Peggy Hill is a garden consultant, writer, speaker and plant ho. She blogs about her garden shenanigans at Peggy is also working to preserve 435 acres and 25,000 feet of magnificent shoreline on Smith Lake in North Alabama as part of the Forever Wild Land Trust. For more information and to register your support, visit


New Plants from Ball Horticulture
by Peggy Hill - posted 05/30/15

Spring Plant Trials is an annual event. Breeders and promoters from all over the world bring their best plants to California and set up mini open houses. I went to this year’s event and visited 29 companies. There were so many great plants, many more than I could fit into the article I wrote for the July issue of Alabama Gardener, so my next several blog posts will be about the fabulous plants at Spring Plant Trials. I’m starting with what I saw at Ball Horticulture because Ball was my favorite stop. One reason was that after showing me a wonderful new plant and explaining the improvements, my tour guide often said, “And we’ll be sending you one of these to try.” Those are my favorite words to hear. And knowing how amazing the plants will be, made it even more exciting when the boxes of free samples started arriving.

For instance, after seeing the 2015 All American Selection winner, Tidal Wave Red Velour spreading petunia,

Easy Wave Red Velour Spreading Petunia

I was thrilled when the UPS man brought me three, and I'm not surprised at how well they're doing in my garden. 

Easy Wave Red Velour Spreading Petunia

And I've seen how big this NEW Campfire coleus will get, at 18-30 inches tall it will easily hide the trunk of my purple crinum. I love how the stems of the coleus echo the color of the crinum.

Campfire Coleus

Ball had a large display of their MixMasters combinations.

   MixMasters from Ball Horticulture   

My favorite was a mix of Petunia 'Flash Mob Bluerific', Verbena 'Aztec Violet Wink' and Calibrochoa 'Caboret White'. Ball named the combination Eye Caramba. They sent me three!!!!

Eye Caramba

They also sent MixMasters Sweet Escape, which blends Petunia 'Sun Spun Yellow', Verbena 'Aztec Burgundy Wink' and Calibrachoa 'Cabaret Light Pink Improved'.

MixMasters Sweet Escape

And MixMasters Over the Top.

MixMasters Over the Top

Ball also sent some ideas for mixed planters and individual plant to go with them. Originally I followed their suggestion and planted this NEW burgundy Hibiscus 'Little Zin', Lantana 'Lucky Sunrise Rose' and Ipomoea 'SolarPower Lime' together.

Mixed Planter

That combination was nice on its own, but I didn't like it next to the Coleus 'Campfire', so I traded the yellow, orange and pink Lantana for a solid yellow Lantana 'Lucky Pot of Gold'.

Mixed Planters

I put their NEW Ipomoea 'SolarPower Black' in the garden.

SolarPower Black sweet potato vine, Ipomoea

I'm excited about the NEW Salvia 'Black and Bloom' that they sent. It promises to be an improvement over 'Black and Blue'.

Salvia Black and Bloom

This blog post is getting a little long, and I have more to say, so I think I'll continue it next week. Check back to see more of Ball Horticulture's new plants and additional posts about Spring Plant Trials. 






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