Ever wonder why there are different Supertunia® Picassos®, several types of Lobularia, and other multiple options? We asked Tom Smith, President of Four Star Greenhouse, to explain what makes each variety stand out, and why you should grow them.
Tom Smith, President of Four Star Greenhouse.
Growers looking through the Four Star catalog will see many examples of plant genera available in different varieties. It can be a bit confusing if you don’t know why they are different, but by offering varieties with distinct growing and performance characteristics, both growers and gardeners can select the plants that fit them best.
We asked Tom Smith to explain why new varieties are developed. “Proven Winners® may find a winner, but if it can’t fit all uses, Proven Winners will find another one that does,” he says. “Our first priority is to make sure the plant works for consumers, and also to make sure they are easy for growers to grow.”
By comparing the popular varieties below, we can show that every one has advantages the other doesn’t have. Growers who may only grow one could be missing opportunities for sales.
•Señorita Rosalita® & Pequeña Rosalita™ Cleome
“Señorita Rosalita is ideal for special uses in a landscape, where a really big plant makes a statement,” says Smith. “Pequeña Rosalita has the same look and feel, but is smaller. It might fit better in certain landscape spaces. From a grower’s standpoint, both plants are vigorous but Pequeña will be a bit easier to manage.”
•Diamond Frost® & Diamond Delight™ Euphorbia
“Diamond Frost is the taller of the two and intermixes well with other plants. I have it planted with Surefire™ Begonia and it looks great,” Smith notes. “Diamond Delight is heavily branched and brings a dense mound of thick, white, bushy color to a landscape. It’s almost a solid ball of color, doesn’t intermix but performs extremely well, and is perfect for containers.”
• Knight® & Princess® Lobularia
Smith recommends, “Use Snow Princess to grow quickly, mix well with other plants and cover a lot of landscape area in a big way. Blushing Princess also grows quickly and looks great with darker plants like Supertunia® Royal Velvet. Both the Princesses grow quickly in Grande™ containers.
White Knight has a little less vigor, gives great garden performance, is easy for growers to grow, and is better in the shade. Dark Knight offers deep color with the same vigor. Frosty Knight has the lowest vigor of them all, with very interesting variegated foliage.”
• Supertunia® Pretty Much Picasso® & Picasso in Pink™ Petunia
“Compared to the rest of the industry, we probably sell more of Pretty Much Picasso than anyone and it’s still hard for consumers to find – they love it so much! People think these plants are the same but they are not.
Pretty Much Picasso is a deeper purple, has a characteristic dark eye, and really trails well. In contrast, Picasso in Pink is much more compact and has more flowers, and is easier for growers to grow,” Smith says.
The trailing habit of Supertunia® Pretty Much Picasso® Petunia contrasts with the color and compact, heavily flowered habit of Picasso in Pink™ (shown here). Both are gardeners’ favorites.
• Goldilocks Rocks® & Peter’s Gold Carpet Bidens
“Here are two great and different varieties, each with advantages,” notes Smith. “Goldilocks Rocks is less aggressive, tighter and with better branching. It is better in combinations that have other less aggressive plants. Peter’s Gold Carpet is more aggressive, with longer internodes so it has a wispier, bigger appearance. It fits well with other aggressive plants in combinations.”
• Boldly™ & Timeless™ Pelargonium
These two popular series are different classes of Geranium. Timeless is a classic ivy-type with lots of single flowers and waxy leaves. Boldly is known for its classic, big flowers and softer leaves. Each appeals to consumers for different reasons,” Smith points out. From the grower’s perspective, he says there isn’t much difference except the possible need for a bit more plant growth regulators with Boldly.
• Sweet Caroline, Illusion® & Sweet Caroline Sweetheart Ipomoea
“Leaf shape and color are the key factors that separate these three types of Ipomoea, since there are a lot of options,” says Smith. “All three of them are easier to grow and manage than other generic Ipomoea. I would match Sweet Caroline and Sweet Caroline Sweethearts with more aggressive plants. By the end of the season, gardeners might even have to thin them!”
• Luscious® & Bandana® Lantana
“While Bandana are more compact and bushy, the Luscious Lantana are bigger and more robust,” Smith explains. “Bandana is a Proven Selections® variety that makes great landscape edging and is really grower friendly. Luscious are larger and can compete with other plants, but need no maintenance or deadheading.”
• Catalina® & Summer Wave® Torenia
“I’ve found that Catalinas are great as a dense groundcover in the shade, while Summer Wave are more vigorous and trailing – perfect for shade containers where it can trail five feet!” Smith notes. “Both do well in deep shade and are great overall performers, but also do well in the sun. I’d say these Torenia are some of the most underused shade plants around.”
Four Lobularia show very diverse vigor, color, foliage and habit differences, yet each is perfect for certain uses. From left, they are: Frosty Knight®, White Knight™, Blushing Princess® and Snow Princess®.
For more information about plant varieties, contact Four Star at 734-654-6420 or firstname.lastname@example.org.