Due to increased industry demand, a two-year perennial evaluation trial was initiated at CSU in 2006. Perennials that have been introduced worldwide in the past three years are being evaluated. Each entry is being grown and evaluated for at least two growing seasons and winters.
In 2009, 14 perennial suppliers participated and there were 75 entries. The following ‘Top Performers’ were selected by the perennial trial sub-committee for their hardiness, overall appearance, maintenance requirements and lack of disease or insect problems. Five top performers worth considering to grow and retail in 2010 include:
- Anemone ‘Little Princess’PP19,670 (Little Princess Japanese Thimbleweed) is a Blooms of Bressingham Ltd. introduction which forms a neat mound and offersexceptional late season flower color. The flowers are a delicate pink, blended with white and have prominent gold stamens.It is a great perennial for thelightlyshaded border or the container garden.
- Another vigorous introduction from Blooms of Bressingham Ltd. ranking in the ‘Top Performers’ category is Geranium ‘Blogold’PP12,955 (Blue SunriseCranesbill). Emerging leaves have hints of orange which mature to a chartreuse color. The continuous bloom of blue-violet flowers provides a markedcontrastto foliage. It performs best in soil that does not become too dry.
- Hibiscus hybrid ‘Summer Storm’PP20,4033 (Summer Storm Rose Mallow) from Walters gardens, Inc. has interesting foliage that is deeply lobed. Thelargepink flowers with magenta eyes bloom for a long period. The leaves emerge later in the spring and plants perform best withsome additional water.
- Rudbeckia ‘Early Bird Gold’PP20,286 (Early Bird Gold Coneflower) from Dupont Plant Nursery, Inc. is a day neutral Rudbeckia. Thisallowsearlyseasonproduction of flowers that are golden and daisy like. It is a prolific bloomer if spent blooms are moved andgrows uniformly.Ithasmoderatetolow water requirements and good winter survival.
- From CP Delaware, Inc., Veronia spicata ‘Tickled Pink’PP16,182 (Tickled Pink Spike Speedwell) has exceptionally large pinkflowers that are long lasting. It grows quire uniformly, creating an impressive overall appearance. Removal of dead flowers prolongs blooming time.
For more information about these and other plants, go to www.perennialgarden.colostate.edu or visit the trials at 1401 Remington Street, located just west of University Center for the Arts on the Colorado State University campus.