Plant Trial Award Winners for 2023
Have you ever been to a plant trial? If not, you should really think about it. Here’s why: University plant trials are very important to plant breeding companies, wholesale growers and garden retailers. They’re able to see how new and existing plants perform in gardens before they sell them to customers. University trials also support the horticulture programs at many of the sites. They often employ students in the process of growing, planting, and taking notes over the course of a season.
As far as “Grower Trials,” these are typically done at larger growers to allow their retail customers to see the plants a year or two ahead, so they can be sure of performance for their consumer customers. University trial sites typically have a rating system for the individual items at points in the growing process. The “peak” color time varies widely from south to north. Places like Colorado State University and Penn State University have websites that anyone can view the plant trial results. The University of Georgia Trial Gardens also awards “Plants of Distinction” and Classic City Awards.
If you’re interested in attending, all University trials are open to the public. Grower trials are typically by request only.
And the winners are…
From these trials this past growing season, there were some stand-out results. From Colorado State University (CSU) Trials:
Best Coleus – Flame Thrower™ Sriracha from Ball FloraPlant
The judges said: “This compact-to-medium coleus had good vigor while maintaining excellent uniformity. The foliage had bold coloring of deep red and chartreuse edges that held its color in the intense sunlight. The serrated leaf edges add to the unique appearance. No flowering was observed, and it was a perfect foliage plant.”
Best Combo – MixMasters™ Lucky Charm from Ball FloraPlant
“Noted for prolific flowering through the season, they were also combined with balanced plants and dark green foliage that really made the colors ‘pop.’ This combo was a mix from the Lucky™ series which included Flame, Pot of Gold and Sunrise Rose," commented the judges.
Best Geranium (zonal) ground – Galaxy™ Pink from Ball FloraPlant
The judges said: “The Galaxy series filled out the top five vote getter in this category but the pink entry was deemed the best. All in the series were noted for strong plants, uniformity and flowers that were held above the foliage. The pink entry also seemed to do well even in partial shade," said the judges.
Other CSU winners included:
Best Lantana, ground – Lucky™ Sunrise Rose from Ball FloraPlant
Best Osteospermum – 4D™ Berry White from Selecta One
Best Petunia (vegetative), ground – SureShot White from Ball FloraPlant
Best Salvia – Mystic Spires from Ball FloraPlant
Best Sun Impatiens – SunPatiens® Compact Rose Glow from Sakata
For the entire listing, see 2023 Best of Annual results here.
Penn State Trials winners included:
Buddleja Chrysalis™ Blue from Darwin Perennials
Perovskia Bluesette (seed) from KieftSeed
Begonia Jurassic Dino™ Cherry Fields from Ball Ingenuity
Petchoa EnViva™ Pink from Selecta One
For the entire listing, see Flower Trial results here.
Order these top picks online at WebTrack today! Or check for availability by contacting your favorite Ball Seed sales rep or Ball ColorLink associate at 800 879-BALL for assistance.