MANHEIM, Pa. — The year 2018 was a challenging one for growers of annual and perennial plants. This was no different at the Penn State Flower Trials, and by the first week of October 2018, the Southeast Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Manheim had received 26 inches of rainfall above the annual average, with almost three months left to go in the year.
These conditions challenged growers throughout the state as well as at the Penn State Experiment Station.
Plant diseases were more abundant in the 2018 growing season, and it was difficult to keep container fertility levels up to target ranges.
With the unusual weather, many plants that had done well in previous seasons were not up to their typical past performance. This was not so much due to breeding and genetics, but rather a climatological repercussion occurring with the overabundant rainfall.
In one event, there was more than 7 inches in two hours, and another storm dropped just over 11 inches.
Twenty-two entries received a perfect score of (five out of five) for the 2018 growing season, out of the 999 total entries tested. There were also 43 entries that received a final score of 4.9 out of 5.0.
Top performers fact box
Top performers at Penn State Flower Trials:
- Angelonia AngelMist Spreading White, Ball FloraPlant
- Artemesia MAKANA Silver, Terra Nova Nurseries
- Calibrachoa Callie Coral, Syngenta Flowers
- Carex ColorGrass Carex Bronco, PanAmerican Seed
- Carex ColorGrass Carex Phoenix Green, PanAmerican Seed
- Celosia Kelos Atomic Neon Pink, Beekenkamp
- Celosia Kelos Fire Magenta, Beekenkamp
- Coleus (Solenostemon) FlameThrower Chipotle, Ball FloraPlant
- Coleus (Solenostemon) FlameThrower Salsa Verde, Ball FloraPlant
- Coleus (Solenostemon) Flame Thrower Serrano, Ball FloraPlant
- Coleus (Solenostemon) Premium Sun Crimson Gold, PanAmerican Seed
- Coleus (Solenostemon) Main Street Broad Street, Dummen Orange
- Coleus (Solenostemon) ColorBlaze Apple Brandy, Proven Winners
- Combinations MixMasters Vindaloo Vision, Ball FloraPlant
- Helichrysum Silver Threads, Selecta One
- Heuchera NORTHERN EXPOSURE Purple, Terra Nova Nurseries
- Hypoestes Hippo Pink, Proven Winners
- Hypoestes Hippo White, Proven Winners
- Melampodium Jackpot Gold, American Takii
- Penstemon DAKOTA Burgundy, Terra Nova Nurseries
- Rudbeckia Glitters Like Gold, Intrinsic Perennial Gardens
- Sedum Lemon Coral, Proven Winners
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