Posted by James E. Klett, Professor, CSU Department of Horticulture and L.A.
The 2017-18 Cool Season Trial evaluated 121 varieties planted in mid-October 2017 through April 2018. Numerous varieties were selected as top performers by Flower Trial Garden Committee on April 25, 2018.
During the trial, all plants were monitored and observed weekly. They were watered and liquid feed until sprinklers were winterized in early November, then hand watered when soil was dry and temperature above 40ºF. There was some snow cover for about 6 to 8 weeks during the trial period. The top seven are described below. These cool season plants should be considered when planning your fall/spring color displays. They will brighten up your fall into winter displays and winter into spring displays. For more information visit our website, flowertrials.colostate.edu and click on cool season trials.
· Best of Show Pansy- ‘FreefallXL Purple Face’ from Floranova
Plants were vigorous and sturdy as well as being covered by blooms. White centers really made the dark purple stands out. Vibrant flowers covered the plant all over including not just the top but also sides of plant. This entry also won the Best Trialing Pansy category.
· Best Light Blue Pansy- Pansy Inspire® Plus Exp. Marina Improved from Benary
Plants were very uniform and blooms covered the top as well as on the sides. The light blue color was around the outer edge of the flower followed by a band of white and a dark purple/blue center created a great combination of colors. A dainty appearance is created by the unique flower color combined with slightly ruffled petal edge.
· Best White Pansy- Cats™ White from Benary
Plants were noted for impressive flower power and a nice uniform growth habit. Attractive purple whiskers added interest to the slightly primrose colored flowers with a splash of yellow in the center. The color of this pansy would brighten up any landscape border or container planting.
· Best Yellow Pansy- Spring Matrix™ Yellow Improved from Pan American Seed
The bright yellow flowers were very abundant and eye catching as they were well above the foliage for maximum flower power. Clear yellow flowers had no markings so color really popped. The abundant blooms were also noted for being weather resistant and maintained their shape.
· Best of Show Viola- Viola Endurio® Blue Yellow with Purple Wing from Syngenta
Plants were highly rated for great vigor and uniformity. Vibrant flowers were a combination of three different colors. Varying shades of dark purple, violet and yellow created a lot of interest and although flower color was variable the overall result was very captivating. A spreading habit makes it best massed in beds or dripping out of a container. This entry also won the Best Novelty Viola category.
· Best Light Blue Viola- Bel Viso Marina Improved from Floranova
Plants had a very nice mounding growth habit. The flowers were very abundant on uniform plants. The light blue flower with white centers had a smaller dark blotch for a unique eye. Its tidy and uniform growth habit makes it great for tight spaces, narrow boarders and window boxes or tucked into a rock garden.
· Best Yellow Viola- Bel Viso Yellow from Floranova
The vibrant blooms were a unique shade of yellow and had small dark whiskers. Flowers seemed to be slightly larger than others in this category. The vigorous plants looked like a bouquet of prolific yellow flowers.