• AGM plants

    AGM plants have been through a rigorous trial and assessment programme. They are:

    • Excellent for ordinary use in appropriate conditions
    • Available to buy
    • Of good constitution
    • Essentially stable in form & colour
    • Reasonably resistant to pests & diseases

The shock of the new

New varieties may not always be what they seem

There’s a new geranium on the market this spring, Pelargonium Sunrise Smokey White Eye, a zonal pelargonium. Another new one, you say, so what’s the big news?

Pelargonium Sunrise Smokey White Eye ('KLEPZ17487')Well, that’s what I thought until I read this on the J. Parker’s website: "This attractive variety is the first Zonal Geranium bred for the spreading habit.... it will make for an eye-catching hanging basket or patio display.” The first zonal for baskets, well that’s different. So I started doing some research but nowhere else could I find mention of it being “the first Zonal Geranium bred for the spreading habit”.

I asked Tom Stimpson, Plant Product Manager at Mr Fothergill’s, who’s chosen this variety for their new range. “I don’t think it spreads any more than traditional upright pelargoniums, to be honest,” he told me. “The plants I saw at trials didn’t look much different apart from maybe being a little shorter in height. They do have plenty of flowers, though, and look really good.”

New tricks?

It’s true, we always take a gamble with new plants and that’s part of the fun. Sometimes the PR people just get carried away, as with the Chelsea Plant of the Year 2017 winner mulberry Charlotte Russe (‘Matsunaga’)**, lauded by the nursery for its flavour. When I tried the berries they were almost tasteless. It will only be listed by four nurseries in the RHS Plant Finder 2019.

Or there’s the earlier Plant of The Year 2011 winner, Anemone White Swan (‘Macane 001’). It’s a lovely plant but for some time after its launch it was almost impossible to buy because it proved so difficult to propagate. More disappointment was produced than plants although it’s now widely available.

And we always have to be cautious when a seed catalogue flashes “New!”, often in bright red. It may just mean that the variety has been available from everyone else for years and the catalogue you’re looking at has only just got round to appreciating its value.

I work hard to weed out the doubtful newcomers for this blog and always try to give a little background or to quote the breeder to explain a plant’s inclusion. And the plants must be available. I’ve seen nurseries make a song and dance about their new introduction when they have no plants to sell at all, not one! I always give a mail order source so you can actually order it.

Pelargonium Sunrise Smokey White Eye is available from J. Parker’s and also from Mr Fothergill’s.

Mulberry Charlotte Russe (‘Matsunaga’) is available from Suttons and from Ferndale Garden Centre.

Anemone White Swan (‘Macane 001’) is now available from these RHS Plant Finder nurseries.
*Please note: the contents of this blog reflect the views of its author, which are not necessarily those of the RHS

** this plant has been officially renamed Morus ‘Waisei-kirishima-shikinari’ 

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