Top performing annuals in 2012

Michigan State University’s Horticulture Demonstration Gardens list of the Top Performing Annuals can give growers, landscapers and gardeners some great performing plants to choose from in 2013.

Trial Gardens websiteEach year, the Michigan State University Horticulture Demonstration Gardens evaluates hundreds of new annuals grown from seed or cuttings. Trial selections are supplied by private breeding companies and the plants are grown in MSU greenhouses and transplanted into either ground beds or containers after the last frost has passed which is late May or early June.

The performance of each plant in the trials is evaluated bi-weekly by Department of Horticulture staff on vigor, uniformity, ornamental value-flowers and foliage. In addition, disease and insect susceptibility is noted as well as effects of the climate that season. Seventeen companies supplied plants in 2012. Plants are rated on a 1.0 to 5.0 scale with 5.0 being the best performers.

Fifteen plants had an average rating of 5.0 for the entire 2012 season. This list included a Bidens, three Gomphrena, two Lobularias, an ornamental Millet, three petunias, three Sun Impatiens and a Torenia. See photos and descriptions of the 11 plants that really caught the attention of the staff doing the ratings.

Plant performance data from the MSU Trial Gardens is a useful tool for retail growers, garden centers, landscapers and the gardening public. Michigan State University Extension recommends choosing plants that have a good performance history, which can lead to high customer satisfaction. If you wish to see plants from previous year’s trials, go to the MSU Trial Gardens website.