New caladium, gerbera and lisianthus cultivars for Florida

Zhanao Deng, Brent K. Harbaugh


The ornamental plant breeding program at the Gulf Coast Research and Education Center has focused on developing new cultivars with improved disease resistance or stress tolerance that can perform well in Florida's climate. This effort resulted in the release of three new caladium (Caladium hortulanum Birdsey), four gerbera [Gerbera hybrida (Gerbera jamesonii Bolus ex Adlam Gerbera viridifolia SchultzBip)], and thirteen lisianthus [Eustoma grandiflorum (Raf.) Shinn.] cultivars in 2005. 'Garden White' and 'Firecracker Red' caladiums are very vigorous and can tolerate full sun conditions. 'Summer Rose' caladium produces more tubers than 'Rosebud', a commercial cultivar with a similar color pattern. The gerbera cultivars perform well in the landscape with a continuous production of flowers for many months. In addition, two of them have excellent powdery mildew resistance. The UF Savanna series of lisianthus cultivars has eight colors, is heattolerant, and intermediate in height compared to the Maurine and Florida Series. 'UF Savanna Blue Frost' and 'UF Savanna Pink Frost' are the first pot type lisianthus with these vivid bicolored flowers. The UF Double Joy series has five colors and double flowers (10 or more petals compared to five petals in single flowers). These are the first double-flowering and heattolerant varieties suitable for production as flowering potted plants.


Caladium hortulanum; Gerbera hybrida; Eustoma grandi?orum; caladium breeding; powdery mildew resistance; heat tolerance

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Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc.     ISSN 0886-7283