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GARDENING : Three Potted-Plant Winners: Color Them Proud

August 27, 1994|JAMES E. WALTERS | ASSOCIATED PRESS

A multicolor lantana, a red geranium and a pink impatiens are 1994 FloraStar winners for new potted-plant introductions.

"Our testing shows they should perform well in climates across the country," says Mike Novovesky, FloraStar's executive director.

Among those participating in the selection process were the University of Georgia, University of Florida, Michigan State, Penn State and Washington State.

The lantana--Patriot Rainbow--is from American Daylily and Perennials, Grain Valley, Mo.

Said the judges: "The hallmark of this new lantana is its very compact and moderately slow growth habit. The internode spaces are very short, and self-branching is spontaneous; no pinching is necessary."

The color is described as ranging from chiffon yellow to orange to fuchsia pink, providing intense hues.

Foliage is typical lantana shape and scent, but leaves are smaller and more closely arranged. It forms a globe-shaped mound of 12 to 16 inches in a single season.

The geranium--Star Burst Red--is from Ball FloraPlant of West Chicago, Ill. It resulted from a cross of a single-flowered salmon with white red strips and a pure white.

"The novelty of this plant is its variable color . . . a real head-turner," said the judges.

Foliage is medium-green.

The impatiens--Pink Ice--is from D.S. Cole Growers of Loudon, N.H.

Said the judges: "This plant offers a new color to the variegated foliage, Summer-Ice series of impatiens. The variegated foliage is not only very attractive but has a growing habit that is much more compact than the greenleaf type of double impatiens."

A mature plant will be about 10 to 12 inches high and 12 to 14 inches wide "and makes an excellent hanging basket." Flowers are described as a strong pink.

FloraStar, a subsidiary of the Professional Plant Growers Assn., began announcing selections five years ago for potted plants. Its members include such major seed suppliers as Park Seed, Paul Ecke Poinsettias, Bodger Seed and Ball Seed and commercial growers such as Ellison's Greenhouse, Konjolan's Greenhouse, Park Floral, Lovell Farms, Molback's Greenhouse, Malmborg's, W.J. Miller, C. Baker & Sons, White's Nursery and Nurseryman's Exchange.

Novovesky is a former president of All-America Rose Selections.

"To be declared a winner, the new plant must offer improved performance and value to the commercial grower and consumer," he says.

Seasonal trials are conducted twice a year. Fall-winter trials include garden mums, poinsettias and cyclamen. Spring-summer trials include geraniums, lilies, impatiens and begonias.

Entries are limited to cultivars never before offered for sale in North America.

There have been seven other winners.

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