BEDDING PLANT TRIAL GARDENS
BEDDING PLANT TRIAL GARDENS

The Department of Horticulture, Auburn University

Bedding plant growers frequently choose plants based on pack performance and adaptability to their production conditions. Garden performance of plants within a region is also an important factor for retailers and consumers. However, information on garden performance of bedding plants for Alabama may be difficult to obtain. Further, climatic conditions vary widely from north to south within the state.

Therefore, bedding plants have been evaluated over the past three years on the Auburn University campus in Auburn, Alabama and on the North Alabama Horticultural Substation in Cullman, Alabama. The objective of this study was to determine overall garden performance of summer- and winter-flowering bedding plants at a northerly and southerly location in the state. Results generated from this study will assist Alabama horticultural professionals and consumers in bedding plant selection.

Seeds and plants for the trial entries were donated by horticultural companies. Many are new introductions for the following year, other are well established in the market. Transplants of each entry were planted in raised beds at each location using cultural practices typical of most consumers. The soil was limed and fertilized according to a soil test and irrigation was provided equivalent to one inch of water per week if not provided by rainfall. No deadheading of spent flowers or other maintenance was performed on any of the plants with the exception of hand weeding. No pesticides were applied during the trial.

Plants were rated by the same individual at each location using a 1 to 5 garden performance scale. Flowering plants were rated primarily on their floral displays, while size, shape, and freedom from insect or disease blemishes were also considered. A rating of 1 indicated a small display of foliage with no flowers present; 2--adequate amount of foliage with one or two flowers present; 3--sufficient foliage and floral display to be attractive in the landscape; 4--above average floral display and sufficient foliage display; and 5--superior floral display and sufficient foliage display. A rating of 0 indicated the plant had died.  Any plant with an average rating of 2.5 or higher could be considered acceptable in the landscape and would be a worthwhile addition to a garden located in USDA Hardiness Zones 7 or 8.

The following tables contain lists of the top 10 best performing bedding plants based on garden performance ratings for summer 2002 through summer 2004. For more detailed reports for each year and season click on the following links:

2004 Summer Trial Garden Results (2004)

2003-2004 Winter Annual Trial Garden Results (2004)

2003 Summer Trial Garden Results

2002-2003 Winter Trial Garden Results (2003)

2002 Summer Trial Garden Results (2003)

Table 1. Performance ratings of bedding plants grown by Auburn University, 2004 summer trials.

Auburn University Campus, Auburn, AL

North Alabama Substation, Cullman, AL

Bedding plant

Rating

Bedding plant

Rating

Alternanthera ‘Gail's Choice’

4.7

Alternanthera ‘Gail's Choice’

4.0

Eragrostis ‘Wind Dancer’

4.5

Plectranthus ‘Silver Shield’

4.0

Euphorbia ‘Diamond Frost’

4.4

Gomphrena ‘Purple Gomp

4.0

MelinisSavannah

4.2

Basil ‘Garden Leader Rascal’

3.7

Gomphrena ‘Purple Gomp

4.1

Euphorbia ‘Diamond Frost’

3.5

Begonia ‘Baby Wing Pink’

3.6

Salvia ‘Sizzler Mix’

3.5

Verbena ‘Garden Leader Lavender’

3.6

PetuniaRamblin Lilac Glo

3.4

Vinca ‘Titan Lilac’

3.6

Annual Vinca ‘Pacific White’

3.4

Plectranthus ‘Silver Shield’

3.4

Annual Vinca ‘Titan Lilac’

3.4

Penstemon ‘Purple Majesty’

3.3

Zinnia ‘Profusion Orange

3.3

Sage ‘Scarborough

3.3

Zinnia ‘Profusion Fire’

3.3

Torenia ‘Catalina Blue’

3.3

Zinnia ‘Profusion White’

3.3

Annual Vinca ‘1st Kiss Icy Pink’

3.3

PetuniaRamblin Nu Blue’

3.2

Annual Vinca ‘Pacifica Halo Orchid’

3.3

Petunia ‘Storm Blue’

3.2

Annual Vinca ‘Titan Blush’

3.3

Zinnia ‘Profusion Apricot’

3.2

Basil ‘Garden Leader Rascal’

3.2

Zinnia ‘Profusion Cherry’

3.2

Scaveola ‘Whirlwind Blue Velvet’

3.2

Pentas ‘Graffiti White’

3.1

Annual Vinca ‘1st Kiss Coral’

3.2

PenstemonLilliput Pink’

3.0

Annual Vinca ‘1st Kiss Blush’

3.2

PetuniaSupertunia Silver’

3.0

Annual Vinca Pacifica Magenta’

3.2

Annual VincaRasberry Red Cooler’

3.0

Ageratum ‘Artist Alto Blue’

3.1

AngeloniaAngelface Blue’

2.9

Marigold ‘Durango Mix Outback’

3.1

Angelonia Angelface White’

2.9

PetuniaSupertunia Silver’

3.1

Basil ‘Scarborough

2.9

Verbena ‘Quartz Silver’

3.1

Annual Vinca ‘Grape Cooler’

2.9

Annual Vinca ‘1st Kiss Blueberry’

3.1

AngeloniaAngelface Blue Bicolor’

2.8

Annual Vinca ‘1st Kiss Peach’

3.1

Celosia ‘Fresh Look Yellow’

2.8

Annual Vinca ‘Titan Burgundy

3.1

 

 

Ageratum ‘Artist Blue Violet’

3.0

 

 

Annual Vinca ‘1st Kiss Sunrise

3.0

 

 

Annual Vinca ‘1st Kiss Ruby’

3.0

 

 

Annual Vinca Sunsplash Red’

3.0

 

 

 


 

Table 2. Performance ratings of bedding plants grown by Auburn University, 2003-2004 winter trials.

Auburn University Campus, Auburn, AL

North Alabama Substation, Cullman, AL

Bedding plant

Rating

Bedding plant

Rating

Best Overall

 

Best Overall

 

   Pansy ‘Maxim Marina’

4.1

    Viola ‘Sorbet Yellow Delight’

4.0

    Viola ‘Sorbet Purple Duet’

4.1

    Pansy ‘Nature Blue’

4.0

    Viola ‘Sorbet Blackberry Cream’

4.1

    Viola ‘Penny Azure Wing’

4.0

    Viola ‘Penny Azure Wing’

3.9

    Viola ‘Sorbet Blue Heaven’

3.9

    Viola ‘Sorbet Coconut’

3.8

    ViolaBabyface Yellow’

3.9

    Viola ‘Sorbet Blue Heaven’

3.8

    Viola ‘Sorbet Blackberry Cream’

3.9

    Pansy ‘Bingo Rose White’

3.8

    Viola ‘Sorbet Purple Duet’

3.9

    Pansy ‘Maxim Yellow’

3.7

    Pansy ‘Nature Yellow’

3.8

    Viola ‘Sorbet Sunny Royale

3.7

    Viola ‘Sorbet Blueberry Cream’

3.8

    Viola ‘Sorbet Yellow Delight’

3.6

    Pansy ‘Crystal Bowl Yellow’

3.8

    Pansy ‘Crystal Bowl Purple’

3.5

    PansyNature Ocean

3.7

    Pansy ‘Crystal Bowl True Blue’

3.5

    Viola ‘Sorbet Sunny Royale

3.7

    Pansy ‘Nature Blue’

3.5

    Pansy ‘Maxim Yellow’

3.7

    Pansy ‘Maxim Mix’

3.5

    Pansy ‘Crystal Bowl Sky Blue’

3.7

    PansyNature Ocean

3.5

    Pansy ‘Crystal Bowl Supreme Lavender’

3.7

Blue Flowered Pansy

 

    Pansy ‘Nature Rose w/ Blotch’

3.7

    ‘Crystal Bowl True Blue’

3.5

    Viola ‘Rebel Yellow’

3.7

    Nature Ocean

3.5

    Pansy ‘Crystal Bowl Purple’

3.6

    ‘Nature Blue’

3.5

    Pansy ‘Maxim Mix’

3.6

Orange Flowered Pansy

 

    Viola ‘Sorbet Coconut’

3.6

    ‘Clear Sky Orange

3.2

    Pansy ‘Crystal Bowl True Blue’

3.6

    ‘Crown Orange

3.2

    Pansy ‘Clear Sky Purple’

3.6

Yellow Flowered Pansy

 

    Pansy ‘Bingo Blue w/  Blotch’

3.5

    ‘Maxim Yellow’

3.7

    Viola ‘Sorbet Plum Velvet’

3.5

Purple Flowered Pansy

 

    Pansy ‘Nature White’

3.5

    ‘Crystal Bowl Purple’

3.5

    Viola ‘Sorbet Mix’

3.5

Red Flowered Pansy

 

    Pansy ‘Maxim White’

3.5

    ‘Delta Fire’

3.3

    Pansy ‘Maxim Marina’

3.5

Rose Flowered Pansy

 

Blue Flowered Pansy

 

    ‘Nature Rose w/ Blotch’

3.3

    ‘Nature Blue’

4.0

White Flowered Pansy

 

Orange Flowered Pansy

 

    ‘Maxim Marina’

4.1

    ‘Clear Sky Orange

3.2

Mixed Flower Color Pansy

 

Yellow Flowered Pansy

 

    ‘Maxim Mix’

3.5

    ‘Crystal Bowl Yellow’

3.8

 

 

    ‘Nature Yellow’

3.8

 

 

Purple Flowered Pansy

 

 

 

    ‘Crystal Bowl Purple’

3.6

 

 

    ‘Clear Sky Purple’

3.6

 

 

    ‘Crown Purple’

3.6

 

 

Red Flowered Pansy

 

 

 

    ‘Clear Sky Red’

3.3

 

 

Rose Flowered Pansy

 

 

 

    ‘Nature Rose w/ Blotch’

3.7

 

 

White Flowered Pansy

 

 

 

    ‘Maxim Marina’

3.5

 

 

    ‘Maxim White’

3.5

 

 

    ‘Nature White’

3.5

 

 

Mixed Flower Color Pansy

 

 

 

    ‘Maxim Mix’

3.6

 


 

Table 3. Performance ratings of bedding plants grown by Auburn University, 2003 summer trials.

Auburn University Campus, Auburn, AL

North Alabama Substation, Cullman, AL

Bedding plant

Rating

Bedding plant

Rating

Alternanthera ‘Purple Knight’

5.0

Coleus Chipola

4.8

Petunia ‘Explorer Rose Pink’

4.5

Coleus Elters

4.8

Petunia ‘Tidal Wave Cherry’

4.4

Coleus Saphoppy

4.8

Petunia ‘Tidal Wave Cherry’

4.3

Coleus ‘Wauchula’

4.8

Petunia ‘Explorer Magenta’

4.3

Coleus ‘Apopka’

4.7

Coleus ‘Yulee’

4.3

Coleus Astatula

4.7

Petunia ‘Explorer Pink’

4.2

Coleus Gotha

4.7

ColeusElters

4.2

Coleus ‘Micanopy’

4.7

Coleus Saphoppy

4.2

Coleus Wimauma

4.7

Coleus Astatula

4.2

Coleus Yalaha

4.7

Petunia ‘Explorer Blue’

4.0

Coleus ‘Yulee’

4.7

Petunia ‘Wave Misty Lilac’

4.0

Caladium ‘Blizzard Bliz

4.7

Petunia ‘Tidal Wave Purple’

3.9

Caladium Florida Sweetheart’

4.7

VincaSunstorm White e/Eye’

3.9

Celosia ‘New Look’

4.7

PetuniaRamblin Lilac Glow’

3.8

CaladiumFlorida Elise’

4.6

Petunia ‘Wave Purple’

3.8

Caladium ‘Red Ruffles’

4.6

Coleus ‘Micanopy’

3.8

Caladium ‘White Ruffles’

4.6

Coleus Wimauma

3.8

ColeusAltoona

4.5

Vinca ‘Cooler Coconut Improved’

3.8

Coleus Bokcelia

4.5

PetuniaRamblin Violet’

3.7

Caladium ‘Moonlight’

4.5

Petunia ‘Wave Rose’

3.7

Basil ‘Sweet Dani

4.5

Begonia ‘Harmony Scarlet’

3.7

CaladiumFlorida Fantasy’

4.4

Coleus ‘Altoonia

3.6

Caladium ‘White Water’

4.4

Coleus Bokcelia

3.6

Pennisetum ‘Purple Majesty

4.3

Coleus Chipola

3.6

Iresine ‘Purple Lady’

4.2

PetuniaRamblin Peach Glow’

3.6

Marigold ‘Inca II Primrose’

4.2

Begonia ‘Dragon Wing Pink’

3.6

Petunia ‘Tidal Wave Cherry’

4.2

Begonia ‘Dragon Wing Pink’

3.5

Basil ‘Magical Michael’

4.1

Begonia ‘Victory Bronze Leaf Rose Bicolor’

3.5

Celosia ‘Glow Carmine’

4.1

PetuniaRamblin Lavender’

3.5

Marigold ‘Inca II Gold’

4.1

Pepper ‘Chilly Chili’

3.5

Petunia ‘Wave Lavender’

4.1

 

 

Vinca ‘Victory Red’

4.1

 

 

Celosia ‘Fresh Look Red’

4.0

 

 

Marigold ‘Inca II Yellow’

4.0

 

 

Marigold ‘Perfection Mix’

4.0

 

 

Petunia ‘Tidal Wave Purple’

4.0

 

 

Vinca ‘Cooler Coconut Improved’

4.0

 

 

Vinca ‘Victory Lavender

4.0

 

 

Petunia ‘Explorer Lavender’

3.9

 

 

Petunia ‘Explorer Pink’

3.9

 

 

Petunia Ramblin Burgundy Chrome’

3.9

 

 

Petunia ‘Wave Rose’

3.9

 

 

Portulaca ‘Margarita Scarlet’

3.9

 

 

Vinca ‘Cooler Orchid Deep’

3.9

 

 

Vinca ‘First Kiss Rose’

3.9

 

 

Vinca Sunstorm Apricot’

3.9

 

 

Vinca Sunstorm Orchid’

3.9

 

 

Vinca ‘Victory Purple’

3.9

 


 

Table 4. Performance ratings of bedding plants grown by Auburn University, 2002-2003 winter trials.

North Alabama Substation, Cullman, AL

Bedding plant

Rating

Best Overall

 

    Pansy ‘Splendid Yellow’

3.2

    Viola ‘Sorbet Mix’

3.1

    Pansy ‘Splendid White’

3.1

    Viola ‘Sorbet Coconut Duet’

3.1

    Pansy ‘Supreme Sky Blue’

3.1

    Pansy ‘Supreme Lavender Shades’

3.0

    Viola ‘Sorbet French Vanilla’

3.0

    Viola ‘Sorbet Lemon Swirl’

2.9

    Viola ‘Sorbet Coconut Swirl’

2.9

    Viola ‘Sorbet Orange Mix’

2.9

    Pansy ‘Tiger Eye’

2.9

    PansyFama Purple’

2.9

Dianthus

 

    Floral Lace Mix’

2.5

    Floral Lace Violet Picotee

2.5

    Telestar White’

2.5

Blue Flowered Pansy

 

    Supreme Sky Blue’

3.1

Orange Flowered Pansy

 

    Tiger Eye’

2.9

Yellow Flowered Pansy

 

   Splendid Yellow’

3.2

Purple Flowered Pansy

 

    Fama Purple’

2.9

Red Flowered Pansy

 

    Dynamite Scarlet’

2.8

Rose Flowered Pansy

 

    Bingo Light Rose’

2.6

White Flowered Pansy

 

    Splendid White’

3.1

Lavender Flowered Pansy

 

    Supreme Lavender Shades’

3.0

Mixed Flower Color Pansy

 

    Bingo Blotch Mix’

2.6

    Imperial Antique Shades’

2.6

 


 

Table 5. Performance ratings of bedding plants grown by Auburn University, 2002 summer trials.

Auburn University Campus, Auburn, AL

North Alabama Substation, Cullman, AL

Bedding plant

Rating

Bedding plant

Rating

Coleus ‘Sun Rose’

4.0

Coleus ‘Tilt-a-Whirl’

4.3

Coleus ‘Trailing Red’

3.9

Vinca ‘Heat Wave Raspberry’

4.1

Coleus ‘Christmas Candy’

3.9

Vinca Pacifica Red’

4.1

Coleus ‘Red Ruffles’

3.8

Coleus ‘Christmas Candy’

4.1

Coleus ‘Pineapple’

3.8

Vinca ‘First Kiss Coral’

4.0

Coleus ‘Kiwi Fern’

3.8

Coleus ‘Trailing Red’

4.0

Salvia patens ‘Blue Angle’

3.8

Vinca ‘Heat Wave Mix’

3.9

Strobylanthes dyerianus

3.8

Coleus ‘Sun Rose’

3.9

Coleus ‘Gays Delight’

3.7

Vinca ‘Cooler Peppermint’

3.8

Coleus Palisandra

3.7

Vinca ‘Cooler Icy Pink’

3.8

Coleus ‘Golden Sun’

3.6

Hemigraphis ‘Silver Waffle’

3.7

Coleus ‘Tilt-a-Whirl’

3.6

Coleus ‘Kiwi Fern’

3.7

Hemigraphis ‘Silver Waffle’

3.6

Coleus ‘Golden Sun’

3.7

Begonia ‘Party White Green Leaf’

3.4

Salvia coccinia ‘Lady in Red’

3.7

Lavender ‘Goodwins Creek’

3.3

Melampodium ‘Million Gold’

3.7

Begonia ‘Party Red Bronze Leaf’

3.3

Vinca ‘Victory Purple’

3.7

Begonia ‘Party White Bronze Leaf’

3.3

Vinca ‘Cooler Red’

3.7

Salvia coccinia ‘Lady in Red’

3.2

Begonia ‘Vodka’

3.7

Zinnia ‘Dreamland Yellow’

3.1

Begonia ‘Cocktail Gin’

3.7

Marigold ‘Bonanza Harmony’

3.1

Begonia ‘Super Olympia Rose’

3.7

Begonia ‘Party Pink Bronze Leaf’

3.1

Vinca ‘Cooler Raspberry Red’

3.6

Lavender ‘Otto Quast

3.1

Vinca ‘Victory Red’

3.6

Tithonia ‘Fiesta DelSol

3.1

Vinca ‘Cooler Mix’

3.6

 

 

Verbena ‘Imagination’

3.6

 

 

Begonia ‘Party Rose Pink’

3.6

 

 

Begonia ‘Party Scarlet’

3.5

 

 

Marigold ‘Bonanza Yellow’

3.5

 

 

Salvia coccinia ‘Rhea’

3.5

 

 

Salvia splendens ‘Vista Red’

3.5

 

 

Strobylanthes dyerianus

3.5

 

 

VincaPacifica Punch’

3.5

 

 

Vinca ‘Cooler Blush’

3.5

 

 

Vinca ‘Cooler Grape’

3.5

 

 

Zinnia ‘Phoenix Fire’

3.5

 

 

Zinnia ‘Star White’

3.5

 

 

Marigold ‘Little Hero Yellow’

3.4

 

 

VincaPacifica White’

3.4

 

 

Vinca ‘Cooler Pink’

3.4

 

 

Vinca Pacifica Lipstick Mix’

3.4

 

 

Argyranthemum ‘Neptune’

3.3

 

 

Begonia ‘Super Olympia Red’

3.3

 

 

Begonia ‘Super Olympia White’

3.3

 

 

Begonia ‘Super Olympia Pink’

3.3

 

 

Begonia ‘Party White Green Leaf’

3.3

 

 

Cleome ‘Royal Queen’

3.3

 

 

Gomphrena ‘Buddy Purple’

3.3

 

 

Marigold ‘Inca II Orange’

3.3

 

 

Marigold ‘Bonanza Mix’

3.3

 

 

Marigold ‘Little Hero Harmony’

3.3

 

 

MelampodiumDerby

3.3

 

 

Salvia splendens ‘Vista White’

3.3

 

 

Vinca ‘First Kiss Peach’

3.3

 

 

Vinca ‘First Kiss’

3.3

 

 

For more information on the trials contact:

Dr. J. Raymond Kessler, Jr., Associate Professor

Department of Horticulture

101 Funchess Hall

Auburn University, AL 36849

Phone: (334) 844-3055

Fax: (334) 844-3131

E-mail: rkessler@acesag.auburn.edu