CO-Horts Blog

Thursday, September 7, 2023

Some Superior Annuals from 2023


Some Superior Annuals from 2023

Colorado State University

J.E. Klett


The following annuals are some of the top picks from both public and industry evaluations.

The public evaluations were held on August 5, 2023 and industry evaluations were held on August 8th, 2023.

Official winners will be posted in late September on our website: https/


Begonia Hybrid ‘Stonehenge Rose Bronze Leaf’ from Benary®

This plant can go everywhere- sun, shade, ground, and containers! It has performed really well and will just keep getting bigger and better until a killing frost. In addition, the breeder is planning to release more of these into the Stonehedge series but with different color onto the market in the next couple of years!

Centaurea ‘FanciFillers Chrome Fountain’ from Westhoff

The silvery-white foliage makes a dramatic statement all by itself but combines well with many other plants. Heat loving, drought tolerant has an impressive uniform and mounding growth habit. It makes a great thriller in potted or hanging combos as well as a subtle touch in ground displays.

Coleus ‘Flame Thrower Sriracha’ from Ball FloraPlant

Dark red leaves are highlighted with a pop of lime green edging that help create a great looking plant. The overall look is enhanced by its very uniform growth habit. It had almost no flowering which is desirable for Coleus since it is primarily grown for its colorful foliage. It thrives in sun and shade.

Dahlia ‘Dahlegria® Apricot Tricolor’ from Syngenta

This Dahlia was a strong favorite due to its impressive combination of dark foliage and large, colorful flowers. Blooms had a unique blend of three colors that really stood out against the very dark leaves. The single petalled flowers were also a magnet for pollinators. The attractive plants had a nice upright growth habit and size that would work well in both the landscape as well as a container.

Lantana ‘Passion Fruit’ from Ball FloraPlant

Selected for a combination of prolific flowering and great multicolored flower with tropical fruit colors, it is also known for having consistent flowering through the season and not cycling in and out of bloom. Dark green foliage really helps the flower colors “pop”. The uniform habit makes a great groundcover for the garden. Plants are very tolerant of heat and drought.

Ptilotus ‘Joey’® from Benary®

Few flowers in the garden have a form as unique as this one. The large conical spikes of feathery flowers have a great lavender color and are very long lasting. The original species comes from central Australia and have thick silver green foliage which helps make it very tolerant of drought and heat.

Rudbeckia ‘Sunbeckia® Luna’ from Flamingo Holland/Bull Breeding

Few plants have the flower power like this one which caught the eyes of almost everyone, even from across the garden. The large flowers are very showy by themselves, but the sheer number of blooms is also very impressive as the foliage is virtually obscured by yellow blooms. The flowers are long lasting for a great display lasting late into the season. Sunbeckia ‘Ophelia’ had the same ranking and had impressive flowers but with a green eye.

Salvia ‘Black and Bloom’ from Ball FloraPlant

Deep blue flowers and a black stem made a great visual combination which was extremely popular. Plants were noted for a larger flower and darker stems than similar varieties. The breeder noted that it was developed to thrive in drought and heat as well as humidity.

Salvia ‘Mystic Spires’ from Ball FloraPlant

This was a standout with its ever blooming, well branched plant and prolific flowering. Its massive and sturdy stems add great substance to the garden. The hummingbirds are nearly constant every hour of the day. They are easy to grow, reliable for color and have moderate drought tolerance (but preform best with fertilizer and regular watering).


You should plan to plant some of these “best of’s” next year in your gardens. They should perform well along Front Range of Colorado and elsewhere.