Coleus, Canna, and Celosia Among Greenhouse Grower Team Favorites From Day 3 of CAST

The Greenhouse Grower team spent the third day of California Spring Trials at Sakata Seed and American Takii, the latter of which also featured HilverdaFlorist and Sahin Nursery. Here are their top picks. 

Dr Allan Armitage’s Picks, Day 3

Coleus ‘Skeletal’ (Kientzler)

Coleus seem to be everywhere. They look wonderful in the sun, in the shade, in large floral beds, containers and window boxes. So, how can yet one more coleus catch my eye? Take a look at the photo and ask if you would not look at it twice. The rose colors on the limb-like leaves look like a drying skeleton. It may not be the most beautiful coleus your customers have ever seen, but it will make them look, then look again. I can see this as a stand alone or in mixed container. It’s really a cool plant.

Canna ‘Cannova Gold Leopard’ (American Takii)

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Cannas have come a long way and are well established as mainstream plants. Takii has always been a leader in seed-propagated cannas, and now they have outdone themselves once again. The beautiful golden petals are covered with orange speckles and oh my, these plants are stunning. The plant is midsize in height, and fits in well with the rest of the Cannova family.

Celosia ‘Burning Embers’ (Sakata Ornamentals)

Celosias are known for the brilliance of their flowers, and that is enough reason to grow them. However, among all the brilliant plume-type flowers at Sakata, this one was easily my favorite among all the offerings at Sakata. It was not because of the handsome flowers, but because of the beautiful bronze foliage. The amber leaves in combination with the bright-red flowers provided a pleasant sight. I am convinced these will run off the bench at retail.

Top Picks From Greenhouse Grower Senior Editor Julie Hullett

Brassica ‘Osaka iQ White’ (Sakata Ornamentals)

In most cases, the phrase “IQ” refers to human intelligence. In various new varieties from Sakata Ornamentals, “iQ” means Improved Quality. The Original Brassica ‘Osaka’ grew to be the size of a dinner plate, according to Michael Wiebe. ‘Osaka iQ White’ is the newest color in the series. Breeders have shrunk down the size from 14 inches to 8 inches in diameter with the new introduction. Wiebe says growers can reduce their use of plant growth regulators (PGRs) and consumers don’t have to worry about kale overtaking their mixed containers.

Playlist Kits and Recipes (Sakata Ornamentals)

Sakata Ornamentals introduced Playlist — Colorful Combinations of Sakata’s Greatest Hits. Keeping in the theme of Sakata’s Through the Eras theme at California Spring Trials (CAST), this new program combines the best varieties throughout the years in the form of kits and recipes for mixed containers. Kits contain one cutting of each variety, which are selected to grow well together. Recipes contain seed and vegetative products synced by experts. The genetics are queued up for grower, retailer, and consumer success, says Kris Carlsson of Sakata Ornamentals.

Dahlia ‘Black Forest Ruby’ (American Takii)

Dahlia Black Forest is a new series from American Takii, and the first color introduced is ‘Ruby’. Five more colors are in the lineup, says Jessica Cudnik of American Takii. ‘Black Forest Ruby’ has multiple shades for the blooms, ranging from scarlet to merlot. The blooms are paired with dark foliage, nearly black.

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