Hot Weather Doesn’t Deter From Plant Trials at North Carolina State University

Note: Information for this trials report was provided by Bernadette Clark, Research Specialist at North Carolina State University.

Our summer started off on the cool side, but by July it started to heat up. The heat persisted into August, and we had a mid-month stretch of 11 consecutive days of 90-plus degrees. Precipitation-wise, we were on the dry side but had relief with occasional heavy downpours.

We trialed about 360 different varieties this year. Some of our best performers included:


  • Cuphea ‘Cubano Presidente’ (Danziger)
  • Coleus ‘Solar Flare’ (Ball FloraPlant)
  • Begonia Hula Series (PanAmerican Seed)
  • Petunia ‘Supertunia Mini Vista Yellow’ (Proven Winners)
  • Impatiens ‘SunPatiens Vigorous Pretty Pink’ (Sakata Ornamentals)


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  • Veronica Skyward series (Darwin Perennials)
  • Phlox ‘Ka-Pow Soft Pink’ (Darwin Perennials)
  • Kniphofia ‘Glowstick’ (Darwin Perennials)

New this year, we held some evening events that brought out the public to vote for their favorite variety and an evening of tasting the edibles from the trials.

Here are a couple varieties that impressed me the most this year:

  • Bidens ‘Campfire Marshmallow’ (Proven Winners): Large-framed bidens with clear white petals. Blooms continuously all season long, is a great plant to contrast with other colors in your garden.
  • Petunia ‘Supertunia Mini Vista Yellow’ (Proven Winners): Dainty yellow flowers with green tint give wall-to-wall color on this plant. One of the few petunias still surviving at the end of the season. Not only is it surviving, it is thriving in our heat and humidity.

Click here for results from more 2023 field trials.

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