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Outstanding New Varieties for 2021

Josh Miller, New Product Development Manager at Four Star
Josh Miller

Several exciting new Proven Winners® varieties for 2021 are debuting now! They’re the result of intensive breeding and selection efforts that sometimes involve years of development.  Find out how these new varieties will make life easier for both growers and your customers.

The work of developing new plant varieties and improving existing varieties is continuous, says Josh Miller, New Product Development Manager at Four Star. “Because Proven Winners is an industry leader, we can never stop thinking about new breeding and improving performance for the consumer. We have an open dialog with grower customers, soliciting critical feedback from them and applying that in our breeding and selection.”

Some of the new varieties reflect robust improvements, he notes. “This list has improvements that represent a ton of work in the greenhouse and trial field. Much of this work is on well-known, existing varieties, so we had to invest the time and get it right. Our customers rely on the ‘classic’ varieties to perform in every application, and it was necessary to trial extensively in all product forms.”

Amazing 2021 Improvements

Miller highlighted several improved varieties that will be available in 2021:

Hippo® Red Hypoestes
Hippo® Red Hypoestes

“When we first run trials for new breeding, we grow the entire assortment to continuously monitor our products,” he explains. “Although Hippo Red hasn’t been around that long, we have been able to improve the red color saturation. In fact, it has much better garden performance because it holds its color longer and is a richer red, especially in the shade where it seems to glow.”


Infinity® Blushing Crimson, Light Purple, Orange New Guinea Impatiens
Infinity® Blushing Crimson, Light Purple, Orange New Guinea Impatiens

“We’ve been evaluating the improvements to the Infinity series for the past four trial seasons, to make sure we got it right,” Miller says. “The plants will have more vigor, more branching and bigger flowers, so we know these are clear upgrades.”

 

Laguna® Sky Blue Lobelia
Laguna® Sky Blue Lobelia

Miller notes that this ever-popular mixing variety is one that growers and gardeners require. “We don’t take any improvements lightly and we scrutinized this one heavily to make sure that the habit is there,” he says. “Therefore, the improvements need to be obvious. Laguna Sky Blue now has better heat tolerance and an improved greenhouse habit for better retail performance. We took a couple of seasons to check this in our key combinations to confirm the improvements.”

 

Supertunia® Royal Velvet® Petunia
Supertunia® Royal Velvet® Petunia

“This has been the biggest improvement I’ve ever been a part of at Four Star,” Miller notes. “This takes the cake. It’s a highly important plant – a legacy plant in a most important color class, so you can be sure we did our due diligence in the work on this. We checked all the key mixes in our top-selling recipes — everything to make sure it worked.” 

The dialog with grower customers motivated the breeding work, he explains.  “We had growers demanding better greenhouse performance for Royal Velvet. So now, we have a plant with superior performance in the landscape and improved petal substance and weather tolerance, in addition to much better vigor and branching in the early spring greenhouse. I also think it has a richer color, with darker foliage (which is almost as important). I think it’s a wonderful breeding improvement!”

 

Sunbini® Sanvitalia
Sunbini® Sanvitalia

“This strong, heat-loving plant is so versatile and popular in Europe, so there is a lot of breeding going on there.  Sunbini is a clear upgrade, with larger flower size and a habit that makes those flowers more visible from a distance,” according to Miller.

 

New Varieties for 2021

Double Delight™ Blush Rose, Primrose Begonia
Double Delight™ Blush Rose, Primrose Begonia

“We’re introducing this new series of hybrid Begonia, which will be really great for hanging baskets,” he says.  “We start from very clean stock, which stays clean thanks to our pathogen screens and sanitary protocols. They flower early and have a good habit, providing excellent greenhouse vigor and increased flowering with a little extra heat from the grower. They also have modern Xanthomonas resistance, serve as value-added basket items with their full double flowers, and feature a pleasant, rose-scented fragrance!”

 

Double Up™ Pink, White, Red Begonia
Double Up™ Pink, White, Red Begonia

“These are vegetative semperflorens Begonias, which are Proven Winners’ take on the wax Begonia.  Since typical wax Begonias are usually mass planted, gardeners will find value in them because you can plant fewer of these to fill the same space. Although densely branched and covered with large double blooms, they do not hold their spent flowers, thanks to the high vigor. The Double Ups will be dynamite in the landscape and upright containers,” Miller adds.

Superbells® Coral Sun Calibrachoa
Superbells® Coral Sun Calibrachoa

“With a stable transition from soft yellow to bright orange tones, Coral Sun is like Superbells Honeyberry™,” he says.  “This one is early to bloom and with a higher than average flower coverage in a beautiful, tropical coral color.”

 

Coffee Cups and Heart of the Jungle Colocasia
Coffee Cups and Heart of the Jungle Colocasia

“Both of these were popular Proven Selections® items and have been elevated to Proven Winners’ national program,” Miller explains. “Coffee Cups has unique novelty with cupped leaves that fill with water, tip over, then go back upright.  Heart of the Jungle lives up to its name – it really gives a tropical feel for northern gardeners. Either of these will add drama to big containers but their upright habit will also allow other plants to be seen when planted at the base. They have a ton of vigor, are easy to grow, can create privacy, don’t show stress easily, and are produced from clean tissue culture, so they arrive healthy and ready to go!”

High Noon™ Euryops
High Noon™ Euryops

“Proven Winners has developed this exciting new genus because it is tough and versatile, and it brings an iconic daisy yellow flower into new garden applications across the country. The wide flowers are strong and persistent. This plant doesn’t show stress, has high heat tolerance and is daylength neutral. It’s excellent for the South and good in both landscapes and mixes,” he says. “I think it’s a durable, consumer-friendly plant that’s great for mass plantings and full western exposure on any site.”

 

Sweet Caroline Medusa™ Green Ipomoea
Sweet Caroline Medusa™ Green Ipomoea

“Consumers will love this new leaf form that’s extremely unique and novel,” he predicts, “and growers will like them for a different reason. Unlike many Ipomoea that tend to take over combinations, this is very basket-friendly with its balanced vigor and growth throughout the season.  Medusa is versatile in the shade and even mixed well with various intermediate-vigor items in hanging basket trials. This innovative breakthrough in Ipomoea breeding will have built-in sales, with chartreuse green being the most popular color in the class, among consumers.”

 

Luscious® Royale Red Zone™ Lantana
Luscious® Royale Red Zone™ Lantana

“The flower size of Royale Red Zone is remarkable,” says Miller. “There are some good red Lantanas on the market but this one is compact, sterile, noninvasive and has the signature Luscious Royale habit that's good for both the retail bench and the consumer. It is constantly covered with flowers and heavily attracts pollinators, and with Red Zone’s grower performance and eye-candy factor at retail, it will also attract consumers!”

 

Moonlight Knight™ Lobularia
Moonlight Knight™ Lobularia

“This is a plant that busy gardeners will be happy with, because it will quickly form a well-branched canopy and serve as a living mulch in an edging or border application,” he notes. “The color is like an antique lace a bit softer than chiffon yellow, which will blend well in a container recipe with other pastel flowers like that of Laguna Sky Blue Lobelia. With strong landscape vigor and a big flower, this mounding plant is a great performer. Moonlight Knight offers landscapers a way to save on labor and materials, compared to using flats of seed Alyssum.”

 

Bright Lights® Red Osteospermum
Bright Lights® Red Osteospermum

“Growers will get this rich red color for retail and won’t need to wait for the color to develop,” Miller explains. “This new variety meets all of the criteria for Proven Winners Bright Lights™ Osteospermum, most notably its branching in the small pot and garden, exceptional Crown Rot resistance, and heat tolerance. This allows a traditionally cool-season annual to bridge the brutal summer temperatures with somewhat reduced vigor, and to shine in the shoulder seasons.”

 

Machu™ Morado Ruellia
Machu™ Morado Ruellia

Another promotion from Proven Selections to Proven Winners, this Ruellia shows versatile and innovative characteristics, according to Miller. “I call this a ‘must-have’ for USDA Zone 7 and all points south and west. Its common name is Mexican Petunia, which is notoriously invasive via underground runners, but this is seed-sterile and has no runners. It has good vigor and branching on a relatively compact chassis, with a much higher flower count than species Ruellia. I don’t recommend this for the north because it needs nights with 65° to stimulate flowering.  It’s a big deal to go from invasive to noninvasive for states like Florida and Texas!”

 

Whirlwind® Starlight™ Scaevola
Whirlwind® Starlight™ Scaevola

“This is a new Whirlwind addition that meets all the performance benchmarks of our fully upgraded series, and offers a novel, bi-colored flower. That is a distinct lavender and white flower that transitions from the greenhouse and retail to a steel-blue lavender in the full summer sun.  Flowering is consistent, saturated and a perfect combination for pastels,” he says. “Starlight has a beefier mounded habit and will laugh at the summer heat!”

 

ColorBlaze® Royale Pineapple Brandy™ Solenostemon
ColorBlaze® Royale Pineapple Brandy™ Solenostemon

“The ColorBlaze series signifies no pinching or PGRs for growers, plus late to zero flowering and full-sun performance as benefits for consumers. It’s emblematic of the Royale designation, with dense branching and a compact, rounded habit. The spade-shaped leaves are chartreuse with a uniform red-to-purple margin, outlining each leaf and providing a beautiful contrast. This is a homerun for low-maintenance landscapes and containers,” Miller predicts.

To find out more about all of Proven Winners’ new varieties for 2021, contact us at 734-654-6420 or mail@pwfourstar.com