Stunning New Varieties at Proven Winners Open House

Brokers, growers, and retailers descended on the small town of Carleton, MI, last month for a Proven Winners Plant Preview Open House at Four Star Greenhouse. The display area was packed full of new introductions for 2025, including annuals, perennials, shrubs, houseplants, and more. There was much to see, but here are a few highlights. 

Art & Sol Mangave Collection

Andrew Jager, Marketing Manager for Walters Gardens in Zeeland, MI, describes the mangave as an intergeneric hybrid between agave and manfreda. Manfreda brings traits like unique colors, while agaves have an interesting leaf structure. Jager describes mangave as “bulletproof for the home gardener.” Agave can’t be overwatered, and manfreda are water-tolerant — so they won’t die if they’re flooded with water. Mangaves can also be grown with annuals, Jager says, noting that the crop time is half the time of an agave. In Michigan, the crop time for an agave in a quart pot is 16 weeks. A mangave’s crop time is eight weeks. 

Salvia ‘Living Large Big Sky’

This variety stands out from across the room just because of its size. A height of 30 inches is unusual for a salvia, but when ‘Living Large Big Sky’ reaches that height, it’s just getting started. This hybrid salvia grows to be 30-36 inches tall and has large leaves and flowers. “This will be the biggest salvia on your bench,” says Jager. The first flower spike is a foot long. ‘Living Large Big Sky’ is intended for home gardeners and landscapers. In the past, landscapers might need to use three salvias to fill a space. With ‘Living Large Big Sky’, only one salvia is needed for the same space. This is a later-blooming salvia, after S. nemorosa and S. pratensis. Jager suggests growing this variety in a 1-gallon or 2-gallon container. 

Scaevola Stardiva Series

Stardiva seems eye-catching because of the shape of the petals. Rather than fan-shaped flowers, Stardiva has star-shaped flowers. Each of these series has five petals, but Stardiva has a larger, fuller appearance. The series is also drought-resistant and heat-tolerant.

Rosa ‘Flavorette Pear’d’

This edible rose was bred by a group of five women in Serbia, breaking the norm of men breeding plants. This new introduction is unlikely to shatter. It comes in Apricot and Pear colors, and the blooms fade to white over time. 

Chinese Flower Breeding Industry Debuts Xiamen International Flower Trials

Click through this slideshow to see varieties displayed at the Proven Winners Plant Preview Open House.


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