It’s the time of year when growers’ minds start turning toward new varieties – how to build the right
Succulents continue their reign of popularity. New varieties are being introduced every year, and it’s exciting to see what breeders are developing. New breeding has resulted in more compact and colorful selections, without sacrificing production time or adding efforts.
The ever-popular hens and chicks are enjoying a resurgence in appeal, and new selections like Chris Hanson’s Chick Charms make a great addition to today’s production mix. Keep an eye out for Fusarium in hotter, humid climates. A monthly fungicide drench can help during warmer months.
As an added benefit, the new forms and colors make these new selections great choices for mixed containers. Their controlled habits and growth have them well-suited for a variety of combinations. And if you have a savvy container designer on staff, they’ll have a great time finding new and creative ways to explore their potential. As you’re building your combos, use a well-draining mix, and avoid watering in
Heuchera is another category that has enjoyed an explosion
The category continues to expand with lots of breeding and new varieties on the Heucherella side too. Since Heuchera and Tiarella came together in 2002, we’ve seen a huge swell of product development and increasing interest for both the landscape and containers. The aptly named and aptly timed Solar Eclipse has dramatic scalloped red/brown leaves with lime green borders. Pollinators love it, too.
Both Heuchera and Heucherella work great for mixed containers, which are also hot right now. Use a well-draining mix, and be sure to get plants finished prior to high summer temps, as this will slow their growth in warmer climates.
After a long period of under-appreciation, ornamental grasses are finally gaining some ground. The key when looking for great grasses is seeking selections with great landscape performance balanced by use-appropriate habit. One of my favorites is Pennisetum,
They were developed at the University of Georgia and provide many sizes and shapes to choose from for the landscape. While leaf spot can be a concern for some Pennisetum, recent selections have great resistance to leaf spot and are an easy addition to most programs. Some, like First Knight,
Finding new varieties
Working with breeders can be a great way to find new varieties. Find out who is working on new varieties of plants you grow, and visit with them at the next trade show. They are plant people too, and you will probably have plenty to talk about. Remember, they want you to sell their plants as much as you want to sell them; maybe more.