Best Trial Plants at McCrory Gardens 2017

 

Dr. David Graper’s weekly newsletter contains the 2017 standout trial plants at McCrory Gardens in Brookings, South Dakota. See his copy below. Dr. Graper is a horticulturist at South Dakota State University and more of his articles are found at  www.Igrow.org.

One of the plants menitoned is the Millinium allium. This is an example of the allium paired with yarrow in a display garden.

IMG_1720

Dr. Graper’s article:

We have been trialing ornamental plants at McCrory Gardens for many years. I have been working primarily with the annual trials, including plants from the National Plant Trials Database plus a few additional plants in the main trials program. This year we had 70 different species and cultivars of plants in the annuals trials but some were grown in different conditions for a total of 110 trials. Plants were planted directly into the ground, in a 14” container or as a component plant in a much larger planter bowl (30” or 50”) around the Education and Visitor Center at McCrory Gardens. All plantings were exposed to full sun and irrigated as needed. Seed and/or plugs were provided by Ball Seed, Pan American Seed, or Proven Winners.

The garden crew at McCrory Gardens transplanted all of the trial plants to McCrory Gardens during the last week of May. I rated nearly all of the plants three times – on June 23, approximately four weeks after planting, on August 8 and September 12. I took a picture of most of the plants each time I evaluated them. They were given a subjective rating of 0 to 5 at each evaluation based on vigor, number of flowers, color of foliage, uniformity, habit, freedom from disease or pests and other factors that seemed appropriate for a particular species. I also recorded comments on the plants at each rating time: Comments 1; Comments 2; and Comments 3. I averaged the rating from the three evaluations and have provided the results of for the top rated cultivars in each of the major species that I trialed below. If you would like a complete report, please contact me at david.graper@sdstate.edu.

Petunia hybrid Supertunia® Vista Bubblegum (Petunia) was was grown in a 14” container earning an average rating of 4.8. Comments: Plants had foliage cascading down to the ground with excellent flowering nearly covering the foliage. Flowers were large and bright pink with dark green foliage. A fantastic plant! This same cultivar was also grown in a large 50” earning an average rating in this instance of 4.6. Plants were extremely floweriferous and draping over the sides of the container. When grown in the ground it achieved a rating of 4.4. This plant continues to excel in our trials. A prolific bloomer, with exceptional spreading characteristics, mounding to about 18 inches in height. They were very floriferous, nearly covering the foliage.

 

Petunia hybrid Supertunia® Hot Pink Charm (Petunia) was grown in a 14” container, earning an average rating of 4.6. Plants were densely branched and packed with dark pink flowers, bginning to cascade over sides of container. By the end of the summer, the container was a complete globe of flowers with the foliage barely visible. This appears to be a real winner. This petunia was also grown in the ground where it earned an average rating of 4.1. Foliage is dark green and healthy. Flowers were dark pink. Plants were well branched and spreading with a very fine texture and loaded with bright pink flowers.

Pennisetum glaucum Copper Prince (Ornamental Millet) was grown in the ground, earning an average rating of 4.6. Plants began producing may tillers early in the summer, giving them a very full look. New foliage has a golden color tinged in red with older stems developing a bronze red color. Very floweriferous with a continual progression of new flower heads developing. Plants were extremely uniform in size and flowering. Each plant has nearly a dozen flower spikes with additional new flower spikes developing. The foliage has remained a coppery green color all season long. This large, ornamental grass was also used as a component in a large 50” bowl where it achieved an average rating of 3.9. It performed particularly well early in the season but was later somewhat overwhelmed by the surrounding plants, which reduced its performance.

Petunia hybrid Supertunia® Mulberry Charm (Petunia) was grown in a 14” container, earning an average rating of 4.6. Extremely well branched and floriferous. Flowers were pink with deep pink veins and throat. Plants have completely engulfed and covered the container, with hundreds of pink flowers with purple throats. By the end of the season, plants had nearly cascaded down to the ground with continued, moderate flowering.

 

Phlox hybrid Intensia® White (Imp) (Phlox) was grown in a 50” container, earning an average rating of 4.5. Plants were mounded, compact, and very floriferous with pure white flowers. Flowers held well above the foliage. Plants continued to bloom well thoughout the summer and into the fall with healthy foliage. When planted in the ground, this plant did not perform as well with an average rating of 3.0. Plants were well branched but quite chlorotic and had few flowers. Deadheading may be needed to encourage continued bloom. However, plants continued to bloom sporadically throughout the summer. Some additional plants died but some also appeared to have healthier foliage later in the summer.

Salvia hybrid Rockin’TM Deep Purple (Salvia) was grown in the ground, earning an average rating of 4.5. Plants had strong growth and branched fairly well. Flowers were deep purple with darker burgundy calyces and stems. By mid-summer plants were very well branched, and somewhat open in their growth habit. Flowers were held fairly well above the foliage. Another excellent salvia. Plants were tall, well-branched and continued to bloom profusely throughout the summer. This cultivar seems to be more attractive to humming birds than the other salvia which is more attractive to butterflies. This plant was also grown in a 50” container where its average rating was 3.9. Plants were performed very well in large containers, making them the “thriller” of the large bowl. Plants were more open than the other variety.

Salvia longispicata x farinacea Rockin’TM Playin’ the BluesTM (Imp) (Salvia) was grown in ground, earning an average rating of 4.5. Plants were very upright and beginning to form numerous branches; flowering is good with older flower spikes still showing good color. Flowers were blue lavender color. Plants were very well branched, uniform in height and floweriferous. Flower spikes were quite tall and held well above the foliage. Foliage is dark green. Plants were uniform in height. They have dark green foliage with long terminal flower spikes on each stem. They were very attractive to pollinating insects, especially butterflies and occasionally hummingbirds. This plant performed equally well in 50”. Plants were vigorous, exceptionally floriferous, well branched and uniform with healthy dark green foliage. They really stood out in the large container were nearly covered in flowers.

 

Petunia hybrid Supertunia® Vista Silverberry (Petunia) was grown in a 14” container, earning an average rating of 4.5. Plants were very well branched, packed with flowers and arching over nearly to the ground. Vista Silverberry was also grown in the ground with an average rating of 4.1. Plants were floriferous and mounding in habit. Flowers were very light pink. Foliage is medium green. Plants were nicely mounded and full. They

Calibrachoa hybrid Superbells® White (Imp) (Calibrachoa) was was grown in a 14” container, earning an average rating of 4.5. Plants were densely branched and extremely floriferous. Plants were very compact and spreading nicely over the edges of the pot. Plants have formed a dense mat of foliage with lots of flowers cascading nearly to the ground. This plant was also grown in the ground where it achieved an average score of 3.4, which significantly better than most other Calibrachoa cultivars when grown in the ground. Plants were blooming fairly well, although foliage is rather chlorotic. By the end of the season, plants were still quite healthy with good flowering. They have branched well, making them a good ground cover.

 

Petunia hybrid Supertunia® Royal Magenta (Imp) (Petunia) was grown in a 14” container, earning an average rating of 4.5. Plants are very well branched, floriferous, draping several inches over the sides of the container. A fantastic floral display, nearly hiding the foliage. This plant was also grown in the ground where it received a slighlty lower average rating of 4.3. Flowers were medium pink. Plants were very well branched, uniformly mounding with a profusion of flowers. Foliage is very healthy and medium to dark green. Plants have mounded up to nearly 30” in

height with good flowering, although there appears to be some disease issues developing in the canopy. When planted in a large, 50” bowl this plant earned an average rating of 4.3 as well. They produced an absolutely amazing floral display. Plants have mounded up over most of the other plants in the container. Flowers completely cover the foliage.

Petunia hybrid Supertunia® Vista Fuchsia (Petunia) was grown in a 50” container, earning an average rating of 4.5. Plants were compact and densely covered with flowers. Vibrant fuchsia colored flowers nearly cover the foliage that cascaded over the sides of these large bowls putting on a great display.

Bidens hybrid Campfire® Fireburst Imp (Bidens) was grown in the ground, earning an average rating of 4.4. Plants were very compact, very well branched and floweriferous with hundreds of small bright yellow and orange flowers. Foliage is dark green with some burgundy coloration to the edges of the leaves. By the end of the season, they were still growing and flowering vigorously and were very uniformed in height. When was grown in a 14” container, this cultivar earned an average rating of 3.8.Plants were compact, well branched and floriferous throughout the spring and summer. Foliage was dark green in color. Even late in the season, plants were densely branched with moderate flowering.

Calibrachoa hybrid Superbells® Plum (Imp) (Calibrachoa) was grown in a 14” container, earning an average rating of 4.2. Plants were very well branched and nicely spreading over the sides of the container with very good flowering. Foliage is dark green. Plants have excellent flowering and cascaded nearly to the ground. Like most calibrachoas, this cultivar did not perform as well when planted directly in the ground, only achieveing an average rating of 2.6. At mid-summer, plants were fairly uniform in size with good branching and quite compact. Foliage is medium green with moderate flowering. However by late summer, only about a quarter of the plants were still alive. But, the remaining ones were flowering pretty well, but had a significant amount of necrotic foliage.

 

Petunia hybrid Supertunia® Bordeaux (Petunia) was grown in a 14” container, earning an average rating of 4.2. Plants have spread over the sides of the container, nearly reaching the ground. Very floweriferous with dark green foliage. This plant was also grown directly in the ground where it had a significantly lower average rating of 2.5. At mid-summer plants were floriferous, well branched and spreading, but a few plants had died. Foliage is a bit chlorotic. By the end of the summer, it had been overrun by surrounding larger plants. In addition, the foliage was very chlorotic with nearly no flowers present.

Petunia hybrid Supertunia® Lovie Dovie (Petunia) was grown in the ground, earning an average rating of 4.1. Plants were well branched and floriferous. Plants have spread out nicely and were covered with flowers, however, there were a few gaps in the display. The large, star shaped white flowers with a pink star shape were very showy. Plants were very healthy and floriferous. This cultivar was also was grown in a 14” container where its average rating was 3.8. Plants were very well branched, densely packed with flowers. By the end of the season plants had grown over the sides of the container and still had some scattered flowers, but with a lot of necrotic foliage.

Hypoestes phyllostachya HypnoticTM Rose (Polka Dot Plant) was grown in the ground, earning an average rating of 4.1. Plants were branching well and compact. Foliage initially had sun scald but newer leaves were fine. Leaves were nearly pink with green spots along the veins. Plants were uniform in size and shape, well branched, uniform in height with very attractive foliage. Some plants were beginning to show signs of flowering shoots now at the end of the summer.

 

Calendula hybrid Lady GodivaTM Orange (Calendula) was grown in the ground, earning an average rating of 4.1. Plants were blooming well with good branching and very compact. Flowers were orange with a slight yellow tip to the petals. Plants were floweriferous. Old faded flowers were being hidden by new flowers and growth giving the plant a fresh appearance. Foliage is very healthy and medium to dark green in color. They were very uniform in height and appeared quite healthy late in the season. They were also grown in 14” pots with an average rating of 4. Plants were very compact and well branched. Loaded with flowers. Plants were also very uniform in size and height. By mid-summer plants looked somewhat messy with lots of spent flowers. When grown in 30” container these plants earned an average rating of 2.3. Plants were blooming very well with numerous branches and a compact growth habit, early in the summer. However, by mid-summer, only a few stems appeared above the mass of other plants, with just a few flowers. Plants continued to struggle to grow and flower beneath the shade of larger plants by the end of the summer, however they still had fresh flowers. They appeared to be holding their own.

Calibrachoa hybrid Superbells® Double Ruby (Calibrachoa) was grown in the ground, earning an average rating of 4.1. Plants were well branched and moderately floriferous. Flowers were semi-doubled, flowers were deep red in color. Plants were healthy dark green, well branched and spreading with very good flowering. The dark red double flowers were very showy. This cultivar performed equally well when was grown in a 14” container, earning an average rating of 4.0. Plants were very well branched, uniform in height, spreading over the sides of the container, with good flowering.

Calibrachoa hybrid Superbells® Double Orchid (Calibrachoa) was grown in a 14” container, earning an average rating of 4.0. Plants were very well branched, floriferous and draping over container. Foliage is dark green and uniform. Plants have grown quite aggressively and over the edge of the container. Very floweriferous. Plants have densely filled the containers and have arched down to the ground with excellent flowering. When this cultivar was grown in the ground, its average rating dropped to 3.1. Early in the season plants were moderately well branched with double pink flowers. Foliage is a lighter green color but still appears healthy. By mid-summer, plants were flowering sparsely, a few plants had died and foliage was chlorotic. By the end of summer, remaining plants were still blooming fairly well with healthier foliage.

 

Colocasia Royal Hawaiian® Aloha (Elephant Ear) was grown in the ground, earning an average rating of 4. Plants were uniformly developing a burgundy green foliage color with green veins. Plants were uniform in height with good coloration. Plants were extremely uniform in height and spread. Plants eventually reached the height of about 4’.

Verbena hybrid Siuperbena® Violet Ice (Verbena) grown in a 50” Container, earning an average rating of 4.0. Plants were vigorous, had excellent flowering and very healthy foliage. Plants branched well and were creeping over the sides of the container, but had only minimal flowering on the ends of some of the stems. When grown alone in a 14” container this cultivar was rated an average of 3.0. Plants appear pretty healthy but lack flowering. Flowers were violet blue with a light violet eye. Flowering did not

increase until the end of the summer.

 

Celosia plumosa First FlameTM Red (Celosia) grown in the ground earning an average rating of 4.0. Plants developed good branching early in the season but with just a few of the terminal flower heads coming into bloom. By mid-summer plants were vigorous and very well branched, floriferous, uniform in their growth habit and height. Flowers were a vibrant bright red. Plants were large, very well branched, yet compact with exceptionally good flowering by the end of the summer.

Verbena hybrid Superbena® Stormburst (Verbena) was grown in a 14” container, earning an average rating of 4.0. Plants were well branched, floweriferous, extending over the sides of the containers, but somewhat uneven in their flowering. When planted in a large 50” container this cultivar had an average rating of 3.6. Plants were spreading out nicely with moderate flowering. Plants bloomed profusely with very healthy foliage in a large container. They were putting on an excellent display. Plants were very well branched and cascading over the sides of the container. Flowering is good. When grown in the ground, it earned an average rating of 2.8. Plants had some branching but few flowers. Plants were medium green with some chlorosis. Flowers were pinwheel stripped lavender and white. Foliage showed some feeding damage from leaf hoppers.

Capsicum annuum Midnight Fire (Ornamental Pepper) was grown in the ground, earning an average rating of 3.9. Plants put on good growth and branching with some of the initial flowers present early in the season. By mid-summer the foliage had developed an Intense, nearly black color with glossy, dark purple fruit that turned red upon maturity. Very showy with a reported good flavor!

 

Begonia interspecific MegawattTM Pink Bronze Leaf (Begonia) was grown in the ground, earning an average rating of 3.9. Plants were flowering very well early in the summer and beginning to branch. By mid- summer plants were producing large flower clusters on well developed plants that were well-branched. Flowering was excellent througout ther rest of the summer and into the fall.

Calibrachoa hybrid Superbells® Over EasyTM (Calibrachoa) was grown in a 14” container, earning an average rating of 3.9. Flowers were white with a creamy yellow center. Plants spread nicely over the edge of the pot, with moderately good flowering. Foliage is healthy and medium green. This particular cultivar of Calibrachoa was not able to adapt to growing in the ground where it earned a rating of 0.5 for the first evaluation period. All plants were dead by the next evaluation period.

Canna x generalis Toucan® Scarlet (Canna) was grown in the ground, earning an average rating of 3.9. Plants were growing well early in the summer, developing nice burgundy foliage with the first flower spikes emerging by the first evaluation period. By mid- summer, plants were blooming well with large, bright scarlet red florets. Foliage is dark green to burgundy in color. Plants were very floriferous and uniform in height with their bright red flowers putting on quite the show. Each plant has many stems that have

developed over the course of the summer. The flowers were attractive to humming birds.

Dahlia variabilis Dahlightful® Crushed Crimson (Dahlia) grown in a 30” container, earning an average rating of 3.9. Plants were very well branched with multiple flowers open and dozens of flower buds present. Later in the summer, while plants continued to bloom, they were being overtaken by large petunias in the same container. By the end of the summer, plants were still healthy and attractive with their burgundy green foliage, but there were few flowers present. When grown in the ground this plant earned an average rating 3.5. Plants were well branched with numerous flower buds and some open flowers throughout the summer. Flowers were reddish burgundy, foliage was reddish green and plants were nicely mounded.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s