New plant varieties discussed at materials conference

Johnny Morgan, Owings, Allen D.  |  12/18/2015 3:50:51 AM

LSU AgCenter horticulture instructor Jason Stagg explains the development of new ornamental plants as well as plants with potential during the Louisiana Plant Materials Conference held at the AgCenter Botanic Gardens at Burden on Dec. 8. (Photo by Johnny Morgan, LSU AgCenter)

LSU AgCenter plant scientist Jeff Beasley discusses work he’s doing with zoysia at the Louisiana Plant Materials Conference held at the AgCenter Botanic Gardens at Burden on Dec. 8. (Photo by Johnny Morgan, LSU AgCenter)

News Release Distributed 12/17/15

BATON ROUGE, La. – Professionals in the plant materials industry heard about plants with potential and the latest plants from the industry at the Louisiana Plant Materials Conference at the LSU AgCenter Botanic Gardens at Burden on Dec. 8.

The meeting featured a variety of industry professionals discussing timely topics for those involved in the landscape industry.

AgCenter horticulturist Allen Owings, resident coordinator at the AgCenter Hammond Research Station, said some of the topics included zoysia, new plants from PDSI and Ball Seed companies, the latest flower trends in Baton Rouge commercial landscapes and dogwoods.

Cindy Moran, owner of Moran’s Nursery in Baton Rouge, discussed the latest flower trends in Baton Rouge commercial landscapes.

“A few of the summer survivors are pentas Butterfly and Grafitti, duranta Cuban Gold, caladiums and lantana Little Lucky,” she said. “Some of the winter standbys are pansies, violas, snapdragons and dianthus.”

AgCenter researcher Jason Stagg presented a number of plants with potential for the region, which included Kapiloni Bronze and Musaica copper plants, Barbara Rogers and Friendship begonias, Belle Starr Gold lantana and Mary Helen geranium.

AgCenter researcher Jeff Beasley is looking at the most promising varieties of zoysia for the South.

Owings discussed the decline in native dogwood stands in the Southeast, as well as disease introduction to the species in the past 20 years.

“We’re seeing increased difficulty in wholesale nursery production,” Owings said. “At this time, Tennessee nurseries are our biggest supplier.”

One solution being looked at is development of alternative species. Other considerations include landscape keys, such as acid soil, natural organic matter in the soil and planting in the fall for best results.

Covington horticulturist Linda Trahan attends the conference each year to hear about the new plants that have been in trials for a while.

“I’m mainly interested in some of the older plants that may be brought back,” she said. “I also like to learn about the new plants that may be resistant to diseases.”

Trahan works as a volunteer at schools and consults for individuals and businesses.

“I really just like learning about new things, and I like being around these people as well,” she said.

Johnny Morgan

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