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Features Crops New Varieties
‘Exceptionnelle’ new varieties

May 5, 2009  By Claude Vallée

p30_4-TigerEye-GoldCURRENT ISSUE

'Exceptionnelle' new varieties
Despite last summer’s wet weather, which did nothing to encourage garden visits, more than 2,500 people helped in the selection of “Exceptionelles 2009”.



Trial Co-ordinator Claude Vallée

Despite last summer’s wet weather, which did nothing to encourage
garden visits, more than 2,500 people (for a total of 10,119 votes)
helped in the selection of “Exceptionelles 2009” at Jardin Daniel A.
Séguin at the Institut de technologie agroalimentaire in
Saint-Hyacinthe, Québec.

This level of participation by “Exceptionelles 2009” visitors speaks volumes about the public interest in this annual project.

This popular program identifies promising new varieties for
introduction into the province’s gardens. For the 2009 season, eight
annuals were selected to receive “Exceptionelle” designation. As
always, the same formula was used to determine the winners from among
public and expert judges. A small change this year involved dropping
the “Top 10” formula to put more emphasis on plant performance and
consumer satisfaction.

Also new this year is the fact that all point-of-sale promotional material for the project – posters, labels, table skirts, identification cards, etc. – will now be available at Horticolor Canada, and with a much wider range of choice. And the winners are … 

p30_1--FireworksPennisetum setaceum rubrum ‘Fireworks’ Pennisetum setaceum rubrum ‘Fireworks’
Height: 45-60 cm
Width: 40-50 cm
Exposure: Full sun
Spacing: 40 cm
Application: In groups or isolated, in containers or arrangements.
The craze for pennisetum does not fade. The ‘Fireworks’ variety was the
public favourite in 2008, accumulating more than 400 votes. Fireworks
is part of the popular Pennisetum setaceum Rubrum family, and boasts
vertical stripes of white, pink and purple on its foliage. The
intensity of its stem colouration varies according to plant and
temperature, and appears by surprise like fireworks, hence the name.
Bred in the laboratory by in vitro culture, some variability has been
seen in the past from one supplier to another for this plant, an issue
that seems to have been resolved by the breeder (Creek Hill).
p30_2-Coleus-HennaSolenostemon scutellarioides (coleus) ‘Henna’ Solenostemon scutellarioides (coleus) ‘Henna’
Height: 18-24 cm
Width: 14-16 cm
Exposure: Shade or sun
Spacing: 16-20 cm
Application: In groups or isolated, in containers and arrangements.
Wow! ‘Henna’ will not go unnoticed with its serrated foliage (in the
form of small pointed teeth pointing upwards) showing green/chartreuse
copper colouration on top and purple underneath. It is quite uniform
and does not flower at all (thus, all its energy goes into the
production of leaves). A versatile plant, it is perfect for shade or
sun and is resistant to insects and diseases. The attached photo was
taken in partial shade (50 per cent sunlight). It is produced from
cuttings (Ball Flora Plant).
p30_3-Celosia-ChinatownCelosia plumosa ‘Chinatown’ Celosia plumosa ‘Chinatown’
Height: 35-40 cm
Width: 20-25 cm
Exposure: Full sun
Spacing: 15-20 cm
Application: In groups, containers and arrangements.
This celosia was the public’s second favourite plant. Comparable to the
‘New Look’ variety, ‘Chinatown’ has a stronger visual impact due to the
even more brilliant colour of red buds. This Fleuroselect winner is an
annual that produces abundant flowers and is supported on strong stems
that do not tend to collapse at the end of the season. Its dark foliage
highlights the richness of its flowers. This is a hardy plant that does
not go unnoticed. It is produced from seed (Tezier).
p30_4-TigerEye-GoldRudbeckia hirta ‘Tiger Eye Gold’  Rudbeckia hirta ‘Tiger Eye Gold’
Height: 40-60 cm
Width: 50-60 cm
Exposure: Full sun
Spacing: 40-50 cm
Application: In groupings, containers, and arrangements.
This is the world’s first commercial variety F1 hybrid rudbeckia. Its
hybrid vigour provides for uniform growth, abundant and early
flowering, impressive basal pruning, and good recovery after
transplanting. The dense plants are covered extensively in semi-double

This compact variety does not tend to open in late season and is much
less susceptible to powdery mildew than others on the market. Use it in
combination with ‘Salvia Cathedral Deep Blue’ (see later in the
feature) and you’ll have a hit on your hands. It is produced from seed

p30_5-Citrus-BlendLantana camara ‘Luscious Citrus Blend’ Lantana camara ‘Luscious Citrus Blend’
Height: 25-35 cm
Width: 25-35 cm
Exposure: Full sun
Spacing: 25-30 cm
Application: In groups or isolated, containers and arrangements.
This is one powerful lantana variety! Its growth is compact, dense and
generous. It is covered with small red-orange to yellow flowers, giving
a lively and vibrant tone to its blooms. The pink flower buds create an
effect that quite simply forces you to contemplate this spectacle of
colours. This plant loves warm, sunny places, is drought resistant,
attracts butterflies, and is not grazed by deer. As a bonus, a
delicate, sweet fragrance emanates from its flowers. It is produced
from cuttings (Proven Winners).
p30_6-Yellow-StrawbustBracteantha x hybrida ‘Yellow Strawburst’ Bracteantha x hybrida ‘Yellow Strawburst’
Height: 12-14 cm
Width: 14-18 cm
Exposure:Full sun or light shade
Spacing: 15-20 cm
Application: In groupings, containers and arrangements.
Rare are yellows this intense and bright, making this a truly
eye-catching plant. The flowers are huge for a brac-teantha, and are
abundant and consistent throughout the summer. The compact plant growth
and the strength of its stems allows it to easily maintain its
structure during the whole season, without risk of collapse. Flowering
is constant and sustained throughout the season and even longer if one
takes the time to remove old blooms. Another positive observation –
despite a wet summer last year, this variety was affected only very
late in the season by disease. It is produced from cuttings (Syngenta). 
p30_7-Celebrette-Icy-BlueImpatiens hakewi ‘Celebrette Icy Blue Impatiens hakewi ‘Celebrette Icy Blue’
Height: 20-25 cm
Width: 25-30 cm
Exposure: Shade
Spacing: 25-35 cm
Application: In groupings, containers and arrangements.
This Exceptionnelle is perfect for shade and partial shade. The size of
the flowers is impressive. It has compact growth and impressive stems.
Plants retain their rounded form throughout the season and the dark
green foliage highlights the spectacular flowering of this plant. It is
produced from cuttings (Ball Flora Plant).

Salvia farinacea ‘Deep Blue Cathedral’

Salvia farinacea ‘Deep Blue Cathedral’
Height: 45-60 cm
Width: 30-60 cm
Exposure: Full sun
Spacing: 25-35 cm
Selected for its larger flowers compared to other salvia, the ‘Deep
Blue’ Cathedral variety of the series was chosen by the public because
of its generous, dark lavender flowering. The size of the blooms gives
more volume to the presentation and its abundant flowering is amplified
and supported by generous branches, making for a solid, well-supported
and robust plant. Not particularly sensitive to insects and diseases,
this variety blends well with most of our other Exceptionnelles. It is
produced from cuttings (Bodger).

Claude Vallée is professor and coordinator of technological innovation in horticulture, Institute of Agr-food Technology, Saint-Hyacinthe campus, and can be reached at 450-778-6504 ext 6400,or

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