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Summer Annuals Trial Report

North Carolina State University
Raleigh, North Carolina

Robert E. Lyons
Professor and Director

With Technical Assistance from
Bernadette Clark and Jeremy Rogers

Department of Horticultural Science
JC Raulston Arboretum

Table of Contents

General Introductory Notes and Acknowledgements
Understanding Our Data
Climate Graphs
Plant Material Sources
Top 10
Best of Breed
Leaders of the Pack
Early Season Leaders of the Pack
Late Season Leaders of the Pack
Cultivar Series Summaries
Special Supplement/Winter 2003-2004 Trials Report

General Introductory Notes and Acknowledgements

The Trial Gardens for seasonal color plant materials are located at NC State University within the JC Raulston Arboretum (JCRA) in Raleigh. The JCRA is an 8 acre site administered by the Department of Horticultural Science and located on 35° 47'N latitude, longitude 78° 42' W, with an elevation of 400 feet.

Plants to be entered into our trials are received in a variety of ways. About half are germinated from seeds while the remainder originate as rooted cuttings or established cell plugs. Virtually all are grown within controlled greenhouse environments prior to placement in protected outdoor structures for hardening off. They were planted into their permanent trial bed locations on April 22, 2004, but several "late comers" were planted upon receipt from participating companies. The predominant plant spacing in the trials was 18 inches x 24 inches (in-row x between-row spacing). Seven plants of each entry were used to evaluate landscape performance and ratings were taken weekly.


We are especially grateful to the North Carolina Commercial Flower Growers Association for their generous financial support of our student intern, Jeremy Rogers, who was responsible for the maintenance of our trials.

We thank the following companies for their support of material donations:

Coor Farm Supply, P.O. Box 525, Smithfield, NC 27577
Dillen Products
, P.O. Box 738, Middlefield, OH 44062
• Fafard, Inc., P.O. Box 26, Anderson, SC 29622
• The Scotts Co., 14111 Scottslawn Road, Marysville, OH 43041

The assistance, in no particular order, from Beth Hardin, Tim Ketchie, Ingram McCall, Ann Green, Bradley Holland, Diane Mays, Anne Calta, Valerie Tyson, Chris Glenn, and Robbie Wooten is also acknowledged with much appreciation!

We are especially thankful to other departmental staff and the volunteers of the JC Raulston Arboretum who assisted in transplanting and maintaining the annual beds throughout the growing season....we couldn't have done it without you all!

Robert E. Lyons
Professor & Director
(919) 513-7006

Bernadette Clark
Horticulture Research Technician
(919) 513-1213

Understanding Our Data

Number of Weeks in Flower

This is recorded as the total number of weeks in flower throughout the entire season. It should give you an idea of whether or not a plant is best used for the whole season or as a "fill-in" for special displays. Obviously, those species grown for foliage interest alone, e.g. Acalypha, may score poorly in this column and should not be rejected based on this value alone!

Weekly Ratings

Plants were given a visual rating weekly by the same person beginning May 20, 2004 (about three weeks after planting) through October 1, 2004. The overall rating was based on plant performance and appearance, including floriferousness, plant size and shape, and freedom from insect and disease problems. The rating scale ranged from 1 (very poor) to 5 (excellent) with 0.5 unit increments possible; a 0 rating indicated that all plants of the cultivar trial died.

Summaries of Weekly Ratings

The first statistic that readers run to is likely the "all season average." This value represents overall performance for the entire summer season. However, realizing that there are many species/cultivars which may do better in one part of the growing season versus another, we also provide an "early season average" and "late season average" for each entry. The former is the average of the first 8 weeks of the evaluation period and the latter represents the end of the season. This information may be useful in planning short term plantings with high impact as well as for studying temperature preferences, life cycle changes, and/or the impact of photoperiod on plant performance. The "number of weeks rated above 3" gives you an idea of how consistently throughout the season an entry is an exemplary performer.

The Lists You'll Find In This Report

• "The Top 10" - this list shows the species/cultivars with the top ten "All Season Averages." These were our best overall performers. When the list exceeds ten, there were ties.

• "Leaders of the Pack" – lists all species/cultivars with an "All Season Average" of 3.0 or better. We consider this the arbitrary cutoff rating for a "significant performer" in Raleigh. This list shows all your best choices for planting, listed by plant name.

• "Leaders of the Pack – Early Season" – this shows entries with "Early Season Averages" of 3.0 or better based on the first 8 weeks of evaluation. This group may prefer cooler temperatures or only have a relatively short ornamental life, and might not show up on the "Leaders of the Pack" list above.

• "Leaders of the Pack – Late Season" – this shows entries with "Late Season Averages" of 3.0 or better based on the end of the season evaluations. They may prefer very warm temperatures or flower as daylengths start to shorten, again sometimes precluding them from inclusion on the overall "Leaders of the Pack" list.

• "Best of Breed" - shows the best performing cultivars in each species.

• "Summary by Series" - groups the information for cultivar series where appropriate. This can be a quick reference for related cultivars as well as a handy tool to judge the general performance of an entire series offered by a breeder/company.

Want Additional Copies of this Report?

Visit our Web site and Help Yourself!

Once at our Web site, be sure to subscribe to the Cuttings from the JC Raulston Arboretum to receive free, periodic updates from the JC Raulston Arboretum via e-mail, complete with digital images!

The Average Monthly Precipitation and Temperature for the Summer 2004 Trials

Precipitation 2004 Graph

Temperature 2004 Graph


Variance: The Best of Uniformity

Sometimes I think that the one number most often overlooked in our report is the variance. Go to the "Leaders of the Pack" data tables and look for its column. The term itself may intimidating in light of its mystery, but need not be as it can be most informative. Simply put, the lower the variance, the most alike all plants are in the group evaluated, and hence the greater the uniformity. For so many in the commercial landscaping sector, they live and die by uniformity because appearance can be everything. So, by using a selected variance value of 0.1 as our very tough cut-off, we can really see which plants are setting the standard for superb uniformity. In many cases our results have confirmed some excellent reputations, for others, it's a first time notice. Coreopsis 'Early Sunrise' performed up to its expected historical par as a first class performer; the impatiens cultivars Fiesta Sparkler Hot Pink, Pixie Hot Rose, and Tempo Pearl met our test, indicating excellent plant to plant uniformity; 'Blushing Susie' thunbergia was outstanding in this regard, most noteworthy in that it is a vine; and it was good to see the 'Aztec Cherry Red' verbena up there, too, as this group of plants is finding quite a popular following.

Variance: All Over the Page

Whereas small variance values indicate excellent uniformity, the opposite can point out cultivars with a "mind of their own!" They are not necessarily a poor choice, just not ruler perfect. In this case, plants with variance values of 1.0 or more were highlighted for great differences observed during the season. Making this cut were Dianthus 'Amazon Rose Magic', Diascia 'Whisper Salmon Red Improved', Geranium 'Florever Red', Petunia 'Ramblin Lavender' and 'Sweet Surprise Purple', Phlox 'Intensia Neon Pink', Portulaca 'Margarita Scarlet', and two vincas, 'Heatwave Red' and 'SunStorm Mix'. Please note that we thought a lot of the phlox for many other reasons, so high variability is not the sole measure for rejection. A litany of marigolds also fell onto our list but Raleigh is normally a tough go for these plants, so we shouldn't be too surprised.......the 'Atlantis' series, 'Hero' series, 'Discovery Orange', and the 'Safari' series we tested were very variable. To be fair, there are many reasons for a lack of uniformity, most likely of which would simply be the result of our normal or extreme weather. This year, it would be safe to assume that our exceptional rainfall had a significant impact on plant performance.......but variance can also help us identify the very best for our area.

Seed and Plant Material Sources

Please get in touch with these people if you have specific questions regarding individual species and cultivars.

Seed and Plant Material Sources (revised 01/05/04)

All-America Selections Linda Linda Schranz
Phone: (630) 963-0770
1311 Butterfield Road
Suite 310
Downers Grove, IL  60515-5606
American Takii, Inc. John Powers
Phone: (800) 825-4405
301 Natividad Road
Salinas, CA 93906-1401
Agri Starts IV, Inc. Bruce Carpenter
Phone: (352) 385-2663
3941 Britt Road
Mount Dora, FL 32757
Ball Seed Co. Susan Schmitz
Phone: (800) 879-2255 ext 3289
P.O. Box 335
West Chicago, IL  60185
J.P. Bartlett Co., Inc. Michael Hoffman
Phone: (800) 552-2278
578 Boston Post Road  Sudbury, MA 01776
Bear Creek Gardens Cecile Poole
Phone: (800) 877-6737
P.O. Box 9100
Medford, OR 97501
Ernst Benary of America, Inc. Rudolf Sterkel
Phone: (815) 895-6705
1444 Larson Street
Sycamore, IL 60178-9705
Ball FloraPlant Keith G. Guimon
Phone: (630) 231-3327 ext 3327
622 Town Road
West Chicago, IL 63185
Bodger Seeds Ltd. Steve Jones
Phone: (626) 442-6161Jason Riley (Pansy Trials)
Phone: (626) 442-6161
1800 North Tyler Avenue
So. El Monte, CA 91733-3618
Campbell Road Nursery Phil Campbell
Phone: (919) 851-5108
2804 Campbell Road
Raleigh, NC 27606
Daehnfeldt, Inc. Jorn Egeskov
Phone: (219) 982-7969
P.O. Box 38
N. Manchester, IN 46962
De Vroomen Holland Garden Products Tom Hudak
Phone: (919) 661-1482
8121 Middleton Road
Garner, NC 27529
Proven Winners Kerry Strope
Phone: (573) 635-2877
1508 Hough Street
Jefferson City, MO, 65101
Paul Ecke Ranch Dawn Woodruff
Phone: (760) 753-1134
P.O. Box 230488
Encinitas, CA  92023-0488
Farmen Marc Englert
Phone: (805) 990-8839
P.O. Box 13408
San Luis Obispo, CA 93406-3408
Fides North America Adalberto Rodriguez
Phone: (011) 506-442-1849
P.O. Box 1860  
4050 Alajuela
Costa Rica
Fischer USA, Inc. Harvey Lang
Phone: (303) 415-1466
2995 Wilderness Place
Suite 102
Boulder, CO 80301
Fred C. Gloeckner & Co. Jeff Nameth
Phone: (828) 687-8509
600 Mamoneck Avenue
Harrison, NY 10528
Flowerfields-Goldsmith Steve Swart
Phone: (800) 549-0158
2280 Hecker Pass Hwy
Gilroy, CA 95021-1349
Grimes Seeds and Plants Rod LeDrew
Phone: (800) 241-7333
11335 Concord-Hambden
Concord, OH 44077
Heronswood Nursery Phone: (360) 297-4172 7530 NE 288th Street
Kingston, WA 98346
Hoffman Nursery Phone: (919) 479-6620 or
(800) 203-8590
5520 Bahama Road
Rougemont, NC 27572
Jackson & Perkins Wholesale Cecile Poole
Phone: (541) 864-2660
P O Box 9100
Medford, OR 97501
Johnny's Selected Seeds Terry Allen
Phone: (207) 437-4301
Foss Hill Road
Albion, ME 04910
Kingwood Center Charles Applegate 
Phone & Fax: (419) 522-0211
900 Park Avenue West
Mansfield, OH 44906-0211
Lakeview Gardens Ralph Repp
Phone: (828) 456-684
423 Country Road
Waynesville, NC 28786
Henry F. Michell Steve Sorrells
Phone: (828) 648-7741
P.O. Box 60160
King of Prussia, PA 19406
North Carolina Farms, Inc. Mick Donahue  
North Carolina Botanical Garden Dot Wilbur or Janice Bryan
Phone: (919) 962-0522
CB3375 Totten Center
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3375
Oglevee, Ltd. Chris Fetcko
Phone: (800) 437-4733
152 Oglevee Lane
Connellsville, PA 15425
PanAmerican Seed Co         Susan Schmitz
Phone: (800) 879-2255 ext 3289
P.O. Box 438
West Chicago, IL 60185
Park Seed Co.        Denise Attaway
Phone: (800) 845-3369
1 Parkton Avenue
Greenwood, SC 29647-0001
PlantHAvenuen Karen Bunting
Phone: (563) 547-2361
Phone: (563) 547-2361
530 2nd Avenue SW
Cresco, IA 52136
K. Sahin Niels Steenvoorden Zaden B.V.
Sakata Seed America, Inc. David Jewell, Area Manager    
Phone: (859) 823-1007
P.O. Box 174
Dry Ridge, KY 41035-0174
Singing Springs Nursery Pam Baggett 8802 Wilkerson Road
Cedar Grove, NC 27231-9394
Syngenta Seeds, Inc. Krista Wlodek  
Phone: (800) 323-7253 ext 292
5300 Katrine Avenue
Downers Grove, IL 60515-4095
Thompson & Morgan Celia Mars
Phone: (800) 274-7333
220 Faraday Avenue
Jackson, NJ 08527-0308
Anthony Tesselaar USA Tim Ostensen
Phone: (310) 349-0714 ext 105
15200 Mansel Avenue
Lawndale, CA 90260
Twyford International, Inc. Alan W. Meudt
Phone: (407) 886-0298 or
(800) 905-326
4051 Fudge Road
Apopka, FL 32703
Waller Genetics Inc. Lynn Wierdsma
Phone: (805) 343-2723 ext 114
P.O.Box 70
400 Obispo Street
Guadalupe, CA 93434
Zelenka Nursery, LLC Harvey Lodge  

Special Supplement to the Summer 2004 Report

Winter 2003-2004 Annuals Trial Report

The following reports are available in Adobe PDF format (requires Adobe Reader):

Top 10
Best of Breed
Leaders of the Pack
Early Season Leaders of the Pack
Late Season Leaders of the Pack
Cultivar Series Summaries

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