Wednesday, May 29, 2024

...and then a big box of plants showed up

Earlier this spring I replied to an email asking if I would be interested in receiving some plants to trial, I said yes—and then promptly forgot all about it. Fast forward to last week, I was working in the garden and heard a commotion in the driveway. I came around the corner to see Fed Ex had dropped a large box on the back porch, a box with two very exciting words on the side of it...LIVE PLANTS!

But Dümmen Orange, who the heck is Dümmen Orange? Well, since you asked...

..."Dümmen Orange is a leading global breeder and propagator of flowers and plants, offering an impressive patented portfolio of crops and varieties to growers, wholesalers and retailers around the world. With a legacy more than a century in the making, a world-class R&D team, and a diversified network of owned propagation sites supported by a global supply chain, Dümmen Orange is the trusted source for industry expertise and breeding advancement. Dümmen Orange has its headquarters in De Lier (the Netherlands) and employs 6,600 people worldwide." (source)

Here's what was inside that box...

It looks like a bunch of tasty boxed salads for a catered lunch, don't you think? But when you lift one of those plastic (recyclable plastic) trays out, this is what you see...

There were 24 plants total, 2 each of:
  • Begonia I’Conia® Portofino Dark Orange | 50882
  • Calibrachoa Bloomtastic Blue Sky | 44049
  • Coleus Down Town™ Dallas | 71172 
  • Coleus Down Town™ Port Fairy | 71086
  • Cuphea Lavender | 71901
  • Dipladenia Flordenia™ White Halo | 51176
  • Petunia DuraBloom® Red 2025 | 41740
  • Petunia Potunia®  Black Satin (Intrinsa®) | 39918
  • Pelargonium Big EEZE Pink Batik | 20826
  • Pelargonium Glory Days Red Orange Bicolor | 21275
  • Scaevola Scala Cappello White | 72985
  • Verbena Empress® Sun Kiss Blue | 42488
These are some of their "new varieties" of annuals for 2025 (more info). Here's what they looked like when I had them all unpacked, before I gave them a good spray with the hose. Not bad for being boxed up and traveling 100s of miles...

Coleus Down Town™ Port Fairy | 71086, Scaevola Scala Cappello White | 72985, and Coleus Down Town™ Dallas | 71172

Petunia Potunia®  Black Satin (Intrinsa®) | 39918

Petunia DuraBloom® Red 2025 | 41740

Are you a little perplexed by those names? I know I was. Since I'm not really an "annuals" kind of gardener (more on that in a minute), I immediately took to the internet to learn more about these plants. And I hit a bit of a wall. The names are kind of an alphabet soup with numbers attached. Take Dipladenia Flordenia™ White Halo | 51176. I eventually found reference to this as a Mandevilla hybrid...ah. Okay, yay, I know what a Mandevilla is. There are so many words in each name, most of which mean nothing to me (Bloomtastic, DuraBloom®, Intrinsa®, Big EEZE Pink Batik) it's hard to know which ones are referring to the actual plant and which ones are company-specific lingo.

This is the first time I've ever agreed to receive a shipment of trial plants like this. Why? Well because I'm picky. I don't like most garden center flowering annuals meant to go into a mixed container plantings for the summer. I didn't want to receive a box of plants that I didn't like and then feel like I was honor-bound to write about and grow them. So what made me say yes this time? Honestly it was only because someone I know, and have met in-person (and grows the only lavender that I have in my garden), recommended me. 

So were there any plants in the shipment that I'm excited about? Yes actually. Out of the 12 different kinds they sent there are 3 that I'm definitely going to keep and grow in my garden, that's not a bad showing really, a 25% success rate! One of the winners is this Begonia I’Conia® Portofino Dark Orange | 50882. I love the foliage...

And that bright orange flower will be a fun pop of color in the back garden.

Sadly the only plant that was trashed in shopping was the second begonia (remember they sent 2 of each). Hopefully it will bounce back.

I'm also keeping the mandevilla hybrids, I've always wanted to grow a mandevilla so this will be my opportunity to experiment.

I wish I'd got the red velvet (visible at the bottom, below) instead of the white halo but heck, you get what you pay for right?

I am most excited about this one, the  Cuphea Lavender | 71901. Those little leaves on the dark stems and tiny purple flowers... I love it, although again I wish I knew more. From the wiki: "Cuphea is a genus containing about 260 species of annual and perennial flowering plants native to warm temperate to tropical regions of the Americas. The species range from low-growing herbaceous plants to semi-woody shrubs up to 2 m tall.

The information Dümmen Orange has available tells me nothing about how hardy this plant is. Is it a true annual? Might it live over in my zone? I am perplexed by how hard it is to learn more about these plants. I appreciate the chance to grow them, but I want to really know what it is that I'm growing.

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All material © 2009-2024 by Loree L Bohl. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.


  1. When I saw Dümmen Orange, I thought it's a selection of citrus fruits :-)

    Great plants. Like you, I'd be most excited about Cuphea 'Lavender'. I recently removed one because it was getting too large (4 ft. x 6 ft.) and now I'm looking for a dwarfier alternative.

    1. Yes when I first go the email that's exactly what I thought! (citrus)

  2. AnonymousMay 29, 2024

    Those are some pretty annuals. I used to shun all annuals due to budgeting and the fact that there’s so many perennials that I’d covet, but there’s some coleus’s and begonias that can spice things up. The names you listed crack me up. You could spend a day revving up your creative marketing verbiage by making up more!
    Jim Steinman N. Tabor

    1. There is definitely a place for annuals in the summer garden (I'm growing zinnia again this year), or even non-annuals treated as such (I'm looking at you Echium wildpretii!).

    2. AnonymousMay 30, 2024

      And fastuosum, and pininana!!

  3. Yay, so glad you accepted their generous offer. I declined because I just don't have a regimen for all those annuals. The mandevilla will probably do well in the basement this winter. I think cupheas overwintered in the Wonder Garden this year, FWIW...

    1. If I didn't have great connections for rehoming plants I probably wouldn't have accepted, another "condition" that I should have mentioned in the post.

  4. Interesting that you got 2 of each. I got one of the Coleus Dallas and then I got one you didn't get- Euphorbia Star Dust. My Begonias got broken in transit as well. Trying to root the big stem that broke off. Will be posting soon about my box of goodies.

    1. So I take it you didn't get two of each? Interesting. I look forward to reading what you write about them.

  5. I was going to say that you're in for a colorful summer! Some, like the coleus, are useful to provide spots of temporary color in pots so maybe you can use more than you think. Of course, many, if not most, of those plants would be short-lived perennials here. I grew Dipladenia last year and still have a white one - in contrast to Mandevilla, they tend to trail rather than climb. Cuphea hyssopifolia (if that's what the lavender variety is) is a common groundcover here, although the local garden centers seem to be pushing flashier species like 'Honeybells' and "Vermillionaire' now. Scaevola with its quirky flowers is amazingly vigorous here - I just found a white variety growing in between my flagstones and it could only have gotten there by self-seeding.

    1. Cuphea hyssopifolia looks like a possibility, I will have to do more research. Thank you!

  6. AnonymousMay 29, 2024

    What happened to the rest of them? Shared with others?
    I enjoy playing with annuals, it's a way to try new things or color combinations without having to commit long term and useful for filling in empty spots after winter kills. I can do totally different things every year, yay! I don't do nearly as much with them as I used to, though. Wintering over my succulents in my greenhouse has replaced a lot of temporary plants. Now I need to edit my succulents...

    1. Oh yes, I have a Little Free Greenhouse in the hellstrip and have already attended one plant swap with another in June, every plant will get a good home.

    2. AnonymousMay 30, 2024😍💚 lucky neighbors!

  7. I wondered what happened to the others also?

    1. I am in the process of rehoming them all. Lots of happy gardeners in my sphere!

  8. This is fun, the begonia especially. Nothing better than getting a "live plants" box on your door step!

  9. I agree, I think that begonia is the best of the bunch. Will go well with the pavillion and bromeliads, methinks. They went through a lot of effort to register and trademark these. I wonder what makes them so incredibly awesome. IMHO, they don't look that much different than all the other bedding plants available nowdays. I bet it is a tight market and they are doing all they can to try and stand out from the rest.


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