Monday, October 7, 2013

CSU Announces “Best Of” Winners from 2013 Annual Flower Trials

Posted by: Jim Klett, CSU Extension Specialist, Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture

The votes are in and ballots counted after two evaluations.  One was held on July 29 and another on September 6, 2013 to decide the 2013 “Best Of’s”.

The 2013 “Best of Show” annual is Lantana ‘Lucky Sunrise Rose’ from Ball Flora Plant.  The brightly colored colored flowers were prolific against the dark green foliage making the flowers really “pop”.  They had consistent display of blooms throughout the entire growing season.  These more heat and drought tolerant plants need to be grown and planted more throughout Colorado.
Lantana 'Lucky Sunrise Rose'
Lantana 'Lucky Sunrise Rose'

Petunia ‘Cascadias Indian Summer’ from Danziger took the “Best New Variety” award.  This petunia is a real color breakthrough since it has unique shades of pink, yellow and orange.  The flower color is reminiscent of a water color painting of a southwest sunset.  The flowers are abundant throughout the season with a nice cascading growth habit.  This variety will be a must for Colorado landscapes in 2014. 
Petunia 'Cascadias Indian Summer'
Petunia 'Cascadias Indian Summer' in a container
In the “Novelty” category Pennisetum ‘Graceful Grasses Fireworks’ from Proven Winners took top honors.  This ornamental annual grass is unique due to the colorful foliage.  The narrow leaf blades are an attractive combination of green mixed with white and pink streaks running the length of the grass blade.  Foliage color varies throughout the season depending on light and temperature.  It is an overall attractive annual grass when in bloom or not. 
Pennisetum 'Graceful Grasses Fireworks'

Foliage of Pennisetum 'Graceful Grasses Fireworks'
Twenty-three additional genera had a “Best Of” chosen in their category.  Descriptions and photos are on our website at

A few of the genera include:

Best Coleus – ‘Kong Jr. Rose’ from Ball Ingenuity
This coleus had very attractive green leaves with rose markings that make a high color contrast.  Plants had great vigor and a uniform growth habit.  Possibly another shade alternative for seed impatiens infected with downy mildew.
Coleus 'Kong Jr. Rose'
Best Geranium (zonal) – ‘Dynamo Red’ from Ball Flora Plant
The solid green foliage created a dramatic backdrop for the rich red colored flowers resulting in a spectacular overall appearance.  Growth habit and flowering was very consistent throughout the growing season.
Geranium 'Dynamo Red' flower

Geranium 'Dynamo Red'
Best Mandevilla – ‘Sun Parasol® Giant Pink’ from Suntory
This fairly new entry into our annual trials caught people’s attention while still growing in the greenhouse in early spring all the way to the fall.  The consistent flowering throughout the season and trailing growth would make it an excellent choice for a trellis in a container or let it trail out of the container.  Plant loves the heat and gives that tropical look to the garden.
Mandevilla 'Sun Parasol Giant Pink'
Best Petunia (veg spreading) – ‘Surfina Purple Majesty’ from Suntory

The constant bloom throughout the season made this plant go to the top of its class.  The fading flowers created a pleasing bicolor contrast.
Spreading petunia 'Surfina Purple Majesty'
Flowers of spreading petunia 'Surfina Purple Majesty'
Best Sun New Guinea Impatiens – ‘Sun Patiens Compact Electric Orange’ from Sakata Seed
The orange flowers are so abundant that foliage is hardly seen.  The orange color appears to glow and does not fade.  Plant growth habit is very uniform.
New Guinea impatiens 'Sun Patiens Compact Electric Orange'
New Guinea impatiens 'Sun Patiens Compact Electric Orange'

For a more complete report and photos of all the winners go to

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