So Many Plants, So Little Time

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Gardeners are anxious to choose vigorous outstanding plants for the landscape but there are so many to choose from.  As we yearn for something new or different to grow perhaps we should consider the newer varieties of some of the old dependable choices.

Gomphrena (Gomphrena globosa) also known as Globe Amaranth produces small colorful round flower heads that are an excellent choice for dry, sunny locations.  Continues to flower all summer and attracts butterflies.

Lantana (Lantana camara) is a great choice in hot, droughty locations. Tiny flowers are produced in tight clusters nearly continuously in warm weather.  Lantana is also appealing to butterflies.

Melampodium (Melampodium paludosum) produces a mass of mini golden yellow flowers with little to no deadheading. The tough plants thrive in full sun and are trouble free.

Pennisetum  purpureum ‘Princess’ is not your usual flowering summer annual but instead is a tall growing warm season grass with purple foliage. The color grows brighter as the temperatures climb.

Portulaca or moss rose (Portulaca grandiflora) is a fleshy plant known for brilliant flowers in a variety of colors.  Flowers open fully in bright light and close by mid-afternoon in hot weather.  Portulaca thrives in high temperatures and intense sunlight and is not fussy about soil.

Fan flower (Scaevola aemula) is a delicate looking plant with fan shaped blue flowers and spoon shaped leaves. It is native to Australia and thrives in the heat and full sun. Often grown in containers, Fan flower also performs well as a bedding plant.

Cosmos (Cosmos bipinnatus and Cosmos sulphureus) species are quite varied with differences in flower colors, height and leaf shapes. Cosmos is easy to direct seed in the planting area and prefers a hot, dry location.  Choose your favorite size and color and sow in any well-drained soil to enjoy flowers all summer long.

Ornamental peppers (Capsicum annuum) produce colorful fruits from May until frost. They are a good choice for bedding plants in hot weather conditions. Fruits are available in a wide range of colors including red, purple, yellow, orange, or white. The fruit is edible although definitely on the hot side.

Petunia (Petunia x hybrid) species are a favorite.  The All American Selection bedding plant Award for 2015 included petunia ‘Trilogy Red F1’ which is a stunning red color. It grows about 1 foot high with a 2 foot spread and 2 and one half-inch flowers.

Madagascar Periwinkle (Catharanthus roseus) produces showy flowers atop glossy leaves from white to pink to burgundy.  The flower was formerly known botanically as Vinca rosea, and many people still call it vinca. It thrives in full sun or partial shade as long as the soil is well drained. The Cora series are resistant to the pathogen known to cause root rot.

A Salvia (Salvia coccinea ‘Summer Jewel’) Series has consistently won awards for outstanding garden performance. Grow in any well-drained soil receiving full sunshine to light shade, but best when the soil is fertile and the moisture is consistent.  It will tolerate heat, humidity and dry soil producing vigorous long lasting plants with pink, red, white or lavender flowers.

Zinnia (Zinnia x hybrid) Profusion is an extremely heat and drought resistant choice for the landscape. The series is disease resistant with both single and double flowers in many colors. The vigorous plants have a compact growth habit.

Enjoy making your choices for bedding plants this year and remember there will be even more to chose from for next year.

Written By

Photo of Peg GodwinPeg GodwinExtension Agent, Agriculture - Horticulture (252) 527-2191 peg_godwin@ncsu.eduLenoir County, North Carolina
Posted on Mar 23, 2016
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