Eight Top Picks from CSU Annual Trials

On Aug. 9, 2022 about 200 professionals evaluated close to 1,200 different planted annuals at the Colorado State University (CSU) Annual Flower Trials. Many of CSU’s flower seed and vegetative companies visit the trials and evaluate a portion of the different varieties. A luncheon was served at which the College of Agricultural Sciences Interim President and Dean and other university administrators made comments.

Each year, the garden is maintained by CSU’s Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, with guidance from a committee of growers, flower seed and plant companies, and public garden horticulturalists. For more information on these and other outstanding annuals from the 2022 trials, visit www.flowertrials.colostate.edu.

The following eight plants were ranked high by professionals on Aug. 9 and confirmed a second time on Sept. 8 by the Annual Trial Garden Advisory Committee.

2022 ‘Best of Show’ – SunPatiens® Vigorous Peach Candy from Sakata Seed America

Prolific peach-colored flowers blanketed the attractive dark green foliage. Bicolor peach and white blooms kept a nice pattern and maintained vibrant color even in the intense Colorado sun. Plants were noted for their great vigor and uniform shape. Plants would be ideal for providing massive color in the landscape.

2022 ‘Best New Variety’ – Salvia Rockin’® Deep Purple 2023 from Proven Winners

Deep purple flowers combined with dark calyx and stems made a great contrast with the attractive darker green foliage. Plants were very sturdy and did not lodge even with overhead irrigation. Growth habit was uniform and plants had excellent vigor. This plant is a good choice for either ground or containers.

2022 ‘Best Novelty’ – Angel Wings® Senecio from Concept Plant

Soft, silky white foliage shimmers in the sunlight and creates a dramatic look in the landscape with its broad, wavy leaves. It is a “stunner” that attracts the eye and makes you want to touch it but also makes a great accent with other plants. Plants are uniform in overall appearance and have the added benefit of being drought tolerant.

Five other top vote getters in other categories include:

Best Begonia (seed), ground – Bionic™ Green Leaf Pink from Syngenta Flowers

Huge flowers and large foliage made this plant standout. The large blooms had two-tone flowers in soft shades of pink. Plant vigor was excellent. The self-cleaning plants will excel in both sun or shade conditions.

Best Calibrachoa – Bumble Bee™ Hot Pink from Ball FloraPlant®

From a distance, this plant was impressive all season with good vigor, a great rounded habit and a blanket of bright pink flowers covering the container. Up close, the hot pink blooms stand out with a starburst pattern of yellow in the center and throat.

Best Geranium (Interspecific) ground – Caliente® Coral Salmon from Syngenta Flowers

The bright coral flower color is very bold against dark green foliage and dark flower stems. The single petalled flowers were very abundant and covered the plants for a spectacular show of color. Plants had great vigor and were very uniform.

Best Petunia (mini) ground – Supertunia Mini Vista® from Proven Winners

Plants were loaded with petite yellow flowers such that the foliage was almost unseen. This plant would make a great spreader for the landscape or look good in a large planter. Evaluators described it as a smaller yellow version of Supertunia Vista® Bubblegum®, which has won CSU Flower Trial awards more times than any other petunia over the years.

Best Verbena ground – EnduraScape™ Pink Bicolor (Balenedpibi) PP28,455 from Ball FloraPlant®

Noted for consistent flowering over the high heat of the summer, this plant is also bred to be relatively cold tolerant. It remained in bloom all season without any flushing. Plants are vigorous with a uniform habit and were designated as an AAS winner in 2017. Many more were also given “Best Of” awards and can be viewed on our website www.flowertrials.colostate.edu.