Hardy Plants

Since 1994, an East Texas horticultural field day – sponsored by Texas AgriLife Research – has focuses on hardy bedding plants, with trials to weed out plants that can’t take the heat.

| July 1, 2011

  • Carol Moczygemba, executive editor of Texas Co-op Power magazine in Austin, interviews Sue Adee, Smith County Master Gardener during the 2011 East Texas Horticultural Field Day at Overton.
    Carol Moczygemba, executive editor of Texas Co-op Power magazine in Austin, interviews Sue Adee, Smith County Master Gardener. Approximately 180 international seed company representatives, professional growers and Master Gardeners attended the 2011 East Texas Horticultural Field Day at Overton.
    Texas AgriLife Extension Service/Robert Burns
  • Petunias were blooming during the 2011 East Texas Horticultural Field Day in Overton.
    This row of petunias was just a small sample of the more than 400 bedding plant varieties tested at the 2011 East Texas Horticultural Field Day.
    Texas AgriLife Extension Service/Robert Burns
  • Express Dark Red Charme Verbena was one of the varieties on display at the 2011 East Texas Horticultural Field Day in Overton.
    Express Dark Red Charme Verbena was one of the varieties on display at the 2011 East Texas Horticultural Field Day in Overton.
    Texas AgriLife Extension Service/Robert Burns

  • Carol Moczygemba, executive editor of Texas Co-op Power magazine in Austin, interviews Sue Adee, Smith County Master Gardener during the 2011 East Texas Horticultural Field Day at Overton.
  • Petunias were blooming during the 2011 East Texas Horticultural Field Day in Overton.
  • Express Dark Red Charme Verbena was one of the varieties on display at the 2011 East Texas Horticultural Field Day in Overton.

Overton, Texas — If you want to select for hardy bedding plants, forget New York; think East Texas.

“If they can make it here, they can make it anywhere,” says John Antonelli, a Michigan-based representative with Proven Winners, a company that sells to retail garden centers across North America.

Antonelli was among approximately 180 international seed company representatives, professional growers and Master Gardeners attending the 2011 East Texas Horticultural Field Day held in June at Overton.

“The reason I’m here today is to see what the real world is like, out here in East Texas,” Antonelli says.



Dr. Brent Pemberton, Texas AgriLife Research horticulturist, started testing bedding plants and ornamentals at the Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center in 1994 with about 100 entries. By 2011, the number of entries had grown to more than 400, and the East Texas bedding plant industry has expanded as well, he says.

“It’s approximately a $500-million industry,” Pemberton says. “In this part of the state, the industry stretches from this area over to the Dallas/Fort Worth area. We probably have about $100 million of ornamental production in that area as well. We do these trials to provide information to growers, but also to consumers, so they can make better choices in the plants they grow.”






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