School’s out, the cicadas are singing and the fireflies are dancing. It must be June in Tallahassee. With our seasonal heat and humidity on the rise it’s easy to feel bogged down the second you step outside but don’t lock up in the A.C. yet. I’m here to offer some cool highlights of a few new arrivals that might just ignite some inspiration and add some sparks to your garden or container for the summer. Because before you know it, football will be on TV and colorful fall mums will be on our porches. So grab a quick lemonade and let’s get started!
Gomphrena Fireworks – Gomphrena globosa
This annual has pink-purple blooms along tall slender stalks and looks like it was taken right from the pages of Dr. Seuss. By the end of the summer you’ll have masses of graceful blooms waving in the wind and with almost certainty, a few butterflies wandering through it. It reaches about 3 feet in height and can make a stand about 3-4 feet wide. Water it well for the first month depending on how much rain we get but once established, stand back and admire the beauty!
Gold Dust Mecardonia – Mecardonia hybrid
If you need a hardy spiller in a sunny container or hanging basket look no further than Gold Dust Mecardonia. It has excellent heat tolerance and an abundance of small yellow flowers. The foliage has a soft delicate appearance and flows freely over the side of any container or basket. This is another plant that once established can take periods of drought. It’s a cheery little plant that is sure to brighten up your garden!
Sunny Side Up Lantana – Lantana hybrid
From a cross of Lantana camara and L. montevidensis developed by University of Georgia’s own Michael Dirr, comes Sunny Side Up. This lantana, like New Gold, stays low around 16” and has a mounding growth habit. Its blooms initially start out a soft yellow and then mature to a crisp white. It thrives in full sun and requires little maintenance. Your butterflies and hummingbirds will find this to be an egg-cellent choice!
Variegated Abutilon – Abutilon hybridum variegata
Here’s another twist on an old favorite. Abutilon or Chinese Lantern Plant or Parlor Maple or Flowering Maple has a slew of different names but whatever you want to call it, there’s still plenty to appreciate. It reaches around 5-6’ in height (or taller if protected from cold) and width. Not actually a Maple it’s more closely related to a Hibiscus. This Abutilon has great color in its foliage and would be pretty enough on it’s own but it also has its distinctive bell-like flower that hangs down like a lantern. This variety blooms in a orangey salmon color. Abutilon is a great choice for hummingbirds and a great conversation piece. Plant in full to part sun
Cherry Brandy Hibiscus – Hibiscus moschuetos
So lets finish things up with a nice Cherry Brandy. This is a perennial hibiscus variety that is quite hardy for our area and just pumps out large cherry red blooms all summer. The foliage is green with hints of bronze and purple and acts a great backdrop to the vibrant red blooms. This variety only reaches 3-4’ in height and 2-3’ wide which makes a great choice for a large container. This is the first of many different varieties of perennial hibiscus that will make their way through the Nursery so stay tuned! You can plant these in full to part sun and keep them well watered. Prune them back in late winter and get ready for a show come next summer!
May your blooms be plenty and your pests be few