NC State Extension

2000 Cultivar Trials

2000 ASCFG National Cut Flower Trials

John Dole
North Carolina State University

Overview:

This year six seed companies brought a diverse selection of great plant materials into the trial. Annual asters (Callistephus) were popular with several cultivars in the trial. One of the highest rated series was ‘Serenade’ from Sakata, which was noted for its rich colors and uniform growth. Benary’s ‘Giant Princess Market Growers Mix’ had a great color range and large flowers – maybe too large according to a couple of the respondents. Pan American’s ‘Meteor Rose’ was a nice addition to that vigorous series. As a group asters are quite susceptible to aster yellows, a devastating disease spread by leafhoppers which prevents many growers from growing this crop. If not susceptible to this disease, asters would be a more popular field cut due to their long, strong stems, wonderful colors and excellent postharvest life.

Three companies trialed selections of celosia, one of the most popular of the field cut flowers. Cramer’s ‘Hi-Z’ did very well B this tall, vigorous plant had red stems and long wheat-type flower spikes. Another striking cultivar was ‘Super Crest’ from Gloeckner. This vigorous cultivar had very large crested heads and was the talk of the ASCFG Conference in Austin. ‘Temple Belles’ and ‘Kurume New Scarlet’ were crested types and both received high marks from respondents for easy production, uniform growth and great colors. Rounding out the celosias were ‘Enterprise Wine Red’ and ‘Startrek Rose Pink’, wheat types from Kieft.

Ageratum ‘Blue Bouquet’ added to the limited selection of tall cut ageratums. Similar to the popular ‘Tall Blue Horizon’, ‘Blue Bouquet’ was tall and free flowering. Two respondents noted that ‘Blue Bouquet’ was a little later to flower than ‘Blue Horizon’.

Each year the selection of lisianthus (Eustoma) increase. This North American native plant is one of my favorites and certainly one of the most beautiful flowers when well grown. Both PanAmerican and Sakata included lisianthus in the trial and one of the top performers was ‘Avila Ivory’ which was noted for its color and uniformity. Lisianthus are often not the easiest crop to produce, but successful growers value them greatly.

One new series of dianthus caught my attention. I watched over the summer as Dianthus ‘Melody’ flowered prolifically through all types of weather with either White, Pink or Blush Pink flowers. It was so productive that some respondents had a hard time keeping it harvested. The flowers were fragrant and the petals were distinctively frilled. The problem (and there always is a problem) – it was too short. For those participants that were able to grow taller plants, it was certainly a winner; unfortunately, it was not useable for many growers.

I also enjoyed watching the pepper (Capsicum) cultivars grow and mature. The well-named ‘Spice Drops Yellow Drops’ had round yellow fruit (some plants had elongated fruit also), while ‘Spice Drops Scarlet Candles’ and ‘Friesdorfer Orange’ and ‘Scarlet’ had elongate red or orange fruit. In late summer as the peppers were rich with color as the fruit matured. The crop is not for everyone as the plants often take a long time to mature.

In reviewing the tables and comments you might notice a couple differences. This year we asked participating growers to rate the market appreciation based on their customers – whether they were wholesale, retail or direct to consumer. Note that relatively few gave wholesale ratings and the results should be interpreted accordingly. We also asked for the cold hardiness zone and added it onto some of the comments where we thought it would help. Hope you like the changes and I appreciate all the growers who took the time to answer a few more questions.

Based on trial results, the top five performers are automatically nominated for the ASCFG Cut Flower of the Year competition. The rankings are based on the combined ratings score: market appreciation (average of wholesale, florist, and consumer) + repeat again + ease of cultivation. Thus, from the 2000 trials Callistephus ‘Serenade’ series, Celosia ‘Temple Belles Dark Rose’, Ageratum ‘Blue Bouquet’, Celosia ‘Hi-Z’, Celosia ‘Kurume New Scarlet’ (tie) and Eustoma ‘Avila Ivory’ (tie) are nominated as Cut Flowers of the Year and will join other nominations from ASCFG members and from the Cut Flower of the Year Panel. Experimental varieties are eligible for nomination if they are named and released.

Disclaimer:

The numbers reported are averages of all the respondents and many factors will affect the success of any plant species. Our participants are growing and harvesting the trial plants in a wide variety of ways. For example, with annual asters some people harvest the entire plant as one bunch while others harvest each individual flowering branch, giving very different lengths and yield data. If a plant does well for most of the respondents, it is likely to do well for you. On the other hand, if a cultivar didn’t appear to do well in the trial, it may still be a great cultivar for you. Thus, we have included summaries of the respondents comments to help interpret the data. Review the trial results carefully. If a species sounds interesting but did not appear to do well, try it anyway. The cultivar may work well for you.

Acknowledgments:

A hearty thank you to all of the evaluators who returned their trial reports and to the seed companies for providing such great cultivars. I would also like to thank Betty Coleman for typing in everyone’s comments, Ingram McCall for data analysis, and Leah Aufill for taking care of the Oklahoma State University portion of the trials. In preparing the report I have edited the participantss’ comments for space and clarity; my apologies if I’ve altered the tone or content of anyone’s comments. Thanks to everyone for making this service of ASCFG possible.

2000 ASCFG National Perennial Trials

John Dole
North Carolina State University

Overview:

Now in its third year, the ASCFG Perennial Trial includes the 17 cultivars planted in 1999 and the 22 cultivars planted in 2000. We have had a couple changes in evaluators so check the Participating Grower list for the trialer in your region.

One of the top performers in both the first and second year was Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’, due to a multitude of large sprays of freesia-like crimson flowers. The plants were vigorous and the stems were long. A couple of the respondents noted that the interesting seed pods could also be used if the flowers were not harvested.

The two Hypericums, H. androsaemum and ‘Albury Purple’ did well with their large, brightly colored berries. These unusual cuts are something different to grow and market. However, because the fruit mature late in the season, far north locations may not be able to get a harvestable crop in a season.

Sedum ‘Matrona’ shined again this year with large (some say too large) inflorescences of pink to red flowers on sturdy, red stems. The plants are vigorous and hardy. One respondent referred to this plant, however, as ‘deer candy’.

Of the three Heleniums in the trial, H. kanaria scored the best with a multitude of bright yellow daisy-type flowers and good postharvest life. H. x ‘Moerheim Beauty’ also did well for several respondents; it has coppery red flowers.

For the dried flower growers, one cultivar to try is Pycanthemum muticum ‘Mountain Mint’ (although some respondents also used it as a fresh cut). This versatile, vigorous plant has great fragrant foliage. Stems were short for some respondents this year but may be taller next year.

For those growers who produce Kniphofia, ‘Flamenco’ is a winner. This vigorous plant is highly productive with long stems. Unfortunately, the unusual bright orange yellow flowers are not always readily marketed.

Eupatorium maculatum ‘Carin’ has large sprays of small silvery buds that open up into pink flowers. The stems are long, strong and reddish. The similarity of ‘Carin’ to the native Eupatorium species limits sales in some areas but the ease and vigor of this plant are exceptional.

In reviewing the tables and comments you might notice a couple differences. This year we asked participating growers to rate the market appreciation based on their customers – whether they were wholesale, retail or direct to consumer. Note that relatively few gave wholesale ratings and the results should be interpreted accordingly. We also asked for the cold hardiness zone and added it onto some of the comments where we thought it would help. Hope you like the changes and I appreciate all the growers who took the time to answer a few more questions.

Based on trial results, the top five performers are automatically nominated for the ASCFG Cut Flower of the Year competition. The rankings are based on the combined ratings score: market appreciation (average of wholesale, retail and consumer)+ repeat again + ease of cultivation. Thus, from the 2000 trials Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’, Hypericum androsaemum, Hypericum ‘Albury Purple’, Sedum ‘Matrona’, and Helenium kanaria, are nominated as Cut Flowers of the Year and will join other nominations from ASCFG members and from the Cut Flower of the Year Panel.

Disclaimer:

The numbers reported are averages of all the respondents and many factors will affect the success of any plant species. Our participants are growing and harvesting the trial plants in a wide variety of ways. For example, with annual asters some people harvest the entire plant as one bunch while others harvest each individual flowering branch, giving very different lengths and yield data. If a plant does well for most of the respondents, it is likely to do well for you. On the other hand, if a cultivar didn’t appear to do well in the trial, it may still be a great cultivar for you. Thus, we have included summaries of the respondents comments to help interpret the data. Review the trial results carefully. If a species sounds interesting but did not appear to do well, try it anyway. The cultivar may work well for you.

Acknowledgments:

All cut flower growers should thank the perennial producers for providing the plant materials and the growers for producing the plants, collecting data and submitting trial reports. Each of the growers paid $100 for shipping expenses and agreed to provide data for at least two years. Plant were donated by four perennial producers and shipped the perennial plugs or dormant roots directly to the trialers. I would especially like to compliment Betsy Hitt, Vicki Stamback, and Leah Aufill who participated in both the seed and perennials trials and returned evaluations on all of their trial plants. I would also like to thank Betty Coleman for typing in everyone’s comments, Ingram McCall for data analysis, and Leah Aufill for taking care of the Oklahoma State University portion of the trials. In preparing the report I have edited the participants’ comments for space and clarity; my apologies if I’ve altered the tone or content of anyone’s comments. Thanks to everyone for making this service of ASCFG possible.

Cultivars

  • Achillea ptarmica
    • Pearl Reselected
  • Ageratum houstonianum
    • Blue Bouquet
  • Armeria
    • Joystick Red
  • Callistephus chinensis
    • Giant Princess Market Growers Mix
    • Meteor Rose
    • Serenade Blue Tipped White
    • Serenade Carmine
    • Serenade Light Blue
    • Serenade Rose
    • Serenade Rose-tipped White
    • Serenade Scarlet
  • Campanula
    • Champion Light Blue
  • Capsicum (Ornamental Pepper)
    • Friesdorfer Orange hybrids
    • Freisdorfer Scarlet hybrids
    • Spice Drops Scarlet Candles
    • Spice Drops Yellow Drops
  • Catananche caerulea
    • Amor Blue
    • Amor White
  • Celosia
    • Enterprise Wine Red
    • Hi-Z
    • Kurume New Scarlet
    • Super Crest Burgundy
    • Super Crest Mixed
    • Temple Belles Dark Rose
    • Startrek Rose Pink
  • Centaurea
    • dealbata
  • Dianthus
    • Melody Blush Pink
    • Melody Pink
    • Melody White
  • Eustoma (Lisianthus)
    • Avila Ivory
    • Balboa Blue
    • Catalina Yellow
    • Flamenco Blue Rim
    • Flamenco Purple Rose
    • Heidi Champagne
    • Laguna Blue Blush
  • Helianthus (Sunflower)
    • Golden Glory
  • Matthiola (Stock)
    • Mid Cheerful White
    • Mid Cheerful Yellow
  • Tanacetum parthenium
    • Snow Crown
    • Summer Spirit
    • Tetrawhite
  • Trachelium caeruleum
    • Lake Sunset
  • Vernonia
    • noveborancensis

Participating Seed Companies – Annual Trials, 2000

Benary Seed

1444 Larson St.

Sycamore, IL 60178

www.benary.com

Fred C. Gloeckner

600 Mamaroneck Ave.
Harrison, NY 10528-1613
www.fredgloeckner.com

Cramers’ Posie Patch
116 Trail Rd. N.
Elizabethtown, PA 17022

Kieft Seeds
P.O. Box 618
Conway, WA 98238
http://www.kieftseed.com/

PanAmerican Seed
P.O. Box 438
West Chicago, IL 60186
www.panamseed.com

Sakata Seed America
18095 Serene Drive
Morgan Hill, CA 95037
www.sakata.com

Participating Seed Companies – Perennials, 2000

Grow’n Sell/Benary
320 Lower State Rd.
Chalfont, PA 18914
215-822-1276
FAX 215-997-1770
www.gro-n-sell.com

Cramers’ Posie Patch
116 Trail Rd. N.
Elizabethtown, PA 17022
717-367-9494
FAX 717-367-8666

Here & Now Gardens (HN)
P.O. Box 6
Gales Creek, OR 97117
503-357-5774
FAX 503-357-3858

Green Leaf Enterprises/Yoder/Benary (GL)
2369 Old Philadelphia Pike

Lancaster, PA 17602
800-233-0285
FAX 717-299-7162

North Creek Nursery (NC)
388 North Creek Rd.
Landenberg, PA 19350
610-255-0100
FAX 610-255-4762

Participating Growers – Annual Trials, 2000

Leah Aufill
Oklahoma State University
Stillwater OKDouglas and Gloria Austin
Austin Gardens
Flushing MIPhil and Dorothy Bartlett
Bartlett’s Ocean View Farm
Nantucket MALeon Carrier
Plant Masters
Gaithersburg MDConnie Dam-Byl
William Dam Seed, Ltd.
Dundas OntarioChas and Linda Gill
Kennebec Flower Farm and Nursery
Bowdoinham MEJeff Hartenfeld
Hart Farm
Solsberry INBetsy Hitt
Peregrine Farms
Graham NCCathy Jones
Perry-Winkle Farm
Chapel Hill NCSharon Hamilton/Phillip Katz
PanAmerican Seed
Santa Paula CAJudy Low
Molino Creek Farm
Davenport CARuth Moore
Heritage Farm
Middlebourne, WVJim Nau/Susan Schmitz
Ball Seed Company
West Chicago, ILKaren Pendleton
Pendleton’s Country Market
Lawrence KSCarolyn Ramsbotham
Riverview Farm
Madbury NHVicki Stamback
Bear Creek Farms
Stillwater OKJeanne Vana
North Shore Farms
Waialua, HICheryl Wagner
Wagner’s Homestead Farms
Belleville MIKim Wickwire
Olds College
Olds AlbertaLulu Wootton
Cape Farm
Marlboro VT

Participating Growers – Perennial Trials, 2000

Region 2 (2000)
Holly Scoggins
Virginia Tech
Blacksburg VARegion 2 (1999)
Bob Wollam
Wollam Gardens
Jeffersonton, VARegion 3 (1999 and 2000)
Betsy Hitt
Peregrine Farms
Graham NCRegion 4 (2000)
MaryLee Johnson
Windswept Acres
Cecil WIRegion 5 (1999 and 2000)
Christina Wager
Christie’s Plantmart and Greenhouse
Coronation AlbertaRegion 6 (1999 and 2000)
Vicki Stamback
Bear Creek Farm
Stillwater, OKRegion 8 (1999 and 2000)
Sam Barkley
Barkley’s Woodstock Floral
Portland, ORRegion 8 (1999 and 2000)
Paul Sansone
Here and Now Garden
Gales Creek, ORLeah Aufill/John Dole (1999 and 2000)
Oklahoma State University
Stillwater, OK

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