Here’s something new
Latest Japanese releases show promise, says Peter
“New colours had been added to the SunPatiens”
LEADING Japanese seed and young plant company Sakata replaced its usual new plant launches in Holland last month with a series of regional displays, including one for British growers at Pershore, Worcestershire. Most of the plants on display were subsequently transported to the Floral Fantasia area at the Royal Horticultural Society Garden, Hyde Hall, Essex, where they are now planted and on public display for all to enjoy.
There are three new colours in the Petchoa BeautiCal Series, a cross between a petunia and a calibrachoa; a hybrid showing great promise not just for the unique colours, but also weather resistance, very free and long flowering, less stickiness than found on petunia, and remarkably good garden performance. The original four, launched at the last BBC Gardeners’
World Live Exhibition in 2019, flowered non-stop pretty well until Christmas, and some even survived over winter in a sheltered position.
New colours have also been added to its SunPatiens. This is another hybrid with great vigour, very free-flowering and drought resistant. Big beds in very hot weather have transpired enough to bring down temperatures several degrees. Trial beds in Westminster and London flower beds last summer grew with such strength that they smothered weeds and proved very low maintenance.
It will be useful to watch these new introductions through the summer and autumn to really test their potential in British gardens. We are learning all the time, and I thought after growing sweet peas for well over 70 years that I knew quite a lot about them – until I visited Phil Johnson, specialist sweet pea breeder and seed producer.
Everyone advising on how to grow sweet peas will say you have to keep cutting blooms and prevent the seeds setting to keep the colour coming. There is an exception to every rule, it seems, and in the case of Sweet Pea ‘Heaven Scent’ it is so shy setting seed that it is not necessary to deadhead.