by Chris Manning and Patrick Williams 
Photos courtesy of respective trial gardens 

Raker-Roberta’s Young Plants trial area
Photos courtesy of Raker-Roberta’s

What qualities define a well-performing plant? Fortunately for the horticulture industry and end consumers, growers, breeders, universities and botanical gardens employ trial garden managers who monitor the progress of numerous varieties in their gardens, and welcome visitors to observe plants’ performance for themselves. Some of the attributes they look for include drought tolerance, heat tolerance, pollinator friendliness and overall performance.

Managers from institutions in multiple regions of the United States select their best-performing plants each year based on various criteria observed throughout the season. Patrick Williams and Chris Manning of sister publication Greenhouse Management have compiled the results and commentary from trials managers on dozens of plants and organized these results by region.