Trials Information

The purpose of the trial program conducted at the Annual Flower Trial Garden is to evaluate the performance of different annual plant cultivars under our unique Rocky Mountain environmental conditions. Our growing conditions are characterized by high altitude, intense solar radiation, drying winds, severe hailstorms, large fluctuations between day and night temperatures and a season-long need for irrigation. Each year, our annual trial consists of over 1,000 different cultivars of annual bedding plants. Varieties are grouped by genus, arranged by color and grown in rows, side-by-side, so as to facilitate the comparison of similar varieties. In addition to the Annual Trial, we also have a Pansy/Cool-season Crop Overwintering Trial that tests a plant’s ability to overwinter in the Northern Colorado climate, as well as a new two-year Perennial Trial program designed to test newer perennial cultivars that have been introduced in the past three years or less.

Trial Results

Trial Garden Seasonal Process

  • Early Spring: Inventory and disinfecting of approximately 25,000 pots and 15,000 trays.
  • Mid-Spring: Pots are filled with soil. Cuttings and seed varieties are planted in pots. Pots are placed in trays and set in greenhouses to mature through the spring.
  • Early Summer: Over 1,000 varieties are planted in beds and containers in the trial gardens.
  • Mid-Summer: Maintenance of the gardens is done by weeding, deadheading, and irrigating to assure maximum performance.
  • Late Summer: Evaluations are done by industry personnel and other invited guests involved with the gardens.
  • Fall: A report is written with research taken from the trials and sent to companies that participated in the trials.
  • Winter: Preparations begin for the next trial year.

Each year these plants are evaluated by industry personnel based on vigor, uniformity, floriferousness, and tolerance to the environmental conditions. The results of this research is extended to people throughout the state for selection of the best plants for sale in Colorado.