Around the bend

There are plenty of plants that will nicely fill out a job this year.

January 17, 2012
Supplier News


Ken Ruch with George Didden Greenhouses

What’s new for the landscape in 2012 in your region?

Many of these plants are not brand new, but many landscapers have been reluctant to try something new because of increased cost or not knowing much about these newer plants.  We encourage our landscapers to try these in their own yard or in a limited area so you can see the value in trying some of these newer items.

Angelonia – A great plant that just performs.  Wet, dry, sunny, cloudy, it just performs all the way to frost and does not go out of flower all summer.  The Serena series is a newer variety of angelonia from seed that offers some value and has a very uniform habit – great for large beds. There’s a new blue color to the series this year.

Lobularia Snow Princess – A white alyssum on steroids, very vigorous, low growing, space filling plant, that holds up well in sunny locations.  It will hold up in the heat when regular alyssum poops out. Give it room to run and it can be trimmed if it gets too big. Last thing I pulled out this fall looked good until November.

Begonia Gryphon – A new accent plant, and don’t think of this as a typical begonia. The large growing begonia has a unique tropical foliage appeal and would look great as an accent plant in large containers or a “wow” factor in large beds.   

Begonia Gryphon







Senetti – This is a colored daisy type flower that does well in cool weather. It’s another “wow” factor accent plant for large containers – beautiful, bright colors.  Once the first set of flowers are done blooming, you can trim them off and you will get a second flush of flowers. It will be finished blooming by mid to late May, but if you want some wow factor early consider using this plant.

How do you identify good plants for your region?
We evaluate new plants on several levels:  
•    We get samples every year from several breeders and grow the varieties in our greenhouse to see how they perform.
•    I take a sample of the top performers home and plant them in my beds.
•    We visit the plant trial grounds in Landisville, Pa.  They display over 1,200 varieties of plants. Most of the new annuals are on display here, and you can see how they perform under outdoor conditions.  I recommend to all our customers to stop by at least once to check it out. It’s a great place to see how different series of plants compare to others in the same category.
•    Our own landscape beds. We have several beds on our property that get planted with varieties that we want to evaluate.
•    We try to get feedback from our customers that have tried some of the newer stuff to see how it performs.


Donal Nichols, sales manager, Mobley Plant Farm

What’s new for the landscape in 2012 in your region?

Alternanthera ‘Brazilian Red Hots’– A colorful foliage plant that is great for containers and bed designs.
Begonia ‘Gryphon’ – An accent plant that must be used.
Begonia ‘Whopper’ – Containers and bed designs will stand out with this addition.
Coleus Electric Lime – Great accent lime green that pop’s with color.
Coleus Kiwi Fern – The color and leaf patterns add interest to a container                
Dichondra ‘Silver Falls’– For baskets or containers, this is a must have.
Ornamental Millet ‘Jade Princess’– A unique addition to a container.
Lantana ‘Bright Orange’– A true solid orange that grow 6-8 inches.

What do you have right now that a landscaper should use in their installations?

Annuals are back. Property managers have noticed increased traffic with the addition of seasonal color beds. Our landscapers are seeing their budgets increase and new revenue being generated. If you don’t have a program for seasonal color, now is the time.

We are also growing a larger selection of native and perennials.  A few stand outs are:  

Rudbeckia ‘Triloba’ – Put on a great show of color and require little maintenance.
Amsonia hubrichtii – Light blue flowers in spring are followed by a marvelous display of foliage in summer and golden yellow fall color. Drought tolerant when established.
Chasmanthium latifolium – A great choice for wet areas, but is drought tolerant. An interesting foliage plant.
Dianthus ‘Firewitch’ – Great foliage and flowers, and low, growing neat appearance.            
Heucheras – All the varieties we carry are a great addition to the landscape. They are a strong performer with little maintenance.

 Heuchera Mint Frost







How do you identify good plants for your region?

Research, and a lot of it. We are lucky enough to be close to the University of Georgia Trial Gardens run by Dr. Allan Armitage, and we visit the gardens frequently taking notes. We also take data from other trial gardens throughout the country, trade magazines, and trade shows. We then bring in sample plants for a test grow at our facility. If they perform well, we will add to our production the following year.


Jim Clesen, Ron Clesen Ornamental Plants

What’s new for the landscape in 2012 in your region?
New introductions that we are featuring this year include: Begonia Whopper Red, Calibrachoa Superbells Grape Punch, Coleus Wasabi, Hibiscus Mahogany Splendor, Impatiens Patchwork Lavender Shades, Leycesteria Jealousy, and Marigold Moonstruck Lemon Yellow, Osteospermum 3D Silver, Supertunia White Russian and Verbena Lanai Twister.

What do you have right now that a landscaper should use in their installations?

Dahlia Hypnotica Lavender – The large radiant lavender flower is second to none.  This plant basil branches beyond belief, which initiates more hypnotical flowers bursting during the summer heat.  It tends to be rain and mildew resistant.

Geranium Caliente Series – The colors are stunningly vivid.  The plant branches very nice, causing many single flowers to constantly flutter above the canopy. The best part is since it is a single flower, the flower stems are not as thick as traditional geraniums.  Meaning that, for the most part, little to no deadheading.

Caliente Pink





Purple Prairie Clover (Dalea purpurea) – Beautiful textured rose – magenta flower with orange tips. A very fine leaf textured plant that mingles very well with plants and grasses in your garden.  It grows in many types of soils, and performs in a full sun to partial shade environment.  It’s drought tolerant and very well behaved in a manicured setting.  

Prairie Drop seed (Sporobolus heterolepis) – This is a perfect example of a must have native grass. Plays well with others (perennials and annuals) and when the seed head flowers, it has sweet popcorn like fragrance. This is one of those plants that make other plants look even better. This plant is by far our favorite native plant.



 Prairie Dropseed



How do you identify good plants for your region?

We go to many field trials and display gardens through the year.  We look for the performance in ground as wells as in the containers. We adopt the plants that consistently perform in all settings into our product line.  We also look at products currently in our product line for any decrease in performance. Plants that are vegetatively propagated, many times the breeder will change the genetics, choose from a different mother plant base and not communicate to the grower.  It can be part of the reason why a plant that has performed well in your landscape for the past five years, doesn’t perform well now.

Melanie Meszaros, sales manager, Y–C Nurseries

What’s new for the landscape in 2012 in your region?

Of course, I feel the succulents will hit the Dallas area more so this year then pass because of all the water restrictions.  So, the landscapers will have to be more creative with their designs to incorporate them in with splashes of drought resistant color.

What do you have right now that a landscaper should use in their installations?

Right now we have pansies and violas and we are over-wintering perennials.  Your pansies and violas require very little water to stay alive. They come with a large color palate. These will last into March and as late as April. They require very little water and brighten up the landscape.  

 Autumn Blaze Pansy







How do you identify good plants for your region?

Being cautious on your selection, know what special conditions of those beds. For example, shade, sun, drip irrigation and area planting in.

Anything else you’d like to add?

I hope for the landscape industries sake that homeowners and property managers that read water restriction articles, read them to their entirety.  The beginning of the articles promote horrible scenarios, but as you read on, you realize that we can do something to conserve water and not put our green industries out of business.


Steve Abruzzo, sales manager, Martinez Farms

What’s new for the landscape in 2012 in your region?
There is definitely a push for flowering plants that last longer in the landscape. This is being aggressively pushed by the breeders and the brokers directly to landscapers and also the growers. The economy is driving much of this as budgets are being adjusted by many of the commercial and residential customers. In the past, changeouts of annual color was common every 90 days to 120 days. Now there is a shift to varieties that last longer. There are also situations where the color beds have been minimized and annuals are combined with perennials, grasses, shrubs or ground cover roses.

What do you have right now that a landscaper should use in their installations?

We got into succulents in the last few years which have been a real nice addition to our product line. Even though the California drought was officially announced as being over, succulents and low water use plants really offer the industry a great option for conservation and lowering their water bills. Plants like Senecio serpens are great additions to our ground cover program.

 Senecio Serpens




Limbo petunias are amazing in the landscape as we have had some commercial jobs where these lasted six months in full bloom and never overgrew. It is the only genetic dwarf grandiflora series on the market. We do not need to apply PGRs on them, which is always a good thing. They are easy to grow and great in Southern California conditions. Customers are looking for flowering varieties that last longer than a traditional 90-day annual. The concept of getting more bang for your buck is always important, along with less maintenance costs for the landscaper.
How do you identify good plants for your region?

I trial a lot of varieties in my own yard and also at Martinez Farms. It’s really important to observe the landscapes as we are out and about looking for plant varieties that perform well in "real world" conditions. I am constantly looking at landscapes when I drive around to see what performs well throughout the year. Landscapers, are just like home owners and are looking for new plants that work.