CO-Horts Blog

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

2014 Cool Season Plant Trials at CSU

Posted by: James E. Klett, Professor and Extension Specialist, Landscape Horticulture

Growers, landscape contractors and homeowners will want to plant some of these winners in their gardens in the fall of 2014 from our 2013-2014 Cool Season Trials.  These trials included 66 different varieties of cool season plants.  These plants were planted on October 8, 2013 and grown through the fall, winter and early spring of 2014.  Additional water was added to these trials a total of nine times from October 8, 2013 to April 21, 2014.  Watering was done when temperatures were above 40 degrees Fahrenheit and soil was dry.  Our lowest temperature recorded during the period was -15 F.  We did have fairly constant snow cover in January and February 2014.  We recorded frost damage, flowering data and overall appearance on a weekly basis when not covered in snow.

The Annual Trial Garden Committee evaluated these Cool Season Trials in April 2014 and picked six top performers which are described below. The six winners include:

Best of Show Pansy:  Pansy Inspire R Purple and White from Benary
Nothing says “best of” like 100%  survival through the winter season.  This pansy has very bright and high contrasting purple/blue white flowers.  The flowers seem to have a blue top and a white bottom that make them very visible from quite the distance.  
Inspire Purple and White pansy

Blue/Violet Pansy: Pansy Inspire R True Blue from Benary
This variety had the largest flower out of any of the Pansies; these large blue flowers made this plant a standout.  In addition to the large flowers it was also noted that it had the truest blue flower.
Inspire True Blue pansy
Best Yellow Pansy:   Pansy Cool Wave TM Golden Yellow from PanAmerican Seed
This pansy had a profusion of large, attractive bright golden yellow flowers.  The flowers are a bright golden yellow that is sure to catch the garden visitor’s eye due to abundance of flowers.

Cool Wave Golden Yellow pansy
Best of Show Viola:  Viola Sorbet EX Morpho from Pan American Seed
This viola was described as a sturdy, small, uniform plant.  The flower color is a very rich combination of deep blue and canary yellow.  This color combination gave the plant a great contrast, allowing it to become a garden favorite.  This Viola also had a 100% survival rate during the winter.
Sorbet EX Morpho viola
Best Blue/Violet Viola:  Viola Penny Deep Marina from Goldsmith Seeds
This viola had a unique flower color combination of deep purple, purple and white.  These plants were very uniform in growth habit and each plant was just blanketed in flowers.
Penny Deepy Marina viola

Best Yellow Viola:  Viola Popsicles Yellow from Burpee Home Garden
This viola seemed to have the most intense yellow flower color.  The yellow flowers had a golden yellow throat that made it standout even more.  All of the flowers were displayed perfectly on top of the foliage of the plant.  It was also noted that this Viola was a great, sturdy plant.
Popsicles Yellow viola

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