Thursday, May 30, 2024
Helleborus x ericsmithii ViV® ‘Olivia’ is described as “a true flower bomb” (Image: IPM Media)
Greenlife Innovation

Colour and hardiness in IPM greenlife innovations

by John Fitzsimmons

Diverse greenlife innovations were unveiled at the 40th IPM Essen horticultural expo in Germany recently. Innovative colours and forms combined with improved environmental hardiness were common themes.

Two particularly heat-tolerant and sun-tolerant bamboo Fargesia breeding selections were exhibited by Wilfried Janssen. As the climate changes, the range of plants must also be adapted to the new challenges, the breeder explained. In response, Wilfried Janssen Well-Born Bamboo®, known for Fargesia breeding, has unveiled two new varieties ‘Sunbird’ and ‘Arabica’.

Bamboo can store large amounts of CO2 due to its highly branched root system and rapid growth. Fargesia have the special property of growing pachymorphically (clump-forming) and not forming root runners, making them suitable for gardens, terraces and balconies. Most Fargesia varieties prefer a partially shaded location and will curl their leaves in strong sunlight, drought and frost. However, ‘Sunbird’ and ‘Arabica’ are different.

  • Fargesia rufa ‘Sunbird’ boasts upright growth, unusual for F. rufa and can be readily cultivated in a pot. This variety thrives in the sun and in particularly warm locations. In test plantings it impressed in full sunlight and temperatures around 40oC. The large, strong green leaves do not curl up, even in particularly strong sunlight. At the same time, the new shoots delight with attractive bronze-coloured nuances.
  • F. rufa ‘Arabica’ (Cinnamon bamboo) is striking and described as particularly strong-growing, upright with strong stalks, and has new shoots that are reminiscent of cinnamon sticks due to their coffee-brown colour – a decorative eye-catcher that also looks great in exposed and sunny locations.

The two varieties also claim pronounced pest and disease resistance.

Flemish IPM exhibitors presented three innovations.

Hortibreed NV presented ‘Bloom’Z Bouquet’, a new azalea variety with beautiful, straight-growing branches in the shape of a bouquet. It is multicoloured with three colours per pot and provides an ultra-long flowering period. Excellent air-purifying properties are also claimed.

Rudy Raes Bloemzaden NV presented Primula acaulis ‘Chinese New Year F1’ with a new colour range, including golden flowers with dark red undersides and exclusive rosebud-like flowers. It claims outstanding shelf life and uniform flowering from January to March (northern hemisphere).

Helleborus x ericsmithii ViV® ‘Olivia’ is described as “a true flower bomb” (Image: IPM Media)
Helleborus x ericsmithii ViV® ‘Olivia’ is described as “a true flower bomb”
(Image: IPM Media)

Microflor unveiled Helleborus x ericsmithii ViV® ‘Olivia’, described as “a true flower bomb”. It’s a rich flowering Helleborus showing seasonal colour variations; pink buds and creamy white flowers through a five-month flowering period. It is described as winter hardy and bee-friendly. ‘Olivia’ is said to flourish in pots (15 to 17 litre) on outdoor terraces, and in semi-shade garden spots. 

Soirée™ Sweet Besties collection is listed as new and exquisite Catharanthus roseus hybrids – versatile, beautiful and perfect for mixing with other varieties and colours. They are exclusively grown from cuttings, and available in five shades, from bright white to poppy and glowing cerise.

New and exquisite Catharanthus roseus hybrids are produced from cuttings (Image: IPM Media)
New and exquisite Catharanthus roseus hybrids are produced from cuttings
(Image: IPM Media)

Semponium ‘Diamond’ was exhibited as a ground breaking intergeneric crossing between Aeonium and Sempervivum, and said to be the first officially recognised cross between these genera. ‘Diamond’ has a bright lime-green, striking leaf colour with contrasting red margins when exposed to the sun. It is compact, growing up to about 40 cm x 40 cm, and into a beautiful dense, conical plant as it matures. One head produces an average of twelve offsets. The rosettes are large and strong, the leaves are thick, sturdy and glossy. Overall, ‘Diamond’ is described as a very robust plant, ideal for gardens, rock gardens, balconies and terraces in sun to semi-shade and preferring a well-drained soil.

A family said to continually surprise is the Mad about Mangave® family. New Mangave ‘Praying Hands’ brings a completely different look than any other Mangave. The unique growth habit of one of its parents, Agave ocahui means the dark green foliage grows up such that it could almost be mistaken for an elegant teardrop. Mad about Mangave® varieties are fast growers. ‘Praying Hands’ is perfect as a specimen in a pot or in a mixed container with other succulents. It grows up to 25 cm x 25 cm and is said to be hardy to -5oC.

Extending the edibles trend is the possibility to make mate tea from a home-grown crop. Ilex paraguariensis Garden2Cup® is listed as the first mate variety selected in Europe. It claims exceptional vigour and the remarkable foliage quality allows up to three harvests per year. Two distinct buyer groups can be targeted – firstly mate lovers wanting opportunity to grow their favourite drink at home, and secondly others yet to savour the pleasure of tasting mate grown at home.

The garden performance of Salvia Salgoon® is described as exceptional robust plants with many well-packed flower spikes, drought and heat tolerance. New to the Salgoon® series is ‘Lake Blueberry’ with rich flowering and intense colour. This variety adds lots of volume but also stays compact.

The Banderola® series of anthuriums were bred to grow with changing times and produce 'a wave of flowers' (Image: IPM Media)
The Banderola® series of anthuriums were bred to grow with changing times and produce ‘a wave of flowers’ (Image: IPM Media)

Banderola breeders seek plants that can grow with the times. This idea resulted in the Banderola® series of graceful and refined anthuriums. The flowers resemble graceful ribbons and blend harmoniously with the leaves producing ‘a wave of flowers’. The description is ‘timeless elegance in red and white’. Anthurium Banderola® ‘Roja’ is the first red variant in the new series, distinguished by abundant flowers per plant and its exuberant blooming. The ribbon-like shape of the flowers sets this segment apart from the familiar anthurium. Banderola® ‘Cava’ is a white variant exuding freshness with white, upright flowers. Banderola® ‘Lava’ exudes warmth, and the ton-sur-ton colour scheme of the flower and the spathe enhances that feeling. The name ‘Lava’ was chosen because, if the plant is glowing, the ‘Lava’ is a fiery display.

Clematis Guernsey FluteTM produces large star-shaped flowers up to 14 cm across (Image: IPM Media)
Clematis Guernsey FluteTM produces large star-shaped flowers up to 14 cm across (Image: IPM Media)

New for 2024, Clematis Guernsey Flute™ ‘EviGsy153’PBR features exquisite large star-shaped, pure white flowers with red anthers some 12 to 14 cm across, and formed from May through to July (northern hemisphere) with reliable repeat flowering into September. It has a compact habit and height of 90-120 cm. This clematis has an unusual trait of holding just-open flower buds for an extended period, almost like a champagne flute, hence its name. Mature flowers open fully flat with pointed sepals and are of generous proportions. Unlike most white clematis, these blooms are said to be very robust. The Guernsey part of the name is a reference to the variety being one of the first varieties to come out of Raymond J Evison’s new breeding program at The Guernsey Clematis Nursery.

New Photinia fraseri Little Fenna® (PBR EU 58883) is a compact, dense shrub bringing light and colour to a terrace or evergreen hedges in small gardens. Bright pink shoots in spring contrast with dark green leaves. In April to May (northern hemisphere) it is covered with small creamy-white flowers at the ends of its branches.

Grow&Go from Desch Plantpak BV is an innovative water reservoir system incorporated in the plant pot. The new 32 cm Nora Grow&Go includes a 2 litre water tank and holds 8 litres of substrate. Desch offers value adding through the option of custom labelling. The pot is also available in Recover® made from post-consumer recycled plastic.

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