Superior Plants Thrive in Heat & Humidity
Athens Select™ is a collection of heat- and humidity tolerant plants selected by Dr. Allan Armitage after being tested in his trial gardens at the University of Georgia. In addition to heat tolerance, plants are selected for their uniqueness, and they are virus-indexed to ensure superior plant quality and health. In order to support the University of Georgia and Allan Armitage’s quest to introduce outstanding plant varieties to the industry, the program was designed so that a portion of the proceeds from each plant sold goes to the university to help fund continued plant research.
Founded in 1998, the Athens Select Marketing Association now consists of nine licensed propagators who all share the commitment for bringing superior plant material to the industry. Governed by a slate of officers and a board of directors (all are representatives of the licensed propagators), the group decides collectively which new varieties to introduce and how to market them. In 2004, the group started to actively reach out to garden writers and the general gardening media in order to promote the program to the gardening public, and the response was amazing, proving that America’s gardeners want plants that can easily withstand heat and humidity.
Athens Select™ plants are selected for superior performance in landscape applications and in mixed containers. They weren’t meant to necessarily make cookie-cutter-four-inch-pots, and growers might find some of them to be more suitable in five-inch pots and combos. And while Athens Select™ plants don’t require heat to perform, they do thrive in warm temperatures, so it’s best for growers to start them after the regular vegetative annual crops. Waiting until February, March or later to start will result in much faster finish times than a January start would. They’re also great season extenders for sales into summer, especially with today’s popularity of the “tropical look.”