landscapers and contractors for another year.)
Begonia double beucoup pink bicolor:
The double beucoup, from Greenfuse Botanicals, Inc., is a winner because of its tolerance to a wide range of environments, easy maintenance and vivid blend of colors, from yellow to tangerine to pink and orange, Peoples said. The plant should perform well in hanging baskets and combination planters.
Part of the Cloeus Mainstreet Series, by Dümmen Orange, the new 16” copper, bronze and purple Wall Street variety grows well in full sun or in full shade and in city environments, providing a unique texture for any garden when grown in groups, as well as in containers and hanging baskets, Peoples said. For those wanting a different color, the Mainstreet series includes a variety of options, all cleverly named and marketed after the most prominent streets in America: Broadway, River Walk, Fifth Avenue, Abbey Road, Michigan Avenue.
Double Petunia Double Cascade:
One of the more feminine and beautiful flowers shown off at the trials was this pink, purple, white and violet jewel by PanAmerican Seed. The grandiflora petunias can be grown as perennials in plant hardiness zones 10 and 11 and as annuals elsewhere.
These large, extravagantly ruffled blossoms may look delicate, but they were bred for weather resistance and should withstand (most) storms, Peoples said. Their bright, long-lasting colors make them good butterfly attractors and they should grow extraordinarily well through the summer in the garden, containers and hanging baskets. The low-maintenance flowers grow to 4-6” wide and 10-15” tall.
Lavandula Stoechas ‘Pat Leigh’
The Patleigh, by KiwiGold, is characterized by its dark purple flowers, yellow sterile bracts and citrus fragrance. It was discovered by accident in 2005 in a Lavandula stoechas plant bed in Wairau Valley, New Zealand. The flower is a both drought-tolerant and a pollinator that attracts birds, bees and butterflies, Peoples said. The flower, which grows to 24 inches tall and spreads about 18 inches, is also suitable for cutting, drying and preserving.
Limonium Salt Lake
Limonium Salt Lake, by Royal Van Zanten, is notable for its salt tolerance, helpful during prevalent drought conditions in places like California and in urban areas with water sources that have higher saline content. It’s also notable for its long flowering season; its dense white and lavender blooms attract butterflies and bees and last from spring until first frost, Peoples said.
Night Sky Petunia
This flower, by Ball Seed, has had growers buzzing for years, as it had a previous soft introduction that won it a lot of notoriety and industry awards due to its unique and distinctive white-on-purple speckled pattern that resembles a dramatic starry night sky. If its groundbreaking vibrant colors and speckles — a world-first in flower patterning that mark a breakthrough in flower breeding — aren’t enough to attract buyers, this gorgeous flower is also easy-to-grow and weather-hardy, Peoples said.