California Spring Trials Preview

Supplement - California Spring Trials Preview

February 29, 2016

Photo: Dreamstime.com

It’s difficult to believe that the 2016 Spring Trials tour is right around the corner! And with so many bags to pack, tickets to purchase, hotels to book and stops to browse during your trip, we’ve decided to do the heavy lifting for you by gathering breeders’ locations and contact information, as well as their top-pick new varieties to seek out as you’re traveling along the California coast. Plus, we bring you nearby, go-to destination spots and restaurants to visit while you’re there.— Compiled by Cassie Neiden and Michelle Simakis

Editor’s Note: Stops are ordered from North to South.

Proven Winners

Location: Kirigin Cellars Winery, 11550 Watsonville Road, Gilroy, CA 95020

Why visit? Proven Winners is at a new location, the Kirigin Cellars, which has a gorgeous view, along with a chance to sample a variety of wines, and plenty of room to enjoy the great outdoors.

Travel Tip: Gilroy is the Garlic Capital of the World, which is cool, if you like garlic! Try Mama Mia’s restaurant, or Sandy’s Café on Monterey Road if you enjoy diners with a personal touch.

Who to look for: Before the event: Kerry Meyer, kerry@provenwinners.com; During the event: Patti Williamson, patti@provenwinners.com, 586-904-8556

New Varieties:

1. Superbells Tropical Sunrise calibrachoa offers a unique color pattern of orange, pink and coral tones along with a rounded habit. Look forward to better flower coverage than Superbells Tequila Sunrise and blooms appearing even earlier. The flowers are held well above the foliage, and Tropical Sunrise has been screened specifically for resistance to Thielaviopsis. Grows 6 to 10 inches high with a spread of 12 to 24 inches. Full sun.

2. ‘Bright Lights’ osteospermum features large, bright yellow daisy flowers that will appear all season long. Bright Lights is heat tolerant, has a mounded habit and good vigor. Grows 8 to 12 inches high with an 8 to 12 inch spread. Full sun.

3. Supertunia Vista fuchsia offers an improved habit and vigorous growth that goes beyond Supertunia Vista Bubblegum. This is an all-season bloomer developed for the landscape with heat and humidity tolerance. Grows 16 to 24 inches high with a spread of up to 48 inches. Best in full sun. (Not pictured)

4. Supertunia ‘Picasso in Purple’ petunia extends this line of bicolor blooms to now include a trending color — purple. Expect improved branching, habit and flower coverage over foliage that is darker in color. This is an all-season bloomer with heat and humidity tolerance. Grows 8 to 12 inches high with a spread of 24 to 36 inches. Full sun.

Syngenta Flowers

Location: 2280 Hecker Pass Highway, Gilroy, CA 95020

Travel Tip: Stop by Gilroy Gardens while you’re in the area.

Who to look for: Melanie Fernandes, Melanie.fernandes@syngenta.com, 408-847-4573

New Varieties:

1. ‘Calliope’ Medium Dark Red geranium is perfect for quarts and pots 12 inches or larger. It has a more controlled habit than larger geraniums but similar growing and vigor. Calliope Medium Dark Red has bold color and strong heat and drought tolerance.

2. ‘BeeBright’ compact pentas are a new, uniform, well-branched series with strong performance. Flowering earlier than other pentas, ‘BeeBright’ is ideal for high density production in 4-inch pots, quarts or gallons. With its continuous flowering, it attracts pollinators and stays colorful at retail.

3. ‘Snaptastic’ snapdragon is a new series that produces large flowers and long-lasting color. Its strong root system makes it more resilient to heat and its tough stems support lateral branching, which leads to less breakage. ‘Snaptastic’ is available in pink, magenta, red, orange flame and yellow.

4. ‘TopSpin’ begonia series is one of the earliest and most uniform green leaf series in the market. It can be finished cool with other spring bedding plants, leading to lower energy costs in production. ‘TopSpin’ begonias have great vigor and branching, and the series works well in a variety of pot sizes, including hanging baskets.

5. ‘Prairie Splendor’ Compact Rose Echinacea is a new addition to the award-winning perennial series. With its upright habit, fewer plant growth regulator applications are needed. ‘Prairie Splendor’ has fragrant blooms and will flower the first year.

Danziger “Dan” Flower Farm (including Varinova)

Location: Headstart Nursery, 4860 Monterey Rd, Gilroy, CA 95020

Why visit? Face-to-face, plants look much better. Let us spark your imagination with our celebration of innovations — new, beautiful varieties, new colors and more durability to existing varieties. We'd love to meet up, share stories, discuss the future and make it come true together.

Travel Tip: Favorite restaurants include Westside Grill and Mama Mia’s

Who to look for: Chanochi Zaks and Mike Fernandez. For scheduling meetings, contact sharon@danziger.co.il or dana-fer@danziger.co.il

New Varieties:

1. ‘Petunia Amore’ Queen of Hearts features a semi-trailing growth habit and large colorful flowers decorated with contrasting stripes. It blooms from early spring until late autumn and performs well in pots, baskets and mixed containers.

2. Calibrachoa ‘Colibri’ Cherry Lace produces an abundance of large flowers with a compact, mounded growth habit. Blooms from early spring until late autumn, and flowers also in short, 10-hour days. Ideal for pots, compact baskets and mixes.

3. Bidens ‘Blazing Glory’ has single or semi-double flowers that are sun and heat lovers, but can also handle cold temperatures. Performs well in mixed containers, pots, hanging baskets and flowerbeds. There are three new varieties with specific features: large orange-yellow flowers, extra-large golden flowers and extra-large yellow flowers.

4. Petunia ‘Classic Blue Ray’ grows well in pots, baskets and mixed containers, and features large flowers on a mounded growth habit. Flowers early and has high longevity.

Pacific Plug & Liner

Location: 750 Casserly Rd, Watsonville, CA 95076

Why visit? Pacific Plug & Liner will showcase ‘Planthology, A Collection of Grower Solutions,’ featuring echibeckia, grasses, hellebore and hydrangea. This year we are hosting Cohen, Cultivaris, Hishtil, Jaldety, MPS & the branded plant collections Encore, Southern Living Plant Collection and Sunset Western Garden Collection. We welcome a new vendor, Bailey Nurseries, to help strengthen our assortment in perennials and shrubs. Our comparison trial is back as well, this year featuring Lavender; nearly 100 varieties.

Travel Tip: Enjoy dinner at West End Tap & Kitchen after your visit. 334D Ingalls St., Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Who to look for: April Herring-Murray, packtrials@ppandl.net, 831-768-63119

New Varieties:

1. Petunia Happy Classic Yellow Orange Stripes bred by Breier exclusively for Cohen is brand new for season 2016-2017. The variety boasts a large single flower in a beautiful, yellow color with orange stripes. The Petunia Happy range includes several types: Classic, Double, Giant, Mini, Miniature and the Magic series with crazy magical colors.

2. The Salvia x microphylla collection from Cultivaris is a series of the gregii-type that’s compact with bushy Salvias. Its flexible, non-brittle stems improve sell-through and retail appeal. The series, including ‘Berkeley Barb’, ‘Dazzler’, ‘Elmira’, ‘Free Speech’, ‘Gleneden’, ‘Roseburg’ and ‘Syracuse’ have excellent performance all season long, from May to October. Hardy to zone 7.

3. Sedum telephium ‘Chocolate Cherry’ is a superb dark-leaved hybrid bred for Cultivaris by Dutch breeder Marco Van Noort. This variety has been impressive in both field and pot trials. Strong disease resistance, an excellent well-branched habit and beautiful red blooms in summer atop the charcoal-black leaves make this the Sedum to beat.

4. Jaldety’s Pelargonium ‘Pinki Pinks’ is an outstanding evergreen perennial with long flowering season. Its masses of pink flowers bloom from early spring to late autumn. This variety is drought resistant, attracts butterflies and is low maintenance. Ideal for hanging baskets, trails over the side of containers, small groundcover, rock gardens, window and patio boxes.

5. A new Penstemon series bred in the UK by Fred Yates for Hishtil Nurseries has been bred for the best of both worlds – for the pot plant grower and the home gardener. The series has broad leaves with short, stiff stems holding the blooms clear of the foliage.

6. ScentAmazing Gardenia jasminoides ‘Leetwo’ from Southern Living Plant Collection has white, early blooms against dark, evergreen foliage. Can be used as an accent, container and in a mass planting or as a hedge. Produces white blooms beginning in later spring, re-blooming summer through fall. 3.5’ high by 4’ wide. USDA Zones 7 to 10.

7. Lagerstromia indica Delta Fusion Crapemyrtle ‘Delee’ from Southern Living Plant Collection bears dark pink blooms that contrast vividly with this unique, dark burgundy, leaves. This versatile small tree is a stunning garden accent. Blooms in summer. Full sun to part shade. 8 to 12’ high by 4 to 6’ wide. Hardy to USDA Zone 7 to 9.

8. Camellia hiemalis October Magic ‘Ruby Camellia’ from Southern Living Plant Collection is a festive Christmas red with fully double blooms that decorate the deep green, super glossy foliage on this compact plant. Ruby can be used as an accent plant or as a hedge. Blooms in fall. Full sun to part shade. 4 to 5’ high by 4 to 5’ wide. Hardy to USDA Zones 7 to 9.

9. Hydrangea paniculata ‘White Light’ from Southern Living Plant Collection is a prolific bloomer. It produces large tight clusters of blooms that can be used as cut flowers. Very versatile in the landscape. Can be grown in a container, as an accent, hedge or mass planting. Tolerates most native soils. Full sun to part shade. 4 to 6’ high by 3 to 5’ wide. USDA Zones 3 to 8.

10. Salvia microphylla ‘Killer Cranberry’ from Sunset Western Garden Collection boasts magenta flowers on tall spikes lure honeybees and hummingbirds. It has dense, fragrant foliage, is long–blooming and drought resistant. Can be used in boarders, garden beds and containers. Two to 3’ high by 3 to 4’ wide. USDA Zones 8-10. (Introduced by Cultivaris)

11. Carex ‘Feather Falls’ from Pacific Plug & Liner is a vigorous, super-sized variegated Carex that will work in almost any landscape condition. ‘Feather Falls’ proves its toughness in the summer months by tolerating full sun conditions without burning while it also thrives in shady conditions. USDA Zones 5 to 9. Height: 12 to 18” x 18 to 24”

12. Pacific Plug and Liner Helleborus Frostkiss ‘Glenda’s Gloss’ is a new cultivar from the breeding program of Rodney Davey. Glenda’s Gloss™ sports marbled foliage with violet-white bicolor flowers, which give the look of a white flower dipped in violet paint. Growth habit and bloom time will be similar to that of Glenda’s sisters Penny and Anna. USDA Zones 5 to 8. Height: 24 inches x 24 inches.

13. Pacific Plug & Liner’s Helleborus Frostkiss ‘Pippa’s Purple’ is a new Rodney Davey hybrid that is keeping up with the trends, Pippa’s flower color is a near match to Pantone 2015 Color of the Year, Marsala. Pippa’s flowers are accessorized with some deep burgundy speckles and has marbled foliage. Growth habit and bloom time will be similar to that of ‘Penny’s Pink’ and ‘Anna’s Red’. USDA Zones 5 to 8. Height: 24”x 24”.

Benary

Location: 195 Paulsen Rd, Watsonville, CA 95076

Why visit? “Our excitement shows through in everything we do,” says Jennifer Calhoun, marketing specialist. “Come see our innovative plant displays, troubleshooting ideas, new varieties, and new ways to improve your profitability.”

Travel Tip: Grab a bite at a little sushi restaurant called Miyuki at 452 E Lake Ave. Watsonville, CA 95076

Who to look for: Jennifer Calhoun, jcalhoun@benary.com, 630-777-5751

New Varieties:

1. Begonia x hybrida Funky Pink is a breakthrough in begonia breeding. The novel flower, bright color and fun name will grab attention. It‘s easy to grow and ship, and great in mixed containers. Add Begonia Funky Pink to your premium hanging basket program.

2. You loved Begonia Santa Cruz, now you’ll love Begonia boliviensis Santa Barbara. Santa Barbara‘s huge, clean white flowers thrive in heat and sun, and have extraordinary garden performance. Ideal for premium containers and extending summer sales.

3. Bellis perennis Speedstar Plus is the perfect complement to pansies in mixed containers or quarts. Better uniformity, and a compact habit with smaller leaves means Speedstar Plus works better in your high-density production.

Speedling (including ABZ Seeds, Hem Genetics, Plant Source International, Thompson & Morgan, Vista Farms)

Location: 2640 San Juan Highway, San Juan Bautista, CA 95045

Who to look for: Bonnie Marshall, bmarshall@speedling.com, 352-316-0264

Golden State Bulb Growers

Location: 3060 Hilltop Rd, Moss Landing, CA 95039

Why visit? GSBG will be introducing a line-up of new varieties including Callafornia Callas and Aloha Lily Eucomis. Experience the colorful array of Callafornia Callas, the timeless beauty of AmeriHybrid Begonias, buzzworthy Aloha Lily eucomis and Caribbean Jewels Scilla on display.

Travel Tip: Get your seafood fix at Phil’s Fish Market, named Best Seafood Restaurant in the World by BBC Travel, 7600 Sandholdt Rd, Moss Landing, CA 95039

Who to look for: Ashley Nally, ashleyn@goldenstatebulb.com, 209-380-6087

New Varieties:

1. Callafornia Callas Lip Gloss has lustrous, hot pink blooms with medium green foliage. Well-suited for small- to large-potted plant programs, Lip Gloss has a full habit and produces high flower counts.

2. Callafornia Callas Peach Pazazz produces large, peach-colored blooms whose color intensifies with age. The blooms are perched just above the matte foliage. The overall effect is one of a living bouquet. Peach Pazazz is highly floriferous and best-suited for pot production.

3. Callafornia Callas Peppermint Twist produces uniquely colored blooms with shades of salmon to rusty red. The blooms are held above maculated foliage on long stems. This is a highly floriferous variety. Peppermint Twist is an excellent choice for cut flower production.

4. Callafornia Callas Strawberry Blush is an excellent cut flower variety with large, blushing pink blooms. The blooms are produced on strong stems that rise above the matte-green, upright foliage. Strawberry Blush is also well suited for pot production.

American Takii (including HMA Plants, OHP, Inc.)

Location: 301 Navidad Rd, Salinas, CA 93906

Why visit? American Takii is presenting key varieties with vital information for growers and in displays that retailers won’t want to miss. Among the items in the spotlight this year, along with new varieties, will be Takii’s canna, petunia, Asian vegetables and agastache.

Travel Tip: If someone is craving good Indian food, Avatar Indian Grill (modern food with authentic taste) is great place. Located in Creekbridge Plaza at 1568 Constitution Blvd, Salinas, CA 93905, it’s less than 3 miles away from the stop.

Who to look for: Julia Paul, springtrials@takii.com, 831-443-4901

New Varieties:

1. Salvia Summer Jewel Lavender is a 2016 AAS Regional Winner. Lavender is a beautifully unique color for a Salvia coccinea, and joins the three other varieties in the series (Red, Pink and White), all of which are AAS winners. The Summer Jewel series is early to bloom, continues flowering until frost, and attracts pollinators.

2. Petunia Trilogy Deep Purple has the same outstanding habit as the other varieties in the Trilogy series, and is a vibrantly lush, eye-catching color. Deep Purple has the same dome-shaped, prolific blooming plant habit for which the Trilogy series is known. The series has critically important benefits for growers, retailers and consumers.

HilverdaKooij BV

Location: 301 Natividad Rd, Salinas, CA 93906

Why visit? HilverdaKooij BV is a specialist breeder from Holland that will showcase the new Dianthus Flow line and the Mooodz Echinacea line.

Travel Tip: Giorgio’s at 201 Main, Salinas CA 93901 is your go-to restaurant nearby.

Who to look for: Jeroen de Kuijer, Jeroen.dekuijer@hilverdakooij.nl, +31 6 53172387

New Varieties:

1. Mooodz Awake, first Echinacea line that can be programmed for flowering.

2. HilverdaKooij BV will introduce the new Flow Grace Bay line, which includes six colors.

3. Beauties Olivia Wild, the fourth color in the Olivia line.

4. Inticancha Moon Light boasts nice, bi-color flowering inticancha that are great for 8-inch pots.

Sakata Seed America (including MasterTag, Summit Plastics)

Location: 105 Boronda Rd Salinas, CA 93907

Why visit? This year Sakata will be host to a celebration that no one should miss out on. Come join us for our SunPatiens 10th Birthday Party!

Travel Tip: Sakata’s favorite restaurant near the stop is Gino’s Italian Restaurant, 1410 S. Main St., Salinas, CA 93908

Who to look for: Jiana Escobar jescobar@sakata.com 408-782-5379

Varieties:

1. Majorette gerbera is a uniform gerbera series perfect for quarts and larger containers with multiple plants. It's also offered as Slick Coat for streamlined sowing and singulation. Available in seven bright colors.

2. Over the years, Sakata has promoted SunPatiens’ “three-season flower power, adaptability to both sun and shade and 3-to-1 coverage in the garden and the landscape.” This year, SunPatiens introduces four new colors: Compact Fire Red, Compact Orchid, Compact Tropical Rose with variegated leaf and Spreading Pink Kiss.

3. Planet Delphinium is a versatile, new series that is performs well as a cut, bedding or potted crop. It is early blooming and is available in two colors. Delicate, star-shaped flowers make Planet a perfect bouquet component, and both Blue and Light Pink color options are on trend with Pantone’s colors of the year.

4. Ping Pong Gomphrena delivers a burst of color in containers and mass plantings. It also adds height and dimension, making it a garden cut flower candidate. Some other benefits of Ping Pong include easy production, drought tolerance and few maintenance requirements.

5. Bloomingdale II Ranunculus offers a compact habit that is ideal for quarts, gallons and mixed containers. Pelleted seed allows for streamlined production and early and uniform flowering. Bloomingdale II offers a stunning mix of six brilliantly clear colors.

6. Rosanne II Lisianthus is a standard double lisianthus with strong flowers that hold up well for shipping. Rosanne II's new color, Deep Brown, is a lavender-brown color that adds a unique element to floral arrangements.

Floricultura (including Westhoff, PAC, Beekenkamp and Plug Connection)

Location: 25425 Esperanza Rd, Salinas, CA 93908

Why visit? Floricultura will be the host site for the California Spring Trials. Their latest build, a 400,000-square-foot glass greenhouse, will be the CAST home for German breeding companies, Westhoff and PAC, Dutch breeding company, Beekenkamp, and San Diego County-based young plant producer, Plug Connection.

Travel Tip: Favorite Restaurant: Patria, 228 Main St., Salinas, CA 93901

Who to look for: Chris Berg; 805-509-0382

New Varieties:

1. Westhoff’s Portulaca ColorBlast Series sets a new standard for drought-tolerant color. From the vivaciously colored single mixes to the explosive fully doubles, to the industry-changing stripes, the ColorBlast line is bringing a lot of excitement to garden beds and borders for low-maintenance summertime color.

Dümmen Orange (at Barrelhouse Brewing Company)

Location: 3055 Limestone Way, Paso Robles, CA 93446

Why visit? Celebrate the unveiling of the new Dümmen Orange production location in Guatemala: Antigua Flowers. You’ll also discover an expansion of Dümmen Orange’s perennial line, along with innovative additions to the potted collection.

Travel Tip: Located at the low-key BarrelHouse Brewing Co., you’ll want to stick around after perusing the Dümmen Orange display. Grab a craft brew and enjoy some conversation in the beer garden.

New Varieties:

1. A brand new series introduction for 2017, Gaillardia ‘SpinTop’ showcases large, dazzling blooms that do a great job of attracting pollinators. This exciting new series is first-year flowering, mid-sized in the landscape and blooms continually for loads of color and long-season interest.

2. Three fantastic new additions are coming to the popular Phlox ‘Early’ series including Cerise, Pink Blush and White Improved. With the earliest bloom time of any paniculata-type Phlox, ‘Early’ is smart and reliable choice for early spring through fall perennial programs. Plants are compact and first-year flowering with an exceptionally long flowering period.

Dümmen Orange/HGTV HOME Plant Collection (at Edna Valley Vineyard)

Location: 2585 Biddle Ranch Rd, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

Why visit? Discover how Dümmen Orange is reinventing classic charm with unique products, from new additions in its mainstay annual collection, to distinctive blooms in its cut flower line.

Travel Tip: No need to go far — this Dümmen Orange stop is located at the top-rated Edna Valley Vineyard. Be sure to set aside some time to relax with a glass of wine and enjoy the incredible valley view.

New Varieties:

1. ‘Aloha Ultra Yellow’ from Dümmen Orange is a top performer with bright yellow large flowers and a trailing habit. New for 2017, this vivid variety is ideal for basket production and pairs especially well with reds, purples and oranges.

2. An absolutely striking new begonia just in time for the National Garden Bureau’s Year of the Begonia, ‘Unbelievable Tweetie Pie’ from Dümmen Orange is a must-have for your spring and potted programs. This variety features hybrid breeding for better branching and a medium-compact habit. Soft yellow, double blooms are prolific and pop against dark green foliage.

3. A standout solution for grower and landscape programs, the ‘SunStanding’ series of New Guinea impatiens from Dümmen Orange has been carefully selected for compact uniformity without PGR requirements. Brand new, vibrant color selections for 2017 complement the already diverse color assortment. The series thrives in a wide variety of planting locations.

Windmill Nursery (including Kientzler, Terra Nova Nurseries, KiwiFlora, Dramm Corporation, Smithers Oasis, Pelemix Coco Coir, McConkey, Ginegar Plastic Products, FLOREP)

Location: 925 West Highway 246 Buellton, CA 93427

Why visit? The site hosts some of the leading breeding, URC supply chain and hard goods companies in North America. Apart from Terra Nova and Kientzler, this year KiwiFlora from New Zealand will be hosting their first California Spring Trials at Windmill Nursery. You will experience firsthand some of our industries leading “tech” and hard goods suppliers listed above.

Travel Tip: Visit Hitching Post II restaurant, which appeared in the movie “Sideways.”

Who to look for: Marc Englert, marc@florep.com, 805-850-8839

New Varieties:

1. Kientzler’s calendula ‘Power Daisy’ is a compact sterile double flower calendula that is good for baskets, 8-inch or gallon pots. Power Daisy is great as a season opener in cool weather but also extends into retail into early summer. In fact, the breeder likes to consider Power Daisy for fall plantings as well. Produces a bright yellow display in the landscape.

2. Terra Nova Nurseries’ kniphofia ‘Poco Sunset’ boasts a prolific bloom count. The ‘Poco’ series is Terra Nova’s compact growing, multiple-season blooming kniphofia. This two-toned color combo is similar to the Terra Nova ‘Popsicle’ series, but only 2/3 the garden height.

3. Terra Nova Nurseries’ heucherella ‘Plum Cascade’ displays a unique color in the innovative trailing Heucherella category. Plum Cascade’s silvery-violet foliage is sunfast and brightens shady spots, too. Bred with heat tolerant villosa, Plum Cascade thrives in humidity, yet is Zone 4 hardy. Spreading up to 36 inches in the first year, this trailing Heucherella lends itself to a multitude of uses from mixed containers, hanging baskets and even as ground cover.

Ball Horticultural (including Ball FloraPlant, Ball Ingenuity, Burpee, Darwin Perennials, Kieft Seed, PanAmerican Seed, Morel Diffusion, Selecta and Wave)

Location: 335 South Briggs Road, Santa Paula, CA 93060

Why visit? The Ball stop in Santa Paula includes displays from nine breeding companies and brands showcasing hundreds of products representing all corners of the industry. Enjoy a full day with us!

Travel Tip: When you include the Ball stop in your Spring Trials travels you’ll have easy access to historic downtown Ventura, California, with abundant shopping, dining and nightlife. You are also close to Ventura Harbor, which has dining, shopping and is home to the Channel Islands National Park headquarters and visitors center.

Who to look for: Janessa Bender is our Spring Trials concierge. Contact her before trials at 630-588-3187 (springtrials@ballhort.com) to arrange hotel reservations. For questions while on site in Santa Paula, call 805-525-3348.

New Varieties:

1. Petunia ColorRush is new vegetative petunia series from Ball FloraPlant with big-time vigor with even bigger garden performance. ColorRush provides mounds of color and holds up in the heat and rain. Ideal for landscapes and large baskets.

2. Begonia Megawatt is a super-uniform and programmable begonia from PanAmerican Seed that glows with premium, easy color in landscapes, baskets and big tubs from spring through fall. Its sturdy stems hold flowers above the foliage for superior show.

3. The Take 2 Tomato Combo from Burpee is hardworking container solution for small-space gardening. Each Take 2 combo has a slicing type and a small-fruited type tomato that have been trialed together for habit and fruit timing. Three selections are available for 2017 retail sales.

4. Selecta’s Calibrachoa StarShine features novelty colors that are truly striking in hanging baskets. StarShine has a stable star pattern and strong garden performance. Grower-friendly, too!

5. Strawberry Sweet Kiss from Ball Ingenuity is an ever-bearing strawberry that yields large, dark red fruit from June until frost. Its great flavor beats other berries in blind taste tests.

6. Wave’s Pansy Cool Wave Morpho is a popular bicolor now available in premium spreading/trailing Cool Wave Pansies. Cool Wave has superior overwintering — the earliest pansy to return in Spring. It crushes the competition in trailing and filling containers.

7. Kieft Seed’s Perovskia Blue Steel is a high-quality, affordable seed Perovskia. Aromatic, silvery foliage carries clouds of small blue flowers. Its sturdy, controlled landscape habit is comparable to the vegetative market leader.

8. The Coreopsis UpTick series from Darwin Perennials has a tidy, mounded habit that makes it easy to ship. Very attractive in the landscape. It offers bigger flowers and longer blooming for more color at retail and in the garden.

9. The Cyclamen Abanico series from Morel Diffusion is a premium novelty midi-type with a slightly wavy and fan-shaped flower. There are three well-defined colors edged in white, with abundant and central flowering.

Green Fuse Botanicals

Location: 15245 Telegraph Rd, Santa Paula, CA 93060

Why visit? Green Fuse will have more than 30 new or improved varieties introductions on display at the 2016 California Spring Trials. There will be new introductions within our Optimal Annual and First Light Perennial categories.

Travel Tip: The downtown area of Ventura is a great stop on the way through the area. There are plenty of restaurants to choose from as well as cultural locations. The beach area is only a couple miles away from downtown.

Who to look for: Lorena Castro-Craven, lccraven@green-fuse.com, 310-980-9826

New Varieties:

1. Petunia ‘Good and Plenty’ Bubbilicious showcases a bright pink flower that will highlight any container or garden. The ‘Good and Plenty’ line is early to flower with a mounded, semi-trailing plant habit, ideal for all container sizes.

2. Salvia splendens ‘Grandstand’ Red Pink Lipstick is a magnet for nectar-loving birds and butterflies. It grows into stately, full plants that remain in flower from early spring (day-neutral) until autumn frost. Finish height is 18 to 24 inches.

3. Streptocarpus ‘Ladyslippers’ Grape Ice produces a multitude of smaller flowers on a compact plant. Streptocarpus can be successfully grown as an indoor house plant as well as a shady location outdoors for spring and summer.

4. Veronica ‘Vernique’ Shinning Sea’s blue flowers have a bit of white peeking through the mid-blue flowers, giving it a bicolor effect. Vernique are first year flowering and programmable. Garden height is 12 to 18 inches.

GroLink Plant Company, Inc.

Location: 4107 West Gonzales Rd, Oxnard, CA 93036

Why visit? See the newest varieties from 14 breeders, both domestic and international, at the GroLink stop in Southern California.

Travel Tip: For dinner, stop by Lure Fish House, 259 West Ventura Blvd, Camarillo, CA 93010

Who to look for: Yasmin Jafroodi, yasmin@grolink.com, 800-451-6319

New Varieties:

1. Dianthus hybrida DEVON COTTAGE from PlantHaven contains fancy pink and white striped fragrant blooms carried on sturdy stems. This variety attracts bees and butterflies and can be used in a container, in a border, as a mass landscape planting or cut flower.

2. Abutilon hybrida PATIO LANTERN from PlantHaven boasts large, bell-shaped blooms in appealing, watermelon tones. PATIO LANTERN is heat and drought tolerant once established and has a long blooming season from summer to fall.

3. Abelia x grandiflora ‘Radiance’ from PlantHaven has long summer-to-fall blooming season, showing off variegated foliage in medium green with creamy yellow margins. Tight, compact habit. Heat and drought tolerant.

4. Isotoma axillaris FIZZ N POP from PlantHaven is an Australian native that shows off its outrageously large flowers (up to 1.5 inches in size) in an iridescent violet purple tone with cheery yellow eyes in a tidy, compact, rounded habit. Great for beneficial pollinating insects.

5. With gently waving ‘plumes’ in fluorescent colors, Royal Van Zanten’s Celosia Hot Topic has a unique flower and is suitable as an indoor plant as well as a garden plant planted in a pot, dish or in the flower border. Celosia demands little maintenance and may continue to flower beautifully for three months.

6. The Royal Asters series from Royal Van Zanten features plants covered with daisy-like flowers in a wide range of intense blue-violet colors. Tiara varieties will look beautiful all on their own in large pots on the patio and are also perfect for combining with other flower varieties. This gives their dense, bushy habit an even more luxurious look.

7. Dianthus Flow Series from Flamingo Holland features six beautiful colors, extremely large flowers, and long lasting blooms. Perfect for a quart to gallon container. Perennial hardy to zone 5.

8. Lily Jumping for Joy Series from Flamingo Holland is a popular brand of lilies now showcasing Combinations. The lilies are fast and easy to grow with beautiful results.

9. Petunia ‘Surfinia Heartbeat’ from Suntory is an adorable novelty -- white flowers with a pattern of pink hearts. The hearts grow with love, care and adequate fertilizer. Plants have a compact mounding and trailing habit. Charming in hanging baskets, containers and window boxes.

10. Pericallis ‘Senetti Ruby Red’ from Suntory is breakthrough color in Senetti pericallis, which is best known for vivid blues, purples and magentas. Ruby Red’s flowers have solid, deep wine red petals with dark centers. Plants match the original Senetti series in growth habit.

11. An addition to the Suntory Surfinia Sumo landscape class of petunias is Petunia ‘Sumo Glacial Pink’. Blooms are a light, frosty pink with vibrant pink throats. Vigorous plants create mounds of color that are perfect for landscape beds and very large containers.

12. Suntory is rolling out a whole new generation of Surdiva scaevolas. Varieties are two weeks earlier, more densely branched and compact, and offer richer colors and superior floral coverage. Three new colors include Light Blue, Blue Violet and Fashion Pink.

13. BRAZELBERRIES ‘Baby Cakes’ from Fall Creek Farm & Nursery is a dwarf (3 to 4 feet), thornless blackberry, transforms how gardeners grow blackberries. No more unwieldy blackberries. Baby Cakes is perfect for container gardening with its compact habit, white spring flowers and large, sweet summer berries and lush foliage.

14. Garvinea ‘Sweet Caroline’ from Florist Holland produces magnificent, large flowers for plenty of color to enjoy. Blooming from early spring until late fall, they generate four to five times more flowers than other daisies to brighten gardens and container plantings.

15. With its soft pink color and a touch of white around the center, Garvinea ‘Sweet Memories’ from Florist Holland may look sweet and cute and all, but it’s a tough one. ‘Sweet Memories’ has great garden performance and a high resistance to pests and diseases.

16. Patio Gerbera ‘Fundy’ from Florist Holland is a gerbera for large patio containers with voluminous, uniform plants that look sensational on every deck, porch, veranda or patio. The bicolored ‘Fundy’ is one of new varieties in the line-up of Patio Gerberas that finishes way faster.

17. Patio Gerbera ‘Glacier’ from Florist Holland is quick to flower, with tons of full, pure white flowers. Fun bonus: it is an excellent cut flower as well. Blooms measure up to 12 cm (5 inches) in diameter, and will last for two weeks in a vase.

18. Gediflora is introducing new variety called ‘Vega Red’ in 2017. This decorative variety will flower in early September and have large burgundy flowers with excellent color retention and shelf life. ‘Vega Red’ has medium vigor, is suitable for any pot size. Round habit and great flexibility.

19. Gediflora has been very successful in cross marketing Belgian mums and Belgian Mum beer in Europe. Most customers who buy chrysanthemums are interested in purchasing beer as well, so Gediflora was able to extend their sales beyond late summer and fall. They hope to make the Belgian Mum No1 available here in U.S. and Canada very soon.

20. Vivero Internacional’s Pelargonium Belmonte Night’s dark foliage stands out because of its deep red flower color. This variety is perfect for quart programs. The Belmonte series is very durable in shipping and has a very long shelf live in the retail store.

21. Vivero Internacional’s Pelargonium Mint Julep’s interspecific breeding brings its white-edged foliage to a different level. The red flower above the white foliage sets a great contrast in every flower bed. This new variety is much more vigorous as regular colored leaf Pelargoniums.

22. The most “talked about” Calibrachoa variety at the moment, Calibrachoa Candy Bouquet from Vivero Internacional is an early-flowering variety shines out of the crowed with its fluorescent magenta accents crossed with sunny yellow starbursts.

EuroAmerican Propagators

Location: 32149 Aquaduct Rd, Bonsall, CA 92003

Why visit? Join us at EuroAmerican April 7 to 9, 2016 to view trials from more than a dozen breeders from across the globe including: Ball FloraPlant, Suntory, Westhoff, Proven Winners and many more. We have successfully incorporated innovative plants in a range of categories including: annual color, perennials, succulents, grasses, tropical and shrubs.

Who to look for: Tom Foley, Executive Manager of Operations, TFoley@PWEuro.com, 630-251-1938

Travel Tip: After your visit, head to Grand Tradition Estate Gardens, 220 Grand Tradition Way, Fallbrook, CA 92028, 855-728-6466

New Varieties:

1. SAVVY SUCCULENTS ‘Sassy Grassy’ looks like a Kniphofia at first glance, but it’s an aloe! Bright orange flowers perched on long grass-like stalks emerging from lush, green, grassy foliage. Add texture and sass to any container or landscape with this stunner. (Full sun, zones 8 to 11, 12 to 24 inches)

2. ‘Soiree’ Ka-wa-i-i are micro blooming catharanthus which will light up any garden with their amazing flower coverage, vivid eye-drawing colors with deep glossy green foliage. Keeps habit all summer long, has no leggy branches and has tons of flower power. (Full sun, zones 8 to 11, 6 to 10 inches)

3. Street Fighters Jiu-Jitsu are up for the challenge, and will lead your garden to flawless victory. Escallonia are low water use, have nearly year round flowering, and make great hedges. Jiu-Jitsu has glossy green leaves with fuchsia red blooms on a compact upright habit (Part sun to Part shade, zones 7 to 9, 24 to 48 inches)

4. ‘Grace’ Haze has the best upright habit on a Gaura we've ever seen. Measuring around 2.5 to 3 feet tall, you would nearly mistake it for a grass if it wasn't for all the fairy like blooms floating amidst the red stems and soft, green foliage. (Full sun, zones 7 to 10, 30 to 36 inches)