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1998 Cultivar Trials

1998 ASCFG National Cut Flower Trials

  • John Dole
  • Oklahoma State University

Overview:

One of the most novel flowers in the 1998 trial was Centauria americana ‘Jolly Joker’ (Benary Seed) with its large, thistle-like lavender flowers. The buds had a net-like covering, from which the common name of basket flower is derived. While the long-lasting flowers were most popular, the intricate buds can also be dried. Centauria americana is native to south-central and southwest United States.

The popularity of sunflowers does not seem to be waning, either from the growers perspective or the breeder’s perspective. Both Benary’s Helianthus ‘Soraya’ and Pan American’s Helianthus ‘Prado Red’ did well in the trial. ‘Soraya’ was noted for its orange color, intermediate-size flower, sturdy stems and upward facing flowers. The deep crimson color of ‘Prado Red’ attracted much attention. Prado Red was also noted for its long vaselife and apparently pollen-less flowers.

Cramer’s Spray Millet (Cramer’s Posie Patch) is the first time a grass has done so well in the trial. This beautiful grass was used both fresh and dried and grew vigorously in the field. On a personal note, considering that local growers in Oklahoma are having success marketing grasses (which is like selling snow to a Minnesotan), everyone should at least try a few grasses.

Capsicum annuum ‘Chili Pepper’ (Cramer’s Posie Patch) is the reason why we may want to leaves the word ‘flowers’ out of the phrase ‘specialty cut flowers’. The bright red fruit garnered a lot of attention in the trials and could be used both fresh and dried Other respondents liked the vigorous growth and upright fruit habit.

Delphinium ‘Clear Springs Midblue’ and ‘Clear Springs White’ from Pan American has continued the tradition of high performance for this series as the other colors have also done well in the trial. The series is noted for its colors, strong stems, uniformity, and vigor.

The magenta color of Snapdragon ‘Apollo Purple’ (Pan American) was commented on by most of the respondents. The long straight stems, early flowering, good seed germination and unusual flower form were also noted by trialers.

Many annual aster cultivars do well for some growers yet perform poorly for others and, consequently, often receive only average scores in the trials. However, both series of asters did well in the trials this year: Pan American’s Aster ‘Meteor Carmine Red’ and ‘Meteor Violet Blue’ and Sakata’s Aster ‘Serenade Blue’ and ‘Serenade Red’. The ‘Meteors’ were noted for their large flowers, clear colors, and sturdy upright stems. The excellent vaselife of the ‘Serenades’ was mentioned by several respondents, as well as its colors and productivity. Look for more colors in the Serenade series to be released in 1999.

Disclaimer:

The numbers reported are averages of all the respondents and many factors will affect the success of any plant species. Our participants are growing and harvesting the trial plants in a wide variety of ways. For example, with annual asters some people harvest the entire plant as one bunch while others harvest each individual flowering branch, giving very different lengths and yield data. If a plant does well for most of the respondents, it is likely to do well for you. On the other hand, if a cultivar didn’t appear to do well in the trial, it may still be a great cultivar for you. Thus, we have included summaries of the respondents comments to help interpret the data. In summary, review the trial results carefully. If a species sounds interesting but did not appear to do well, try it anyway. The cultivar may work well for you.  

Acknowledgments:

A hearty thank you to all of the evaluators who returned their trial reports and to the seed companies for providing such great cultivars. I also would like to thank Leah Aufill, Clydette Alsup, and Starla Dyke for their assistance in preparing this report. In preparing the report I have edited evaluator’s comments for space and clarity; my apologies if I’ve altered the tone or content of anyone’s comments. Thanks to everyone for making this service of ASCFG possible.

1998 ASCFG National Perennial Trials

John Dole

Oklahoma State University

Overview:

Welcome to the first annual ASCFG Perennial Trial Report. Thirty one perennials were evaluated by eight growers (one per ASCFG region) and two universities (Oklahoma State University and University of Georgia). Each of the growers paid $100 for shipping expenses and agreed to provide data for at least two years. Plant were donated by four perennial producers and shipped the perennial plugs or dormant roots directly to the trialers.

We had a number of winning perennials in the first year. To be honest, I was surprised at how many of the perennials flowered in the first year and did very well. I cannot wait until next year when the plants are well established and hitting peak production. The following are a few of the species that distinguished themselves in the first year. Next year’s report on these species will include information on cold hardiness.

As a group yarrows tend to make excellent cut flowers because of their rapid, durable growth and Achillea ‘Fireland’ and ‘Terra Cotta’ support this assertion. Both cultivars were vigorous and productive and produced large flower heads on long stems. The colors were well received. For growers who haven’t grown any of the yarrows be aware that the foliage has a fragrance which can turn down right smelly if it decays during postharvest and marketing.

The many short spikes of fragrant, creamy yellow florets from Buddleia ‘Sungold’ produced a different twist on the usual purple, pink and red butterfly bush. The plants were productive with few insects and diseases. For those of us in the south, we noted the exceptional heat and drought tolerance. Buddleias are generally not very cold tolerant so the next test will come this winter in the northern trial locations.

One of the most striking attributes of Caryopteris clandonensis ‘Blue Knight’ was its great blue color. With many cultivar names that include the word ‘blue’ the flowers are actually a light purple; however, Caryopteris is the real thing. The whorls of fragrant flowers were numerous and long lasting. Caryopteris is actually a small shrub treated as a perennial and as such the stems were rigid and easy to use. Several respondents indicated that the stems were short this year, but are likely to be longer next year.

Eupatorium fistulosum ‘Gateway’ was a stately plant with interesting light to dark lavender fuzzy flowers. The large flower heads were carried atop dark green foliage on dark purple stems. The heat and drought tolerant plants are similar to the native species, which limited sales for at least one respondent.

Prolific describes Persicaria amplexicaule ‘Firetail’ which produced numerous short pink to red spikes of tiny florets. The flowers were long lasting as a fresh cut and dried well according to at least one respondent.

One of the stateliest of garden flowers is the phlox and three excellent cultivars were Phlox paniculata ‘Icecap’, ‘Miss Pepper’, and ‘Red Eye’. All three received high marks for their colors, large heads, fragrance and long stems. Several respondents indicated that the stems were short this first year but should be longer next year.

‘Interesting’, ‘exotic’,’orchid-like’ are three words used to describe Tricyrtis sinonome which are certainly better descriptors than the common name of Toad Lily. The clusters of nickel to half-dollar sized flowers were carried atop straight unbranched stems of lily-like foliage. The leaves often had burned edges and were a detraction. This species would probably do best with some shade, especially in southern areas of the country.

Veronica ‘Blauriesen’ was another plant in the trial with rich blue flowers arranged in short spikes. Each plant produced numerous long lasting flowers. While this plant is naturally short, stems will hopefully be longer next year.

Disclaimer:

The numbers reported are averages of all the respondents and many factors will affect success of any plant species. Our participants are growing and harvesting the trial plants in a wide variety of ways. Thus, if a plant does well for most of the respondents, it is likely to do well for you. On the other hand, if a cultivar didn’t appear to do well in the trial, it may still be a great cultivar for you. Thus we have included summaries of the respondents comments to help interpret the data. In summary, review the trial results carefully. If a species sounds interesting but did not appear to do well, try it anyway. The cultivar may work well for you.

Acknowledgments:

All cut flower growers should thank the perennial producers for providing the plant materials and the growers for producing the plants, collecting data and submitting trial reports. I would especially like to compliment Priscilla Emerson, Bob Wollom and Betsy Hitt who participated in both the seed and perennials trials and returned evaluations on all of their trial plants. Considering the number of plants this was not an easy task.

Cultivars

  • Achillea
    • Fireland
    • Terra Cotta
  • Aconitum
    • carmichaelii
  • Agastache
    • Tutti Frutti
  • Amaranthus cruentus
    • Giant Copperhead
  • Anaphalis margaritacea
    • New Snow
  • Antirrhinum (Snapdragon)
    • Apollo Ivory
    • Apollo Purple
  • Aster
    • Meteor Carmine Red
    • Meteor Violet Blue
    • Serenade Blue
    • Serenade Red
    • Serenade White
    • White Master
  • Astilbe x arendsii
    • Grande
  • Astrantia major
    • Ruby Cloud
  • Baptisia
    • australis
  • Buddleia x weyeriana
    • Sungold
  • Calendula officinalis
    • Black Centered Golden Princess
    • Black Centered Orange Princess
    • Golden Princess
  • Capsicum annuum
    • Chili Pepper
  • Carthamus tinctorius
    • Superior Orange
  • Caryopteris clandonensis
    • Dark Knight
  • Centauria americana
    • Jolly Joker
  • Chelone lyonii
    • Hot Lips
  • Coreopsis
    • tripteris
  • Delphinium
    • Clear Springs Midblue
    • Clear Springs White
  • Dianthus
    • Floristan
  • Digitalis
    • ferruginea
  • Eupatorium fistulosum
    • Gateway
  • Eustoma (Lisianthus)
    • Malibu Blue Blush
    • Malibu Blue Rim
    • Malibu Deep Blue
    • Malibu Lilac
    • Malibu White
    • Mirage Blue Rim
    • Mirage Light Pink Rim
    • Mirage Pure White Rim
  • Gomphrena globosa
    • Buddy Rose
  • Helianthus (Sunflower)
    • Prado Gold
    • Prado Red
    • Soraya
  • Iris
    • pseudocorus
  • Kniphofia uvaria
    • Flamenco
  • Liatris
    • Floristan Violet
    • microcephela
  • Limonium (Statice)
    • Fortress Apricot
    • Fortress Dark Blue
    • Fortress Heavenly Blue
    • Fortress Purple
    • Fortress Rose
    • Fortress White
    • Fortress Yellow
  • Lobelia
    • Compliment Green Leaf Pink with Eye
    • Fan Bronze Leaf Deep Rose
    • Fan Scarlet
    • siphilitica
  • Melica transsilvanica
    • Red Spire
  • Mentha
    • Purple Sensation
  • Millet
    • Cramer’s Spray
  • Monarda didyma
    • Jacob Cline
    • Red Shade
  • Patrinia
    • scabiosifolia
  • Penstemon
    • Husker Red
    • Sour Grapes
  • Persicaria amplexicaule
    • Firetail
  • Phlox paniculata
    • Icecap
    • Miss Pepper
    • Red Eyes
  • Rudbeckia
    • maxima
  • Salvia
    • Marashino
  • Silene
    • orientalis
  • Tricyrtis
    • Shirohotogisu
    • sininome
  • Veronica
    • Blauriesen
  • Veronicastrum
    • virginicum

Participating Seed Companies – Annual Trials, 1998

Benary Seed
1444 Larson St.
Sycamore, IL 60178
www.benary.com

PanAmerican Seed
P.O. Box 438
West Chicago, IL 60186
www.panamseed.com

Sakata Seed America
18095 Serene Drive
Morgan Hill, CA 95037
www.sakata.com

Cramer’s Posie Patch
116 Trail Road North
Elizabethtown, PA 17022

Participating Seed Companies – Perennials, 1998

Grow’n Sell/Benary
320 Lower State Rd.
Chalfont, PA 18914
215-822-1276
FAX 215-997-1770
www.gro-n-sell.com

Green Leaf Enterprises (GL)
17 West Main St.
Leola, PA 17540
800-233-0285
FAX 717-656-0465

Here & Now Gardens (HN)
P.O. Box 6
Gales Creek, OR 97117
503-357-5774
FAX 503-357-3858

North Creek Nursery (NC)
388 North Creek Rd.
Landenberg, PA 19350
610-255-0100
FAX 610-255-4762

  • Cut Flower
  • Perennial

Growers

  • Cut Flower
  • Perennial
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