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California Spring Trials Novelities:

Highlights at Proven Winners, Syngenta, Danziger, Varinova, Benary, Volmary, Bailey Nurseries

Mixes, scented flowers, improved varieties and much more was presented at the California Spring Trials 2017, that was held in California last week. The event attracted growers, distributors and retailers from across the country. We already published an extensive Photo Report of the California Spring Trials, last Monday. In the coming weeks will highlight some of the novelties that were presented by the participating companies. In this article, we highlight the varieties of Proven Winners, Syngenta, Danziger, Varinova, Benary, Volmary, and Bailey Nurseries.

Proven Winners

Mark Osgerby of Proven Winners holding the Winecraft Black. It is the first Proven Winners Smokebush. It is an easy to grow plant and manageable plant that stays tight.

Clockwise: Invincibelle Limetta. This hydrangea arboscens is a smaller introduction that will reach a maximum height of 3 feet. The color of the flower is lime green throughout the season. It is hardy to USDA zone 3-9. Tuff Stuff. This reblooming mountain hydrangea is available in three colors; white red and blue. The blue turns to pink afterwards. At Last. This potted rose has a fragrance and will grow up to 2-3 feet. Proven Winners have had many rose trials and has one of the few varieties that they have added to their program. Now, the availability is limited in the US, but next year more will be available. Bobo is a hydrangea paniculata with white flowers and strong stems. It is hardy to USDA zone 3-8.


Alicain Carlson and Nicole Kubota presenting the new Sunfinity. At the trials, there was a big focus on this sunflower. It offers nonstop blooming, multiple branches and more flowers all season long.

Clockwise: The Calliope geranium series were well presented at Syngenta. They showcased the varieties not only as how a consumer will see it, but also how it will leave the greenhouse. Special about the Calliope geranium is the fact that the colors do not fade. According to Nicole, lots of reds tend to burn. The assortment of the Calliope is quite broad and Syngenta is still adding new colors. Obsession Cascade verbena is said to be the first ever trailing verbena in seed. It has a high level of powdery mildew tolerance. Also a lot of vegetative and seed combinations were shown at the trials. They supply vegetative combinations and seed options. On the photo a combination from seed. Last year, Syngenta launched four Penta series; Starcluster, Falling Star BeeBright, and HoneyCluster. The series are pollinator friendly and are good for combinations.


Anna Chernyavsky of Danziger holding the Capella purple Veins. On this dome shaped plant, no PGRs are used and when it starts flowering, the center still remains full of flowers.

Clockwise: To the Bidens series, Danziger added a white (White Spell) and pink (Pretty in Pink) variety. These are compact bidens varieties. Cascadias red lips petunia is a new addition to the existing Cascadias series. Unlike many red petunias, this variety is very resistant to rain. They are therefore marketed as "Waterproof red". Scopia Gulliver Pink is a heat resistant variety and that is quite unique for a bacopa. Danziger is now trying to isolate the gene and apply it to all bacopas in their assortment. Littletunia Fuchsia putunia is easy to grow and robuster than many other petunias. It is an easy plant to use in mixes as it blends well.


Mark Schermer, who represents Varinova in the USA, holding the Rocolina White. This niche product is a fragrant cyclamen. The Rocolina series consist of 6 varieties.

Magnia Red is part of the Magnia series, that consists of six colors, and is suitable for pot sizes 6-8 inch. The whole series has a robust shape with solid flower stems and a uniform green coloured leave type. According to Schermer, red is an important color in the USA. Also the Contiga red has large flowers, but is more compact. It is suitable for 4 inch pot size. Currently, the series consist out of 7 colors. The Merita is a new series that is still being trialed. It is a compact plant that's not on the market yet. The cyclamen in the Picola series have a very compact shape and are not that well-known in the US market yet. However, increasingly more independent garden centers are showing their interest. It really is a niche product.


Gundula Wagner of Benary, presenting their new seed packets with QR-Code. This year, their focus was on technology and connecting the technology with the ornamental industry. Big Begonia meets Silicon Valley was the theme this year. And, How to meet millennials? was one of the main questions.

Not only meeting the end consumer, but also the millennials in the industry itself. Clockwise: With an eye on the extinction of the bees, Benary was showing the possibilities to pollinate plants with drones at their Graffiti Pentas display. It was a demonstration of technology that is in development and could be used in commercial production in the future. Promoting the plant more on social media, for example, the Big Begonia (upper right) on Facebook and the Success petunia on Instagram. In the Smart Gardening area, self monitoring and watering pots were on display. This technique, which is not a Benary product, was demonstrated with the Non-stop begonia. All the information about the plant is presented on the app. The app teaches people how to work with plants. 

Yoav Scholz of Volmary next to the Dahlia Lubega. It is a series that is divided in three lines.

Clockwise: Thunbergia 'Arizona Pink Beauty' is a new addition to the Thunbergia assortment, which now consists of 14 varieties. It is a heat loving variety that flowers all summer long. It can be used as a climber or in a hanging basket. The Buddleja Summer Bird Compact White is a new addition to the Buddleja series. It is compact, has large flowers and attracts butterflies. Farina Bicolor Blue is part of the Salvia Farniacea series that consist of six varieties. It is a continuous bloomer, flowers are uniform, is self cleaning and fragrant. Bidens Port Royal Double has crown-like double flowers, has a compact, mounded habit and dark green foliage.

Alec Charais of Bailey Nurseries holding the Bloomstruck hydrangea (called Bloomstar in Europe). It is the fourth and most recent introduction in the Endless Summer collection. It is a heavy and aggressive bloomer, heat tolerant and has a compact growth habit.

Clockwise: Ligustrum vulgare Straight Talk is a variety from the First Editions brand. It is tightly upright without flop and a good substitute for ‘Sky Pencil’. It has white flowers which are followed by black fruit. It is founded by Mike Jeronimus of Green Acres Nursery in Golden, CO. The Diamond Rouge® Hydrangea is said to be the reddest H. paniculata on the market. It has abundant, long lasting flowers on strong stems that start white and progress to pink, raspberry red and finally wine red. It is bred by Jean Renault in France. Sweet Star Gardenia is covered in big single flowers followed by orange fruit. It blooms into late summer and early fall. The first Cinnamon Girl Distylium has been introduced five years ago. It is an alternative to boxwood and other evergreen plants beleaguered by insects and diseases in the south. Last year, it rapidly gained popularity.

More novelties of the California Spring Trials participants will follow soon.

Publication date: 4/14/2017
Author: Elita Vellekoop



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