CO-Horts Blog

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

CSU Flower Trials: "Best Of" Annuals from 2012

Posted by: James E. Klett, Professor & Extension Landscape Horticulturist

Annual Flower planting time is upon us and you should include some of CSU’s Best Of’s from 2012 in your flower garden this year. These plants have proven to be exceptional from our trials and are quite adaptable to our Colorado climate.

The garden (1401 Remington Street), which spans about three acres on the east side of the Fort Collins campus near the University Center for the Arts, is a northern Colorado showpiece with a focused research purpose. The Annual Flower Trial Garden tests and analyzes the performance of more than 1,000 varieties of annual bedding plants in Colorado’s harsh growing conditions.

Three plants that you will definitely want to trial and plant in your garden or in pots on your deck or patio for 2013 should include some of these top performers:

Our Best of Show from 2012 was Dahlia ‘XXL Hidalgo’ from Dummen USA. This plant brings a unique class to the garden dahlia category and was a standout without special care. Flowers are relatively large and have a deep, rich “butter-French” color. Flowering started early in the season and continued strong late into the early fall. The flowers are complimented by dark green foliage. It also makes a good cut flower and adds stature and glamour to any garden.

"Butter-French flowers" of XXL Hidalgo dahlia
Our Best New Variety from our 2012 trials was Lantana ‘Luscious Berry Blend’ from Proven Winners. It is definitely an eye-catcher due to beautiful blend of bright flower color. Plants have great vigor and form a dense canopy and are quite drought adaptable. This plant produces virtually no fruit or seeds and saves its energy for a consistent show of blooms. Great plant for that sunny, hot location in your garden.

Luscious Berry Blend lantana 
Luscious Berry Blend planted in the ground
Our Best Novelty Plant has a real tropical look to both the flowers and foliage. Tecoma ‘Bells of Fire’ from Plug Connection was given this honor. Flowering begins early and continues through the summer. The flowers resemble those on a trumpet vine. Flowers are an attractive blend of orange/red and showy. This plant will give your containers a real tropical look.

The tropical flowers of Bells of Fire Tecoma

A complete listing of all our winners can be found on the CSU Annual Flower Trials website.
These plants should be available in most independent garden centers throughout Colorado. 

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