Annuals - Some for shade, some for height and some that smell so good
Here are a few ideas for some specific needs. Everyone is always looking for annuals for shade and for height. And don't forget to plant something that smells good close to your seating area or close to your door.
With the advent of downy mildew becoming an issue for bedding impatiens, what was once THE staple plant for annual color in shade gardens has become undependable. If you plant impatiens they might do great, but then again there is the potential for issues from the disease. We are working hard to add shade alternates to our mix. This year we have added Surefire® Red (photo at left) and Surefire® Rose Begonias and Catalina® Grape-O-Licious Torenia to our line-up. All three plants are heat tolerant, add all summer color to the garden, need no deadheading, work in both containers and landscapes, and will thrive in sun as well as shade.
If hearing Begonia makes you think of small, wimpy, little plants, Surefire® will change that perception. These plants are large - one to two feet tall, while spreading up to two feet. They have large flowers and will fill in a landscape bed in no-time. Their glossy, deep green foliage is the perfect foil for the gorgeous flowers.
Catalina® Grape-O-Licious is has pure white flowers with a deep purple throat. The green foliage and mounding habit is great in combinations as well as mono-crop plantings. A great new shade plant.
We are perhaps best known for our trailing and mounding plants, but this year we are introducing two great plants to add height to beds and containers. First up is Angelface® Wedgwood Blue Angelonia which is an improvement over an earlier version. It now features larger and more plentiful blooms, great branching and is wonderful in both landscapes and containers. It tops out around two feet tall and is a great Thriller component in combination plantings. It will do best in full sun - more than six hours of direct sun a day.
If you are looking to light up your garden, the pink, green and white variegated foliage of Graceful Grasses® 'Fireworks' Pennisetum (Purple Fountain Grass) is the way to go. A versatile annual grass that thrives in full sun, containers and garden beds, it is a no-brainer for adding color to combinations - even before the pink-toned flower plumes appear.
Smells So Good
White Knight®is the latest in our collection of heat tolerant alyssum (Lobularia). If you think you know alyssum, but have yet to try one of our new ones, you are in for a treat. We aren't kidding when we say they are heat tolerant, they will be covered in masses of white blooms throughout the summer - evn in Miami, Florida. I grew this one in my Missouri garden last year and it bloomed like a champ, in full sun, all summer. White Knight®, while having about half the spread of our original introduction, Snow Princess®, does still grow quite well and to perform his best needs to be kept moist, although he will bounce back from getting too dry. The plant performs wonderfully in landscapes and containers and smells heavenly!
Superbells® Calibrachoa, Superbena® Verbena and Supertunia® Petunias are our three flagship series of plants. They really are super plants. All of them are heat tolerant, are at least somewhat tolerant of dry soils, bloom all summer without deadheading, love sunny spots and come in large arrays of colors.
Superbells® do best when they have excellent drainage. For most home gardeners this means containers, I know it does for me. We have two new ones this year. First up is Superbells® Spicy which features flowers in an ever changing array of oranges and yellows.
For pure, velvety-red decadence it will be hard to beat Superbells® Pomegranate Punch. The color is as yummy to look at, as its namesake fruit is to eat. Deep red petal edges are set off by velvet-black centers, with just a hint of yellow deep in the throat of the flower. They certainly pack a punch (I'm sorry, I couldn't help myself)!
Superbena® Royale Plum Wine is a rich purply-red color with deep green foliage. It is versatile and looks wonderful in combination with many other colors. I especially love it when paired with a strong pink.
Superbena® Violet Ice has very large violet blooms with a large white eye. It is a stunner of a plant.
Supertunia® White is an improved version of our earlier white. While I doubt you ever really think about petal substance (don't worry, we do so you don't have to!) it is the main contributing factor in how well a petunia flower will hold up under rainy conditions. I'm not sure how to describe the flowers on this plant, they're just substantial. The closest I can come is that it's like picking up a really expensive piece of stationary - it just feels different than regular paper.
I mentioned before that Calibrachoa are best grown in containers, well petunias have no such restriction - they are great in containers and landscapes. If you want the small flowered feel of Calibrachoa for your landscape, Supertunia® Orchid Charm, or any of the other Charms, is a perfect choice. The flowers are slightly larger than a large Calibrachoa flower, but the plants are vigorous, densely branched and are excellent landscape performers.
Catalina® Grape-O-Licious Torenia USPPAF, Can PBRAF; Angelface® Wedgwood Blue Angelonia USPPAF, Can PBRAF; Graceful Grasses® 'Fireworks' Pennisetum setaceum 'Rubrum' PP: 18504; White Knight™ Lobularia hybrid 'Inlbuwikni' PPAF Can. PBRAF; Snow Princess® Lobularia hybrid 'Inlbusnopr' PP: 21594 Can. PP: 4189; Superbells® Spicy Calibrachoa hybrid 'USCAL09301' PPAF Can. PBRAF; Superbells® Pomegranate Punch Calibrachoa hybrid 'USCAL08501' PPAF Can. PBRAF; Superbena® Royale Plum Wine Verbena hybrid 'RIKAV14704' PPAF Can. PBRAF; Superbena® Royale Whitecap Verbena hybrid 'RIKAV17805' PPAF Can. PBRAF; Superbena® Violet Ice Verbena hybrid 'RIKAV18302' PPAF Can. PBRAF; Supertunia® White Petunia hybrid 'KL 1117' PPAF Can. PBRAF; Supertunia® Orchid Charm Petunia hybrid 'USTUN51501' PPAF Can. PBRAF; Sundaze® Blaze Bracteantha (Xerochrysum) hybrid 'Flobrabla' PPAF Can. PBRAF; Boldly™ Dark Red Pelargonium 'Amri Trared' PP: 20245 Can. PP: 3728; Boldly™ Hot Pink Pelargonium 'PEQZ0001' PPAF Can. PBRAF ; Boldly™ Lavender Rose Pelargonium 'PEQZ0002' PPAF Can. PBRAF.