Helianthus Salicifolius ‘First Light’

Trial: Perennial

Years Trialed: 2003, 2004

Good Qualities:

Year 1:

This plant is flourishing; This is blooming at a great time: Sept/Oct, the color is brilliant, I hope the plants that lived will spread; Plants were in good shape on arrival, late summer bloomer, pretty good vase life; Small sunflower type flowers with very good vase life, a very usable size in bouquets, many side branches and a continuous bloom once it starts, most side branches over 24 inches and very useable, better vase life than other perennial sunflowers we have tried.

Year 2:

Very productive flowering (2); Good stem quality and flower size; Tall; Very nice color.

Problems:

Year 1:

Post harvest questionable; Will need to be staked to prevent wind and rain damage once picking starts.

Year 2:

A lot of my helianthus (different cultivars) had trouble getting through last winter, don’t know why, I think this one will do better if our winter is different; Too bushy.

Comments:

Year 1:

Similar to other perennial sunflowers; As of 9/25/03, no color, only spikes no flower – bloomed 10/04/03; Believed plant died during winter shipping, we are Zone 5 while plants are Zone 6 minimum, never put out shoots from the dormant roots; Did not seem to special/different than other Helianthus; It looks similar to a wild variety we have only this one is better; These plants disappeared in very wet spring; Could be great if it is hardy, and slightly more stems next season. (See article in this issue for postharvest testing of this cultivar.)

Year 2:

Florist said that it did not hold up; , respectively trialers reported on the vase life: 7 and 8 days.

Trial Data

Year 1

Helianthus salicifolius ‘First Light’
Plants flowering (%) Plants dead at end of summer (%) Yield (stems/plant) Stem Length (inches) Market Appreciation Rating – Wholesale (1) Market Appreciation Rating – Retail (1) Market Appreciation Rating – Consumer (1) Repeat Again Rating (1) Ease of Cultivation Rating (1)
Average 58 30 8.8 28.4 4.0 5.0 4.5 4.3 4.4
Range of Responses 0-100 0-100 5-20 14-36 3-5 5 4-5 3-5 3-5

(1) 1 to 5 scale, with 5 being the best. Market ratings are based on sales to wholesalers, retailers, or final consumers direct.

Year 2

Helianthus salicifolius ‘First Light’
Yield (stems/plant) Stem Length (inches) Market Appreciation Rating – Wholesale (1) Market Appreciation Rating – Retail (1) Market Appreciation Rating – Consumer (1) Repeat Again Rating (2) Ease of Cultivation Rating (2) Average Spacing (in2)
Average 72 18.4 28.7 2.0 3.0 3.7 3.6 3.2
Range of Responses 20-100 2-40 10-24 2 2-4 3-4 2-4 1-4

(1) Data shown are from those respondents who harvested stems. Some respondents may not have harvested stems because they were too short. Flowering stems may be longer next year after plants are established. See comments section for more details.

(2) 1 to 5 scale, with 5 being the best. Market ratings are based on sales to wholesalers, retailers, or final consumers direct.

Supplier

Walters Gardens (WG)

P.O. Box 137

Zeeland, MI 49464

888-925-8377

FAX 800-752-1879

sales@waltersgardens.com

www.waltersgardens.com

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