I love planting seasonal color in my garden and in a myriad of pots on the deck and front porch.
while I always have my favorites: Dragonwing begonia,
Pentas,at planting in May
I try to trial new things every season. Sometimes I find new favorites, and other times, I don’t like what I tried. Here are the top favorites for this year, and 2 I won’t replant.
Estrellita Little Star
was a new plant for me this spring. I am a sucker for trying new plants and this one is a winner! This hybrid Bouvardia, is commonly called Firecracker Bush.
In the same family as gardenia, Bouvardia is a native “shrub” to Texas and the Southwest. It is supposedly hardy from zone 8-10, so I am on the cusp. Since the plant is in a container, that makes it even less winter hardy, but time will tell. Who knows, I may take some cuttings soon, and see if they will survive indoors.
I planted this plant in late April, and it hasn’t stopped blooming once—and I haven’t had to deadhead it. New flower buds appear constantly.
Rarely does it even wilt, when neighboring plants are droopy. The clusters of tubular flowers are a combination of pink, orange and red
and the hummingbirds love it.
The tag that came with it said it would grow upright 2 feet tall and 2 feet wide. Mine has been more sprawling and trailing, filling the container nicely.
It is supposedly deer resistant, but I don’t have deer on the deck, so I can’t guarantee that. Even if it is just a summer annual, it can’t be beat for non-stop color and enjoyment.
Cuphea Sweet Talk is a new series of cuphea (think Mexican Heather) with larger blooms.
I am trialing Sweet Talk Deep Pink and Sweet Talk Red, both of which have done very well.
They were over a foot tall
when heavy winds/storms came in and caused them to fall over.
They started growing back upwards, which gave a fuller container, and they haven’t stopped flowering. While I have seen hummingbirds on them, the hummingbirds like Honeybells cuphea
(another plant I adore, but not new), and the Estrellita Little Star better. If you want it to stay growing upright—up to 2 feet by 2 feet, then possibly consider staking it? No other problems, so this one is a good for next season as well.
I have killed many an ice plant in my yard over the years,
but I now have one that not only survives, but thrives.
Delosperma Ocean Sunset, Orange Glow is another winner. Low-growing, groundcover or trailing plant, this succulent has flowers that close at night
and shine all day. Another pink/orange combination, it has also been a non-stop bloomer in both a regular flower pot and a strawberry pot
all summer long. It is supposed to be hardy from zone 6-9, so time will tell. Again, mine are in pots, which will weaken their chances. Next year, I might try this in the ground. It thrives in full sun, with great drainage.
Veronica (also called Speedwell)
has never been high on my list of perennials, because they didn’t bloom that long for me, but you need to put them back on your list. There is a whole slew of new series of veronica’s out there
and I am loving Skyward Pink
(there is also a purple variety). I trialed 2. The one in the ground got eaten by rabbits, so it never bloomed, but it is alive. The one in the pot started blooming in early June
and hasn’t stopped since. The flowers open from the bottom up,
and are covered with pollinators. I deadhead periodically and have fertilized a few times, but it is a great plant. It should be winter hardy statewide, and even in a container I expect it to come back. Some other Veronica varieties I want to try include Wizard of Ahhs
and Blue Skywalker. Full sun is best, but they can take some afternoon shade.
Plants I won’t be growing next year:
Thunbergia – Clock vine.
Normally this plant shows off,
but so far, I had blooms in the spring and nothing the rest of the summer. I thought it would rebound with cooler temperatures, but so far, it is just green. It gets plenty of sunlight, water and nutrition, and it has grown well, but too boring for my tastes.
Coral Candy coleus
bloomed well, but flowered continually.
I grow coleus for the foliage, not the clusters of small purple blooms. Once they start blooming, they don’t put on much new foliage.
I constantly deadheaded to keep them growing. While the color of the foliage is good, there are too many better coleus out there that don’t start to flower until late in the season.
There are so many plants out there, that if it doesn't perform consistently, then try something else. What were your new favorites this year?