Each year, Colorado State University’s flower trial garden conducts a program that evaluates the performance of different annual plant cultivars under Colorado’s unique Rocky Mountain environmental conditions. Those growing conditions include high altitude, wind, intense sunlight, drying winds, severe hailstorms, large fluctuations between day and night temperatures and a season-long need for irrigation. The annual trial consists of over 1,000 different cultivars of annual bedding plants. Plants are grouped by genus, arranged by color and grown in rows, side-by-side, in order to compare similar varieties.

Best of Show – Argyranthemum ‘White Butterfly’ from Proven Winners
Perfection came covered with white flowers in 2016. This plant had continuous blooms all through the growing season and looked fresh even during the summer heat. Plants maintained excellent uniformity and continuous growth helped “bury the dead” so that no dead heading was required.

Best Novelty – Begonia ‘Jurassic' Red Splash from Ball Ingenuity
Fantastic foliage color gave this plant great interest as soon as it was planted in the garden. Foliage was a dramatic combination of red and silver with large jagged edges. A good choice for shady areas as it has iridescent foliage with the occasional beam of sunlight. Plants were well branched and also do well as an indoor plant.

Best New Variety – Lantana ‘Lucky' Red from Ball FloraPlant
Flowers were abundant and had many citrus tones but predominately noted for a good dark red. This plant was unique for combining both the red flower color with a very uniform growth habit. Blooming started early in the season and was noted that it doesn’t cycle in and out of flowering like other lantanas.

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