Vibrant and Resilient Deco Containers

Colorful designer combinations in the Mast Young Plants trial garden

By: VAUGHN FLETCHER | 25-02-2021 | 11 min read

Last month in greenhouse product news magazine GPN Mag, I highlighted the window box planters in the Mast Young Plants 2020 trial. This month I am focusing on the breeder recipe deco containers that I saw in the trial during my August 2020 visit.  

Vibrant and Resilient Deco Containers by Vaughn Fletcher
Vaughn Fletcher

Optimal Performance for the Consumer

These combinations demonstrated the attributes to provide optimal performance for the consumer. These attributes include component balance, durability, vigor, uniformity, heat tolerance, longevity, and floriferousness. The breeders participating were Danziger, Ball FloraPlant, Westhoff, GreenFuse Botanicals, PanAmerican Seed, Selecta One, Syngenta Flowers, Kientzler, Sakata, Suntory, and Dümmen Orange. The greenhouse planting date for the containers was week 20, and they were moved to the trial site on week 25. The soil mix utilized was Berger BM6 and the fertilizer program was a constant feed of Plant Marvel 17-5-14.

1. Plug & Play Firecracker

PanAmerican Seed

This Plug & Play combination consists of three Shock Wave petunias: Coral Crush, Denim, and Deep Purple. When you combine the warm color of Coral Crush and the cool colors of Denim and Deep Purple, you create a recipe that pops! The Shock Wave series, with six colors and two mixes, has proven its worthiness in many applications as I mentioned earlier. This series is manageable, tends to rebound quickly from overhead watering, and is weather tolerant. In the Mast container trial, the series was uniform with a mounded habit and a colorful canopy.


Vibrant and Resilient Deco Containers by Vaughn Fletcher
Plug & Play Firecracker

2. Kwik Kombo Salute

Syngenta Flowers

Syngenta introduced the Kwik Kombo single-species and multi-species combinations in 2010 and continues to introduce new Kwik Kombos every year following an extensive trialing program. Syngenta is committed to participating in multiple summer trials, and I will focus on numerous Kwik Kombo and many other breeder combinations that were eye-catching in the Mast trial. The Kwik Kombo program consists of early, midseason, and late-season recipes. Kwik Kombo Salute is an early-season mono species combination of petunias ‘Dekko Red’, ‘Dekko White’ and ‘Dekko Blue’. This is a patriotic and colorful recipe with excellent timing and balance and prolific flowering.


Vibrant and Resilient Deco Containers by Vaughn Fletcher
Kwik Kombo Salute

3. Plug & Play After Dark

PanAmerican Seed

This mono species is a combination of the iconic Easy Wave petunias Burgundy Velour and Neon Pink. These cool hues blend well to create an eye-catching combination. This duo has a proven record in spring programs for its timing, dark contrasting centers, floriferousness, and summer performance.


Vibrant and Resilient Deco Containers by Vaughn Fletcher
Plug & Play After Dark

4. Kwik Kombo Dekko Moody Blues

Syngenta Flowers

This mono species combination of petunias ‘Dekko Blue’, ‘Dekko Deep Lavender Vein’ and ‘Dekko White’ manifested the excellent uniformity, branching, timing, and balance of the Dekko series, which was introduced in 2017. This series consists of 11 colors that are used in many early and mid-season Kwik Kombos. They have trumpet-shaped midsize flowers with tight internodes. In trials and spring programs, the series has manifested versatility, prolific flowering, and outstanding garden performance.


Vibrant and Resilient Deco Containers by Vaughn Fletcher
Kwik Kombo Dekko Moody Blues

5. Triomio Superbells Salsa


I know what you are thinking: another calibrachoa designer recipe program to consider for spring production. Since the introduction of the calibrachoa Million Bells series over 20 years ago, we have seen the development and introduction of multiple calibrachoa series from international breeders. We now have hundreds of varieties, including doubles, multicolored, bicolors, and core colors. We have seen breeding advances in color stability, pH tolerance, day length neutrality, habit, and heat and drought tolerance. Kientzler introduced the calibrachoa Unique series in 2015, and it now comprises 12 colors for 2021. It is difficult to gain sales traction and market share in this competitive calibrachoa market, but the Unique series has demonstrated excellent late-season performance in regional trials over the past three years. The Superbells Salsa is composed of three Unique colors: Dark Red, Golden Yellow, and White. The colors were stable, the timing was excellent, and the flower canopy was prolific. There are three outstanding TrioMio Superbells calibrachoa mixes for 2021: Salsa, Zumba, and Mango Punch. The entire TrioMio combo program is available from InnovaPlants and incorporates not only Kientzler genetics, but Sakata and Suntory to provide a wide range of varieties.


Vibrant and Resilient Deco Containers by Vaughn Fletcher
Triomio Superbells Salsa

6. Kwik Kombo Beach Bound

Syngenta Flowers

Beach Bound is a multi-genera early-season recipe consisting of petunia ‘Dekko Star Rose’, calibrachoa ‘Cabrio Yellow’, and verbena ‘Lanai Peach’. This combination demonstrated the branching, floriferousness, and heat tolerance of the multiple components. The Dekko and Cabrio series were important introductions to the Syngenta portfolio offering earliness, compactness, and season-long flowering. These new series created the opportunity to offer Kwik Kombos with improved timing, habit, and floriferousness. Verbena ‘Lanai Peach’, as well as the entire Lanai series, offers a selection of solids, bicolors, and tricolor varieties with vigor and heat tolerance, and they are components in many of the early and midseason combinations.


Vibrant and Resilient Deco Containers by Vaughn Fletcher
Kwik Kombo Beach Bound

7. Plug & Play Ink'd

PanAmerican Seed

The Plug & Play program, introduced in 2017, was revolutionary following the development of vegetative designer recipes many years before. The Plug & Play combinations are now a significant spring production program nationwide. There are over 80 Plug & Play recipes available for 2021, which include six current and new categories. These recipes, which have a full complement of annuals, herbs, vegetables, and perennials, demonstrate the diverse seed portfolio of PanAmerican Seed and their applicability in these creative combinations. Some of the attributes include programmability, floriferousness, timing, balance, and proven garden performance. I will highlight five Plug & Play recipes and one Plug & Play Fuseable that demonstrated these qualities in mid-August last year. The first is Plug & Play Ink’d, which is a summer combination of vinca ‘Tattoo Raspberry’ and angelonia ‘Serena Blue’. The Tattoo series has proven to be one of the most unique Vinca introductions, with unique vibrant colors with dark centers. This series has been excellent in trials over the past two years and in spring production programs in quarts and mixed containers. I grew vinca ‘Tattoo Raspberry’ in my container trial last year, and it was eye-catching and flowered profusely until frost. The iconic angelonia Serena series is ubiquitous in the market and deservedly so for its versatility and performance.


Vibrant and Resilient Deco Containers by Vaughn Fletcher
Plug & Play Ink'd

8. Mixer Beedance Bee Fabulous

Suntory Flowers

The multi-genera combination of bidens ‘Beedance Painted Red’, lobelia ‘Trailing White’ and petunia ‘Surfinia Deep Red’ is not new to the Suntory Mixer program, but it continues to manifest color, exceptional heat tolerance, and season-long garden performance. The bidens Beedance series was introduced in 2015 and provide an excellent filler component in mixed containers. The Suntory Trailing lobelia series includes Blue with Eye, Blue Sky, Purple with Eye, and White. We have many lobelia series to choose from; this series offers heat tolerance and vigor as a filler or spiller in combinations. ‘Surfinia Deep Red’ is ubiquitous in spring programs and has been in the market for over 20 years. It continues to manifest outstanding garden performance, non-fading deep red flowers, and a well-behaved habit.


Vibrant and Resilient Deco Containers by Vaughn Fletcher
Mixer Beedance Bee Fabulous

9. Trixi Double Take

Selecta One

This new mono species combination for 2021 includes the three MiniFamous calibrachoas: Uno Dark Blue, Uno PinkTastic, and Uno Red. The Uno Series is considered the most compact calibrachoa series in the Selecta One portfolio, but it has the vigor and uniformity to manifest floriferousness and balance. Double Take is in the Berry Hue Trixi collection. What impressed me about the Uno series in this trial, as well as in many others, is the color saturation, retention, and persistent double flowers. PinkTastic is a FleuroStar winner and offers dynamic bicolor inner petals. The Uno series has exhibited excellent weather tolerance throughout the summer and also offers spring production versatility in quarts, mixed containers, and baskets.


Vibrant and Resilient Deco Containers by Vaughn Fletcher
Trixi Double Take

10. Durabella Tropical Sunset


The new DuraBella recipe program includes over 28 mono and multispecies combinations. I have highlighted many of the new Danziger varieties that comprise these DuraBella combinations in previous articles, including the nemesia Nesia series. The Nesias have manifested outstanding heat tolerance and prolonged flowering in Southern and Northern trials since their introduction. It was the most floriferous nemesia series in multiple trials last summer and exhibited uniformity, heat tolerance, and exceptional color throughout summer in the Northern trials. This combination, consisting of ‘Nesia Tropical’, ‘Nesia Sunshine’ and ‘Nesia Magenta’, manifested balance, uniformity, and prolific flowering in the Mast trial. These DuraBella nemesia combinations have the added value of a sweet and pleasant fragrance. This DuraBella will have production applications from early spring through early summer.


Vibrant and Resilient Deco Containers by Vaughn Fletcher
Durabella Tropical Sunset

11. Mixmaster Porch Patriot

Ball FloraPlant

This multiliner heat-loving combination of angelonia ‘Archangel Raspberry’, lantana ‘Lucky Yellow’, and the new scaevola ‘Blue Brilliance’ is a season extender MixMaster, and it fulfills the criteria we expect in a designer recipe. It provides balance, timing, the “thriller, filler, spiller” components, and outstanding heat tolerance. ‘Archangel Raspberry’ is one of the most eye-catching angelonias on the market. The lantana Lucky series is a stalwart in many production programs, and scaevola ‘Blue Brilliance’ is a new introduction for 2021 and was a top performer in many trials last summer including Penn State and Young’s Plant Farm. I highly recommend this MixMaster for patio containers because it will provide unmatched color throughout the summer.


Vibrant and Resilient Deco Containers by Vaughn Fletcher
Mixmaster Porch Patriot

12. Kwik Kombo Cabrio Road Trip

Syngenta Flowers

The calibrachoa Cabrio series, introduced in 2018, has augmented the Syngenta program with an early-flowering, uniform, and mounded calibrachoa series that is adaptable in quart, mixed containers, and basket production. The Cabrio Road Trip mono species recipe includes ‘Cabrio Amethyst’, ‘Cabrio Pink with Eye’, and ‘Cabrio Yellow’. The yellow was slightly more vigorous, but all three varieties blended and created a colorful Kwik Kombo.


Vibrant and Resilient Deco Containers by Vaughn Fletcher
Kwik Kombo Cabrio Road Trip

13. Plug & Play Seaside Delight

PanAmerican Seed

This combination of angelonia ‘Serena Blue’ and vinca ‘Valiant Orchid’ has been a star performer in multiple trials and production programs for the past two years. The Seaside Delight combination received a full-page layout in the Plug & Play catalog for good reason. It manifests profuse monochromatic flowers that provide eyecatching colors throughout the summer season. The Valiant series has six vibrant colors that have demonstrated vigor, durability, and heat and drought tolerance.


Vibrant and Resilient Deco Containers by Vaughn Fletcher
Plug & Play Seaside Delight

14. Plug & Play Coco Colada

PanAmerican Seed

This duo combination of petunia ‘Shock Wave Coconut’ and ‘Shock Wave Coral Crush’ demonstrates the summer performance of the Shock Wave series. This series has outstanding versatility in multiple production programs, including quarts, premium packs, mixed containers, and baskets. Many growers substitute this series for calibrachoa for many reasons, including vigor, habit, flower power, and heat tolerance. I have been asked many times to choose the most unique color in this series, and without reservation, Coral Crush is the variety because of its unique coral-orange coloration unlike any other variety in the petunia Wave portfolio.


Vibrant and Resilient Deco Containers by Vaughn Fletcher
Plug & Play Coco Colada

15. Plug & Play Fuseable Paradise Island

PanAmerican Seed

This revolutionary Fuseable multipelleted duo and multi-species combo program incorporate many varieties in the PanAmerican portfolio including Wave, Midnight, and Daddy petunias, coleus, violas, juncus, pansies, and bacopa. The Fuseable Paradise Island components are calibrachoas ‘Kabloom Yellow’, ‘Kabloom Denim’, and ‘Kabloom Rose’. Paradise Island is the only combination that includes varieties in the Kabloom series, and it has been impressive in summer trials and commercial spring production. The timing, uniformity, and summer performance were outstanding in the Mast trial, and it competed well with many vegetative combinations. Six colors and one improvement have been added for 2021. PanAmerican Seed will offer more Fuseable Kabloom combinations in the near future.


Vibrant and Resilient Deco Containers by Vaughn Fletcher
Plug & Play Fuseable Paradise Island

16. Sunpatiens Summer Salsa


SunPatiens are one of the most recognizable plant brands in the world — for good reason. The compact and vigorous series offers multiple features and benefits including uniformity, durability, heat and drought tolerance, floriferousness, mildew resistance, versatility, and outstanding performance in multiple container sizes and landscape beds. SunPatiens Summer Salsa is one of six Sunpatiens kits available for 2021. The Summer Salsa recipe includes Compact Coral Pink, Compact Hot Coral, and Compact Red. In basket or container trial sites late in the summer season, the SunPatiens kits consistently demonstrate superlative garden performance. Growers can purchase the kits but also create their own multi-species combinations with Sunpatiens. The fact remains that very few genera in the market offer the season-long color in containers, baskets, and landscapes as SunPatiens.


Vibrant and Resilient Deco Containers by Vaughn Fletcher
Sunpatiens Summer Salsa
Vaughn Fletcher profile picture
Vaughn Fletcher

Vaughn Fletcher is president of Fletcher Consulting. He has been in the horticulture industry since 1971, working in many areas including landscaping, garden center and greenhouse production, greenhouse and nursery sales and sales management.



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