How Do New Flowers Go from Idea to You?
Every year, growers around the country compete against one another to come up with the next colorful flower breed, that will hopefully one day end up in your yard.
Thanks to our Designscapes Colorado flower expert Brittaney, we can see the process of how new flowers get selected.
Plantbreeders from all corners of the nation come together for an annual event to showcase new varieties of annuals in hopes that they will be grown and mass produced. Welby Garden’s one of the largest greenhouse companies in Colorado and the country. Welby spends lots of time, money and energy to grow these new and existing varieties for the annual trial. This blog will take you through the process of how a plant like wave petunias go from an idea to a summer staple.
This all starts with the plant breeding companies; Ball, Dummen Orange, Pindstrup, Syngetnta Flowers, AmeriSeed, Beenkenkamp, Proven Winners, Sakata, Selecta One and so many more. They contribute seeds that they want to compete against the best plants in the industry. Submitting seeds to the trial has to be done in the spring and plants are seeded in late April. These varieties are selected for entering the trial based on color, proliferation of flowering or plant size. In hopes that this plants presented at the trial will appeal to a specific niche.
Once the plants are ready for trial they are organized by variety name. This year 1195 specimens were submitted. Some that don’t even have a variety name or are labeled Pink Cartwheel 12. Which indicates that this is the newest version and plant breeders have not yet decided on a name for submitting to the plant patent office. Plant patents are obtained after a desirable plant with new desirable characteristics is discovered and prepared to be propagated to sell in mass production. For annuals each plant normally have a species, series, and variety/color. For example Dummen Orange submitted a plant called Calibrachoa, Aloha Kona, Midnight Blue. A big beautiful plant and the Aloha Kona Series has been wildly successful because of its unique tropical, feel good, refreshing name.
The trial day is the time that garden centers, greenhouses and landscape companies get the chance to vote on their favorite plants. With only 10 chances to vote on 1195 specimens it takes time to select the best choice for Welby to Grow in the next season. This vote also speaks volumes to the breeders as to what their customers are looking for in quality plant materials.
Voting is done with poker chips into 6” pots next to the plants and are collected and tallied to provide results to the participants and breeders.
The photo on the left is a new variety of verbena that I voted for because of the large, deep purple color, and plant vigor.
Trial plots like the one at Welby Gardens are done all over America with breeders to observe plant performance in different climates. This data also gives regional information about customer and garden center preferences.
Overall top 25 Winners:
1. Petunia Crazytunia Frisky Purple- Westhoff
2. Coleus Stained Glassworks Royalty- Dummen Orange
3. Osteospermum Blushing Beauty- Ball FloraPlant
4. Helianthus Sunfinity- Syngenta Flowers
5. Dahlia Labella Medio Fun Purple- Beekenkamp
6. Petunia Sweetunia Miss Marvel- Dummen Orange
7. Verbena bonariensis Finesse ApeX- Benary
(3 way tie for 8th)
8a. Coleus Main Street La Rambla- Dummen Orange
8b. Dahlia Hypnotica Lavender- Dummen Orange
8c. Petunia Crazytunia Ultra Violet- Westhoff
11. Verbena Lanai Upright Limoncello- Syngenta Flowers
12. Begonia elator Solenia Apricot- Beekenkamp
13. Dahlia Gardenetta Passion Fruit- Ball FloraPlant
14. Dahlia Painter Sunfire- Plant Haven
(2 way tie for 15th)
15. Agastache Morello- Terra Nova
15. Verbena Superbena Stormburst- Proven Winners
17. Impatiens New Guinea Odyssey Hestia- Beekenkamp
18. Echinacea Kismet Intense Orange- Terra Nova
19. Salvia Mystic Spires Blue Improved- Ball FloraPlant
(2 way tie for 20th)
20. Cuphea Fairy Dust Pink- Proven Winners
20. Dahlia Labella Maggiore Rose Bicolor- Beekenkamp
22. Begonia elator Solenia BESO3499- Beekenkamp
23. Gerbera Garvinea Capitol Reef- Florist Holland
24. Rudbeckia hirta Denver Daisy- Benary
25. Salvia Rockin’ Deep Purple- Proven Winners