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1993 ASCFG National Cut Flower Trials

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John Dole, Oklahoma State University


Specialty cut flowers growers are well known for their creativity in growing and marketing cut materials. At the 1993 National Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers (ASCFG) conference an incredible diversity of plant materials were being marketed, from traditional cut flowers and berried branches to vegetables. Each grower tries to offer their customers new species or new cultivars of a favorite species. The ASCFG helps growers with the search for new crops by sponsoring the National Cut Flower Trials. For the 1993 Trial, seed was donated by six companies, Clause Seeds, Fred C. Gloeckner & Company, G.S. Grimes, Kieft Bloemzaden, K. Sahin, and Sakata, and sent to thirty four commercial growers and universities from around the country. Thirty seven cultivars were included in the trial. Evaluations were made by the participants, including approximate yield, length, ease of cultivation, market appeal and likelihood of growing the cultivar again. Twenty two evaluations were returned by the participants.

Two wheat celosia cultivars were well received, ‘Flamingo Purple’ (Keift) and ‘Tassles Deep Rose’ (Gloeckner). Both were quite similar with their rose-purple flower spikes and burgundy foliage. These vigorous plants grew 3-5 ft. tall and produced up to 9 stems/plant. Wheat celosias do best in warm southern or western areas as they flower late or not at all in cooler areas. Transplants well and should be spaced on 1 to 1.5-ft. centers.

With true blue flowers a rare sight, notable were the four delphinium cultivars in various shades of blue: ‘Audace Varie’ (Clause) and ‘Eastern Blues’, ‘Qis Light Blue’ and ‘Blue Shadow’ (Kieft). ‘Blue Shadow’ was ranked the highest of the group and noted by two participants as the best new cultivar of the year. ‘Qis Light Blue’ was picked out as a nice dried flower. Yield for all of the cultivars was 4-8 stems/plant. For best performance, plant in fall or very early spring. This group prefers cooler temperatures and can be spaced fairly tight, ie. 6-in. centers.

Another common entrant in the trial was cosmos with six submissions by three companies. Four of the cultivars were pink; two with a rose ring around the eye: ‘Qis Rose’ (Kieft) and ‘Tickle Pink’ (Grimes) and two with solid pink petals: ‘Versailles Pink’ and ‘Versailles Blush Pink’ (Sakata). The cultivars ‘Qis Red’ (Kieft) and ‘Qis White’ rounded out the color spectrum. All the cultivars were prolific, averaging 14-22 stems/plant, with 1.5 to 2 ft. stems and well received. Of the six cultivars, the ‘Qis’ series was ranked the highest and ‘Versailles Pink’ the next highest. Compared to ‘Sensation’ cosmos, all of the newer cultivars tended to have weaker stems. Many respondents loved the color of ‘Qis Red’. Many people also liked the soft pink colors of the ‘Versailles’ cultivars, while others thought the petals looked faded, especially on ‘Versailles Blush Pink’. In general, cosmos tend to have a relatively short postharvest life, making them better suited to local sales. The vase life is about 6 days and most cultivars tolerate one to two days of shipping or storage. Cosmos can be spaced on 1-ft centers, but a wider spacing may reduce possible disease problems.

In contrast to last year, only one sunflower, ‘Sunbeam’ (Sakata) was included. It was vigorous and uniform with strong stems up to 5 feet long. Postharvest was reportedly good. As with most of the sunflowers, only one flower is harvested per plant; plantings can be made every two weeks for season-long flowering. Spacing can vary from 6-in. to 1-ft. centers.

Both aster cultivars, ‘Matsumoto Scarlet’ (Sakata) and ‘Kurenai Dark Violet Purple’ (Gloeckner) were well liked by customers and growers who have had experience growing asters for their strong colors and excellent postharvest qualities. Unfortunately, some areas of the country were not favorable for asters with numerous reports of aster yellow mycoplasma, foliar rusts, leafhoppers and aphids. Asters can be grown at 6-in. to 1-ft. centers.


Participating Seed Companies – Annual Trials, 1993

Clause Seeds Professional

24 Blvd. Pierre Brossolette
91221 Bretigny-Sur-Orge Cedex

Fred C. Gloeckner & Company

15 East 26th St.
New York, N.Y. 10016

G.S. Grimes

Box 398
201 West Main St.
Smethport, PA 16749

Kieft Bloemzaden B.V.

P.O. Box 1000
1695 ZG Blokker Holland

K. Sahin, Zaden B.V.

Postbus 227
2400 AE Alphen aan den Rijn

Sakata Seed America, Inc.

18095 Serene Dr.
Morgan Hill, CA 95037

Participating Growers – Annual Trials, 1993

Phil and Dorothy Bartlett
Ocean View Farm & Greenhouses
Nantucket, MA

Lynn Byczinski
Fairplain Farm
Auburn, KS

Sharon Challand
Malta, IL

Barbara Cosper
Flower Power
Highlands, NC

Susan Dayton
Dayton Farm
East Hampton, NY

Joseph Fisher
Fischer’s Greenhouse
Gordonville, PA

Janet Foss
J. Foss Garden Flowers
Everett, WA

Jeff Hartenfeld
Hart Farm
Solsberry, IN

Betsy Hitt
Peregrine Farms
Graham, NC

Steve Houck
Accent Gardens
Boulder, CO

Susan Lathrop
Busy Acres Flower Farm
New Haven, VT

Linda White Mays
Sundance Nursery & Flowers
Irvine, NY

Sheila and Ken McGeathy
McGeathy Farms
Hemlock, MI

Kathy Melmoth
Recipe Gardens
Pittsford, MI

Don Mitchell
Flora Pacifica
Brookings, OR

Susan O’Connell
Hardwick, VT

Jackie and Charlie Pike
Texas Nature Treasures
Fort Worth, TX

Paul Redman/John Dole
Oklahoma State University
Stillwater, OK

Kathy Riley
Nature Perfect
Puyallup, WA

Cheryl Wagner
Wagner’s Homestead Farms
Belleville, MI

Jeanne Wettlaufer
Phoenix Gardens
Wakefield, RI

John Zehrer
Star Valley Flowers
Soldiers Grove, WI