2012 "Best of" Annuals

Best New Variety – Lantana ‘Luscious Berry Blend’ from Proven Winners

Besides the prolific flowering, this variety was an eye catcher due to a beautiful blend of bright flower colors. Plants had great vigor and formed a dense canopy. Another superior feature is that it produces virtually no fruit or seeds and saves its energy for a constant show of blooms.

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Best Novelty – Tecoma ‘Bells of Fire’ from Plug Connections

This plant has a very tropical look to both the foliage and flowers. Besides the unique appearance, flowering often begins as a small plant in the greenhouse and continues throughout the summer. The blooms remind many of those on a trumpet vine. Flowers are an attractive blend of orange/red and showy.

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Best Angelonia – ‘Carita™ Purple’ from Syngenta Flower

This Angelonia variety performed well in a container but looked remarkable in the ground. Outstanding features included the many flowers with a deep, rich purple color on an attractive, vigorous plant with good foliage color.

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Best Argyranthemum – ‘Everest’ from Danziger

Attractive blue/green foliage was combined with the large, white, daisy-like flowers. Blooming was strong and continued through the heat of the summer and late into the season. Plants were uniform in growth habit and slightly larger than most other Argyranthemums.

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Best Begonia boliviensis – ‘Santa Cruz’ from Benary

This begonia surprised some since it was grown in full sun during a very hot summer and evaluators noted that it was “tougher than you think”. Not only did it survive these conditions but it thrived as evidenced by the robust, seed-grown plants and uniform growth habit. Flowering was strong through the season and blooms have a wonderful fiery shade of red/orange. Colorado’s higher light exposure makes the leaf become more “bronze” in color.

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Best Begonia x hybrida – ‘Whopper Rose Green Leaf’ from Ball Ingenuity

The adjective “whopper” used in the name is definitely not a misnomer. Its impressive overall vigor is immediately noticeable in the large, uniform growth habit as well as the sizeable flowers. Beautiful green leaves compliment the bright, rose colored flowers. Plant growth excelled in full sun and it is reported they do just as well in shade.

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Best Calibrachoa – ‘Superbells Lemon Slice’ from Proven Winners

Striking yellow and white bicolor pattern on the flowers is very showy even as a small plant while in the greenhouse. Prolific blooming and good vigor made it very popular with evaluators who also ranked it high for consideration for both “Best of Show” and “Best New Variety”.

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Best Coleus – ‘Wasabi’ from Ball FloraPlant

Bright, chartreuse foliage and vigorous growth habit make this plant a standout from across the garden. Up close, the ruffled leaf edge adds some textural interest. Vigor was impressive and it grew to be a large plant even in full sun.

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Best Combo – ‘Kwik Kombos™ Night in Pompeii™’ Syngenta

Flowers This combo has excellent balance in all areas as no one plant dominated the other (lobelia, petunia, verbena) . The striking color combination created a “mysterious, moody” appearance. A nice blend of large and small flowers makes it visually interesting as well. Growth habit is very symmetrical and flowering occurs from the center all the way to the edge throughout the summer.

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Best Diascia – ‘Darla® Deep Salmon 11’ from Syngenta Flowers

Prolific blooming gave this variety an impressive canopy of salmon flowers throughout the summer despite the intense heat. Flower color remained steadfast in the full sun and flowers were relatively large.

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Best Dahlia – ‘XXL Hidalgo’ from Dummen USA

This plant brings a unique class to the garden dahlia category and was a standout without special care. The flowers are relatively large and noted for having a deep rich “butter-French” color. Flowering started early and continued strong late into the season complimented by the dark green foliage. This dahlia will add stature and glamour to the typical garden.

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Best Geranium (ivy) – ‘Grand Idols Purple’ from Fides North America

Prolific, bright flowers combined nicely with the full plants and uniform growth habit. The unique flower color was more of a rose or neon pink than purple as described in it’s name.

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Best Geranium (zonal) – ‘Caliente® Fire’ from Syngenta Flowers

Impressive color dominates this plant from the rich red flowers to the unusually dark green foliage. The color contrast is striking but so is the prolific blooming and overall uniformity. It grew well despite a summer of unusually intense heat. The exceptionally good branching habit of this variety brings together it’s European and American breeding.

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Best Lantana – ‘Little Lucky Pot of Gold’ from Ball FloraPlant

Plants were dark green and loaded with rich, gold flowers which created a magnificent contrast. The growth habit was very uniform. This plant was bred for borders and also makes an excellent groundcover.

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Best Impatiens (seed) – ‘Impreza White’ from PanAmerican Seed

The floriferous, clean white flowers on this variety made an impressive display with the dark green foliage. Growth habit and flowering was very consistent on each plant. The variety is also noted for remaining manageable in greenhouse production and its ability to hold and not stretch in the pac.

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Best Lobelia – ‘Magadi Blue’ from Selecta

Despite two weeks of unexpected temperatures near 100°F in June, flowering remained strong even late in the season on this variety. Blue flowers had a small white eye that shows well with the dark green foliage. Plants had good vigor and no dieback.

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Best Marigold – ‘Christy Orange Improved’ from Ameriseed

Relatively large orange flowers were noted as being “super double” due to their high petal count. Short, compact plants with dark foliage not only contrasted nicely with the orange flowers but had the added feature of not lodging despite the overhead watering. This created a problem for some other Marigold varieties.

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Best Osteospermum – ‘Serenity Dark Purple’ from Ball FloraPlant

Rich, dark purple flowers were large and very showy. Blooming continued throughout an exceptionally long, hot summer. These healthy plants were noted for having a nice, tight growth habit.

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Best New Guinea Impatiens – ‘Super Sonic® Magenta 08’ from Syngenta Flowers

Beautiful rich, red flowers had blue undertones that created a unique shade of magenta. Blooms were huge and very showy. Overall growth of the plants was large but with excellent uniformity.

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Best Petunia (veg-mini) – ‘Littletunia Blue Vein’ from Danziger

This plant was characterized by prolific flowers that had attractive dark veins streaking through the petal. Plants were exceptionally vigorous and enveloped the container to create a “ball made of flowers”.

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Best Petunia (seed-spreading) – ‘Trilogy White’ from American Takii, Inc.

The prolific flowers had a crisp, clean white color making a striking display. Plants did not lodge and maintained a uniform, mounded growth habit. Blooms were relatively large.

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Best Petunia (veg-spreading) – ‘Whispers™ Star Rose’ from Syngenta Flowers

Intense flowering resulted in blooms covering the plant so as to hardly see any foliage. Flowers were a striking combination of white flowers with a rose “star” pattern. Plants were compact early on in the greenhouse but had exceptional vigor and uniformity in outdoor trials.

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Best Purslane/Portulaca – ‘Happy Trails Deep Red’ from PanAmerican Seed

Flowers had a very deep red color with double petals. Plants were vigorous, taller than most varieties, and with good foliage color.

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Best Scaevola – ‘Bombay® Dark Blue’ from Syngenta Flowers

Dark blue flowers were very numerous throughout the season. Plants liked the unusually hot summer and the growth habit remained tight and uniform.

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Best Sun New Guinea Impatiens – ‘Sun Harmony Salmon’ from Danziger

These plants were specifically bred for high sun tolerance and many varieties in this category looked good. Despite the strong competition, ‘Sun Harmony Salmon’ was selected as the best for abundant flowers and vigorous yet uniform plants. It was impressive when grown in either the ground or in a container.

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Best Torenia – ‘Summer Wave Large Amethyst’ from Suntory Flowers, Ltd.

These robust plants had green foliage which was dark and glossy. Abundant flowers were noted for having a deep blue amethyst color that made a nice contrast with the foliage.

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Best Verbena (spreading) – ‘Lanai® Deep Purple’ from Syngenta Flowers

Competition for the “Best Of” was quite intense in this category but the abundant dark purple flowers won the day for this variety. The plants were vigorous but very uniform and maintained good blooms throughout the season.

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Additional “Plants Rated as Superior” for 2012

    Lobularia ‘Lavender Stream’ from Danziger

    This variety was a standout for its unique rich purple flower color. It was also chosen for a superior growth habit that had excellent controlled vigor. Evaluators stated that it “plays well with others” and would not overgrow other plants in a border.

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    Ornamental Millet ‘Jade Princess’ from Ball Ingenuity

    One of the most unique and eye catching plants in the garden due to the large, fuzzy seed head. As the flower inflorescence emerges the color begins with a rich maroon and chartreuse coloring and maturing into a solid dark maroon plume. The large fluffy panicle flower emerging from the foliage brings to mind the image of a fox sneaking through tall grass. Foliage is a wide chartreuse leaf blade.

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