CO-Horts Blog

Monday, January 19, 2015

2014 “Top Performer” Perennials from the CSU Trial Gardens

Posted by: Jim Klett, Extension Specialist

The results of the 2014 “Top Performer” perennial trials have been chosen.  A perennial entry is only considered for the “Top Performer” award if it has been in the ground for two winters and three growing seasons although the “Too Good to Wait” award is used for an entry the evaluation committee is confident is superior even after one winter and two growing seasons. For a full list, visit: 

The 2014 “Top Performers” include:

Blue Boa Agastache from Terra Nova® Nurseries
(Agastache x hybrida 'Blue Boa'PP24050)
 Non-stop flower power resulted in a season long splash of bright lavender color that covered the plant in blooms from top to bottom.  Excellent vigor and a relatively large growth habit would make this a good choice for the back of a perennial border that needs color.  Besides all the beauty, this plant is also recommended for its drought tolerance and ability to attract bees and butterflies.  Planted in 2012.

Leilani Coneflower from Terra Nova® Nurseries
(Echinacea spp. 'Lelani' PP23526)
Tall, vigorous plants "wowed!" visitors with the prolific display of "warm, buttery yellow" flowers.  Blooming occurred over a long period and the plants maintained superior controlled vigor for good uniformity and overall appearance.  Planted in 2012.

Profusion Coneflower from Eason Horticultural Resources
(Echinacea purpurea 'Profusion')
Flowers had a unique appearance and overall shape due to many petals with a nice shape and a large, dark center.  The dark stems also complemented the flower petals and dark center.  Plants were compact but flowering was very profuse.  The light lavender petals also faded nicely into a "antique" lavender color that was also very attractive and extended the bloom time.  Planted in 2012.

Georgia Plum Coral Bells from Terra Nova® Nurseries
(Heuchera x hybrida 'Georgia Plum'PP24507)
Plum colored foliage was impressive all season and did not show any signs of fading.  Besides the plum color, foliage also had a nice silver sheen for good color impact throughout the growing season.  Plants were very uniform and had excellent growth habit.  Predominantly grown for the foliage, the light pink/plum flowers were few but still attractive.  Planted in 2012.

Midnight Marvel Hibiscus from Walters Gardens/ Proven Winners®
(Hibiscus x hybrida 'Midnight Marvel'PP24079)
The flowers and foliage made a spectacular combination.   Dark bronze foliage made a perfect backdrop to the beautiful red flowers.   Many flowers came into bloom together and created a good visual impact.  Plants were vigorous but maintained a nice size without getting too large.  Planted in 2012.

 "Too Good to Wait" Winners
 Electric Avenue Coreopsis from Creek Hill/Eason
(Coreopsis verticillata 'Mayo Clinic Flower of Hope'PPAF or 'Electric Avenue')
Bright yellow flowers were very showy and flowering was solid all season.  Plants were vigorous, uniform and maintained good stature from spring to fall.  Fine textured foliage and a nice flower shape contributed to a very pleasing overall affect.  This is good plant for attracting bees.   

Beyond Blue Fescue from Skagit Gardens
(Festuca glauca 'Casca11' PP #23307 )
This fescue is considered to have the best "blue" color out there!  Plants  maintain a nice "ball" shape and do not open in the middle.  Flower stems fade and disappear amongst the foliage for a superior appearance.  This is an improved variety over older ones for foliage color.

Sunrosa™ Red Rose from Suntory® Flowers
(Rosa x hybrid Sunrosa™ Red)
Constant red flowers and impressive growth habit make this plant attractive all season.  Glossy dark green foliage had no signs of chlorosis or disease.  Red flowers bloomed steadily from mid-June through October.  Small foliage and a dwarf compact growth habit make this a good choice for the smaller or mid-size landscapes. 

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