A revolutionary British-bred Calendula, ‘PowerDaisy Sunny’, marked for its very long flowering period and toughness, enters the market in Spring 2017 on the back of a high award from Judges at this year’s Royal Horticultural Society’s Chelsea Flower Show.
The new hybrid is ideally suited to use in patio tubs, hanging baskets and balcony boxes as well as flower borders where its bright yellow double flowers shine out. Carefree, it responds to a little TLC with an even more bountiful display.
Placed third in the RHS “New Plant of the Year” category this year (2016), the PowerDaisy was the only patio plant to reach the top rankings. There were 44 entries for the competition. The judges approved its ability to produce a continuous profusion of brightly coloured blooms from March to November outdoors in the British climate; its low rounded plant shape; and its resistance to disease and tough weather conditions. Val Bourne, in a judge’s eye-view of the Plant of the Year competition concluded : “If innovation truly counts, the first long-flowering, sterile Calendula, ‘PowerDaisy Sunny’, is a real breakthrough”.
PowerDaisy Sunny (‘Kercalsun’) is an all-new plant derived from crosses between three species. It was bred by Tim Kerley at his family’s Cambridgeshire flower breeding company. He started the project 11 years ago while he was still a student at Reading University. His aim was to bring the toughness of wild perennial Calendulas to the bright colour of annual Calendula officinalis. The resulting hybrid produces an abundance of brightly coloured, double yellow daisies, amidst a wealth of dark green foliage and has a strong free-branching spreading habit.
It is exceptionally hardy, being frost resistant to about -10 degrees as a young plant, tolerant of heat, rain and drought. But perhaps its biggest trump cards are its strong tolerance to disease, especially mildew, and – the avid gardener’s dream – it will not scatter lots of unwanted seedlings, being virtually sterile.
Plantsman, Graham Rice, said from his experience: “A new take on an old favourite. I’ve grown this myself and I was very impressed.”
Breeder Tim summarises: “Sunny will give gardeners nine months of colour, come rain or shine, in many situations with the bare minimum of care.”