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Stand-Out Plants for 2023
Retail Concepts & Solutions - After 4 busy weeks of visitors from across the horticultural industry, the Ball Summer Showcase came to a close on 5th August 2022.
Despite almost 5 weeks without rain and the amongst the highest temperatures recorded in the UK, the summer plants trials and displays proved a resounding success and a valuable visit to all those who visited. The challenging weather conditions certainly demonstrated how plant genetics have improved dramatically over the past years with so many plant varieties showing amazing resilience to the most unforgiving heat and lack of rain.
“Not an ideal year to launch a new series of Double Busy Lizzies!” says Stuart Lowen, Marketing Manager at Ball. “But testament to the incredible breeding work carried out by our sister company, Ball FloraPlant, the all-new Downy Mildew resistant Glimmer™ Impatiens simply stole the show. Through heat and sun, the robust plants and rose-like blossoms of Glimmer just battled on to give a non-stop display of colour… that’s just what we want from new plant varieties!”
The extended presentation of Lasting Beauty® Perennials which included Everlasting Beauty shrubs, Edible Beauty soft fruit and Exotic Beauty succulents and tropical plants were also incredibly well received. Developed and sourced through our extensive global partners, these varieties really deliver stand-out performance on the nursery and provide exciting solutions for retail and todays modern gardener.
More of the outdoor display space was given over to retail bench displays with plants in a range of pots sizes to help growers and retailers see the real potential of the plant varieties. Ideas such as Vertical MixMasters® using climbing Ipomoea SolarTower™ and Thunbergia SunEyes in tripods, Speedplanters in a range of baskets and containers to show how flexible they can be to suit any retail price point, and an extensive Retail Concept display of CC Trolleys and themed planteria benching to create interest in taking retail presentations to the next level.
As always there was an extensive trialling area of over 1,000 experimental Annual and Perennial varieties providing visitors full transparency on ‘What’s cooking in the kitchen’, a great insight to the continuous stream of future new plant varieties Ball is looking at for the UK and Irish market.
As always, Ball offer visitors the opportunity to vote for their favourite Annual and Perennial varieties from any of the trials or plant displays.
We are delighted to share these results with you:
Customers Favourite Varieties for 2023 – Annuals
1 NEW Impatiens Glimmer™ Appleblossom
2 Petunia Bee's Knees
3 NEW Zinnia Zesty Orange
4 NEW Trixi® Compact Purple Joy
5 Verbena Showboat Blue Fizz
=6 Coleus Kong® Red, Rose & Lime Sprite (3 in a pot)
Verbena Showboat Mango Orange
8 NEW Petunia Go!Tunia® Cosmic Pink
=9 Angelonia Archangel Coral, Dark Purple & White (3 in a pot)
=9 NEW Heliotrope Honey Blue
=11 MixMasters® Sunny Black
=11 NEW Petunia Surfinia® Lagoon Blue Star
13 Vertical MixMasters® - Thunbergia SunEyes Pink Beauty & Ipomoea SolarTower™ Black
=14 Calibrachoa Cabaret® Good Night Kiss
=14 NEW Celosia First Flame Mixed
=14 Lantana Lucky™ Rose Sunrise
=14 Petunia Mystical® Midnight Gold
=14 Verbena Drums Purple Red
19 NEW Dahlia Dalaya Dark Sanya
20 NEW Vertical MixMasters® - Thunbergia SunEyes Lemon Star & Ipomoea SolarTower™ Black
NEW Double Impatiens Glimmer™ Appleblossom
Voted for by Visitors as their Overall Favourite Annual Plant Variety
It’s no wonder why this variety was awarded ‘Best In Show’ by Visitors and Judges at the 2022 HTA
National Plant Show! Glimmer™ Appleblossom is a stunning and romantic colour in the new Glimmer™ Double Impatiens series. Its large iridescent rose-like blooms luminate the shade.
All 7 colours in the Glimmer™ series;
Appleblossom, Bright Red, Burgundy, Dark Red, Hot Pink, Salmon and White, are all very well matched for timing and habit.
But the most incredible breakthrough in breeding is Glimmer’s high resistance to Plasmospara destructor, the cause of Impatiens Downy Mildew. Yes, you got it Double Impatiens are back and now with great extra disease control bringing back Grower, Retail and Consumer confidence with this much-loved garden favourite!
The well-branched, mounded and trailing plants are covered with large, rose-like double flowers and are suitable for growing in 10-17cm pots, hanging baskets and patio containers.
Perfect for growing in sun or shade. Height: 25-41cm and spread: 25-30cm. Glimmer™ makes an excellent ingredient for exciting plant combinations or planted in its own right in a hanging basket or patio container.
Available as a Ball 84 Tray, delivery weeks 10 - 20. A high impact colour Ball label is supplied with the plugs.
Petunia Bee’s Knees
Simply the Bee’s Knees when it comes to Yellow Petunia!
Already recognised internationally as the Winner of the 2022/23 Fleursotar Award, its no surprise Bee's Knees, with its super intense sunshine yellow flowers, was also chosen as a favourite by our visitors at this year’s Summer Showcase.
Why is it such a game changer?
Firstly, this is a real crisp saturated yellow and early to flower too. Unlike other yellows, which tend to be a buttery cream in colour or have brown veins that give a dirty look, this colour really ‘packs-a-punch’, intensifying with heat and light. The dark green foliage adds extra contrast to the colour.
Plants are strongly branched to provide a versatile Petunia with a mounding, spilling habit which looks as great in the garden border as it does in baskets and containers. Bee’s Knees has amazing garden longevity, unlike other yellows whose flowers go 'snotty' in the rain and plants deteriorate easily.
An excellent plant for premium mixed plant combinations with a height of 20-25cm and spread of 41-56cm.
Available as a Ball 84 Tray, delivery weeks 8 – 20 and a 128 Leg Tray, delivery weeks 4 - 22.
A high impact colour Ball label is supplied with the plugs.
NEW Zinnia Zesty Orange
Extraordinary Garden Appeal!
With its vibrant orange coloured and large 8- 13cm fully double flowers, Zinnia Zesty Orange will provide gardeners with an
abundance of beautiful colour all season long. This colour really stood out alongside the other 6 colours in the Zesty series (Fuchsia, Pink, Purple, Scarlet, White and Yellow) in the Summer Trial Gardens and clearly captured the hearts of our visitors with so many votes.
Zesty’s excellent garden vigour, performance in all weathers and well branched plants sets it apart from other Z. elegans, and makes it
perfect for planting in the border, patio containers and mixed combinations. Plus, pollinators just love this plant!
Plant height and spread 30-40cm.
An ideal variety to drop into 1 litre pots or why not try 3 pugs in a 2-litre pot for premium summer colour sales. The Zesty series is supplied as coated seed and as Zesty Mixed in a Ball 104 and 230 Tray weeks 14-18.
Customers Favourite Varieties for 2023 – Perennials
Position Perennials Catalogue
1 NEW Delphinium Red Lark Lasting Beauty
2 NEW 2024 Agapanthus Starry Night (Exp 3703) Lasting Beauty
3 Echinacea Prima Ruby Lasting Beauty
= 4 Agapanthus Twister Lasting Beauty
= 4 Echinacea Prima Saffron Lasting Beauty
= 4 Experimental Mangave Cherry Chocolate Chip Exotic Beauty
= 7 NEW Perovskia Bluesette Lasting Beauty
= 7 Senecio Angel Wings Lasting Beauty
= 9 NEW Alstroemeria Inticancha® Paraiso Lasting Beauty
= 9 Experimental Digitalis DIG 202 Lasting Beauty
= 9 NEW Euphorbia Miner's Merlot Everlasting Beauty
12 Salvia Mirage Rose Bicolour Lasting Beauty
= 13 NEW Buddleja Butterfly Candy Little Ruby Lasting Beauty
= 13 Experimental Delphinium Exp. Neon Lilac Lasting Beauty
= 13 Echinacea Delicious Candy Lasting Beauty
= 16 Alstroemeria Paradise Indian Summer® Lasting Beauty
= 16 Corydalis Blue Heron Lasting Beauty
= 16 NEW Echinacea Mooodz Devotion Lasting Beauty
= 16 NEW Lavandula Butterfly Garden Pink Summer Lasting Beauty
= 16 Salvia Mirage Blue Lasting Beauty
NEW Delphinium hybrida Red Lark
Voted for by visitors as their overall favourite Perennial plant variety
The first variety ever to have been our visitors favourite 2 years in a row!
Last Year, this stunning Delphinium Red Lark was just an experimental variety yet stopped visitors in their tracks with its unique coloured flowers.
New for 2023, this variety jumped out again at this year’s Summer Showcase as the visitors favourite Perennial.
The striking spikes of coral-red semi-double flowers rise on sturdy stems above an attractive mound of palm shaped foliage. Red Lark is free
flowering and produces multiple spikes from June to September from one plant.
In the garden, Red Lark creates quite a focal point. Garden height is approximately 65cm and because of its strong sturdy stems, it needs little or no support. Planted in full sun just intensifies the flower colours. An excellent choice for home cut flowers and most attractive to bees and pollinators.
At retail, this new Delphinium will undoubtedly draw shoppers to it like a magnet.
We recommend growing in a 3 - 5 litre pot. Our Ball 40 plug (available weeks 9, 11, 15 and 18) is ideal for growing in a well ventilated polytunnel allowing plenty of air movement or outside, after the risk of frost has passed. The rich flowering colouring is more emphasised when grown outdoors for a few
A 15cm colour Lasting Beauty® Perennial style label is supplied with the plugs to help make your plants stand out at retail as a premium plant.
NEW for 2024 Agapanthus hybrida Starry Night
A striking new hardy variety with the most intense cobalt blue flowers
Starry Night stood out in our trials this year as one of the clear favourites, due to its most incredibly dark blue flowers and contrasting dark green foliage.
This new mid-sized Agapanthus selection really delivers as a premium retail plant with its impressive presentation in 5 litre pots in colour.
Due to the strong stems the flowers remain supported, standing up to 60cm, until winter arrives. The foliage of Starry Night is fresh dark green during the summer and will lose its foliage during the winter.
Bred for hardiness, Starry Night is hardy to approximately -15oC. From the end of April/early May plants will re-emerge from the ground and start to flower around August-September. Within 3 years in the ground the plant will have approximately 10 – 14 flowers held up to 60cm high, spreading to about 40-50cm.
Once established in the ground Starry Night is heat and sun tolerant and can bare a period of drought, however the plants still benefit better from some water. An excellent variety for patio containers.
Available as a tray 18 liner (9cm pot) in week 9. This is ideal for growing in a 3 – 5 litre pot. Grown under a frost-free glasshouse, a finished plant can be achieved in a 3-litre pot within the same season. Alternatively overwinter for a full looking 5 litre the following year.
Echinacea hybrida Prima Ruby
One of the most vibrant colours within our Echinacea assortment
Certainly, the rich coloured flowers of Prima Ruby combined with the short pot habit on the demonstration retail benches, caught the eyes of visitors at this year’s Showcase Prima Ruby and Prima Saffron are one of our most compact Echinacea varieties. With a clump forming habit and multiple crowns, Prima puts on an impressive strong early flowering display for retail pot sales in the first year.
The unique multi-layered petals form striking iridescent pink-red flowers with a dark cone. In the garden plants will flower for weeks especially if the old flowers are regularly removed. Very attractive to butterflies, useful for dried arrangements or for cutting. Garden Height 30cm.
Available as a Paper 45 plug weeks 9 and 11.
We recommend planting your plug directly into a 3-litre pot, starting the plant off under protection. Once the plant has rooted, it is really important, like with all Echinacea, to pinch out the initial flower spike, then space the crop outside to finish.
Ball Trial Grounds in the UK
Ball in the UK has been conducting plant variety trials and customer open days from their Trial Grounds in West Adderbury for 60 years. Today’s Trial Grounds not only presents the companies assortment of catalogue varieties in a rich display of settings and retail ideas, but also comprehensively evaluates hundreds of new future lines before introduction. This ensures that when a product is introduced in the Ball Colegrave catalogues, our staff and visitors have seen it and know it performs under UK growing conditions!
Trials are conducted all year round with an open house for customers during autumn, spring and summer. Over 25,000 Annual and Perennial plants are bedded out in the summer trial and display beds with an excess of 5,000 pot plants and 2,000 patio baskets/containers are planted up for the event.
Traditionally the Trial Grounds were attended by Parks and Nurserymen. Today they are joined by an ever-increasing number of Retail Plant Buyers looking for new plant and retail solutions.
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