2005 Annual Report

Horticulture Section

Dickinson Research Extension Center
1089 State Avenue
Dickinson, ND 58601

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2004 Cultivar Trials of Bedding Plants

Barbara A. Laschkewitsch
Trial Garden Coordinator

Dr. Ronald C. Smith
Extension Horticulturist – Department of Plant Sciences

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  • Frost Tolerences
  • Top Performers
  • Star Performers
  • Height & Spread
  • Visual Observations
  • Seed Souce List


The Plant Sciences Department at NDSU conducted performance trials on over 300 annual bedding plants during the 2004 growing season. The main research garden is located in Fargo , on the west edge of campus. Trial gardens are also located at the research extension centers in Dickinson and Williston , ND . Official entries (usually 150-200) are grown at all three locations while an additional 150-200 cultivars are also grown at the Fargo site.

The display gardens are for educational and research purposes. They are open to the public throughout the growing season and guided tours are available upon request.

The trial garden is an official display garden of both All-America Selections and the American Hemerocallis Society. Currently, there are over 1100 cultivars of daylilies in the collection with plans for more. The majority of the daylily cultivars are considered historic (pre-1970). There are also over 300 miscellaneous perennials and ornamental grasses in the garden. An extensive iris collection, courtesy of the Art Jensen family, was also added in 2003.

New Fargo trial gardens are currently being constructed on the corner of 18 th street and 12 th avenue north . The move into the new beds should be completed by fall 2005.


Plants were seeded in the horticulture and forestry greenhouses on the NDSU campus from January through April, 2004. When at the proper stage, seedlings were transplanted into cell packs containing a peat-based growing medium. Exceptions to this were geraniums and New Guinea impatiens from Fischer USA, Inc. which were received as rooted cuttings and finished in the greenhouses.

Twelve plants of official entries and mixed cultivars, and 6 plants of all other cultivars were planted into the Fargo plots May 28 – June 8, 2004. Six plants of each cultivar were planted at Dickinson on May 25, and in Williston on May 26. Plants were watered in with Sterns Miracle-Gro® (15-30-15) water soluble fertilizer at all three locations.

Overhead irrigation was applied as needed in Fargo . Dickinson had both overhead and drip irrigation while Williston had drip irrigation only.

Weeding was done by hand at all three locations. Razor® and Regalkade® were also used at the Fargo location for weed control.

Site Information


The main trial garden is located in Fargo on the west side of the NDSU campus off of 18 th street north . The soil is heavy clay and irrigation is applied with overhead sprinklers when needed. The beds are in full sunlight so shade has been provided with shade cloth draped over conduit forms.

The biggest problem during the summer of 2004 was the weather. It was either wet and cool or dry and cool. The wet conditions allowed verticillium to show up in a number of plants but no major insect problems were noted.

The Fargo site received 3+” of rain over Memorial Day weekend prior to planting. The heavy clay soil became saturated. In order to stay close to schedule, plants were planted into the mud. Planting ended about a week past normal due to the wet conditions. As seen on Table 1, temperatures were below normal all summer while precipitation was up in May and July and down in June and August. Table 1 shows weather data for Fargo.


The Dickinson trial garden is located at the research extension center on the west side of State Street . The soil here is a lighter, sandier soil than Fargo and the weather tends to be drier. Shade plants are grown in raised beds under natural shade.

Unlike Fargo, Dickinson was drier than normal all summer except for July. Temperatures were below normal except for July as well. A light frost on June 18 did not cause any damage but the cold June weather slowed plant growth considerably. Table 2 shows weather data for Dickinson .


The Williston trial garden is located at the research extension center on Highway 2 west of Williston. The soil here is also lighter than Fargo . Drip irrigation is used for supplemental watering and shade plants are grown in the natural shade of pine trees

Precipitation was above normal in May but below normal June-August. Temperatures were well below normal and cold June temperatures drastically slowed the plants; very few had good ratings for the July evaluations. Table 3 shows weather data for Williston.

All-America Selections

The NDSU trial gardens are an official display garden of All-America Selections (AAS). AAS was founded in 1932 as a way for home gardeners to learn about new and improved varieties of flowers and vegetables. The red, white and blue AAS logo found on seed packets, in catalogs and in garden articles usually indicates superior cultivars that have been tested in a variety of locations across the United States and Canada . AAS winners for 2005 are:

Catharanthus roseus (Vinca) ‘First Kiss Blueberry'
Gaillardia aristata ‘ Arizona Sun'
Zinnia elegans ‘Magellan Coral'


Plants were evaluated twice over the growing season for height, spread, vigor, uniformity and overall appearance. In Fargo the evaluations took place July 26-28 and September 8-10. Because planting was delayed in Fargo , evaluations were also done about a week later than normal. In Dickinson plants were evaluated July 7 and August 30. Williston plants were evaluated July 8 and August 31.

Field Days

Field days in Dickinson and Williston were held July 7 and 8, respectively, in conjunction with field days at the station. Field days in Fargo were not held in 2004 because the research plots are in the process of being relocated.


Thanks go to the official supporters of the 2004 trial gardens: All-America Selections; Ball Seed Company; Ernst Benary of America, Inc.; Fischer USA, Inc.; Grimes Seeds and Plants; and PanAmerican Seed. The support of these companies is greatly appreciated and we hope results from our efforts are beneficial in their research for new and improved cultivars.

Thanks also to Kris Ringwall and the staff at the Dickinson research extension center; and Lorna Bradbury and the staff at the Williston Research Extension Center. The bedding plant trial evaluation program would not be possible without the help of these talented and dedicated people.

Cover photos are courtesy All-America Selections and include (l to r): Zinnia elegans ‘Magellan Coral' (AAS 2005); Rudbeckia ‘Prairie Sun' (AAS 2003) and Dianthus chinensis ‘Corona Cherry Magic' (AAS 2003).

[1] Disclaimer – Reference to commercial products or trade names is made with the understanding that no discrimination is intended and no endorsement by NDSU or the North Dakota Agriculture Experiment Station is implied.

[2] Temperature and precipitation data are from NDAWN and the National Climatic Data Center.


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