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

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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