Wow! What a week and what a spring so far! Our April showers have certainly led to May flowers here at the nursery and there couldn’t be more options for color in your garden. We’ve had delivery after delivery of picturesque plants arrive each day this week and they’re ready to get your garden going for the summer. Inundated with too many flowers to mention, I’ve tried to limit myself to a few of my favorites.
Leading off, for those of you who are petunia lovers and just can’t stand to say good-bye as the temperatures start rising, the Supertunias are for you! Bred to handle our heat and humidity better than most varieties, Supertunias make for a jaw-dropping display in containers or in your garden. I’ve even had some customers tell me with a little bit of pruning and fertilizing during the depths of summer, theirs have bridged the usual gap between spring and fall. I personally recommend the original Pink Bubble Gum, but they come in a variety of colors!
Another transitional duty that arises this time of year is replacing our pansies and violas that might be showing some wear after a nice long winter showing. An excellent choice for the summer would be Zinnias. With a wide variety of color options, you’re certain to find the right choice for your garden. Plant them in partial shade to full sun and be sure to keep them watered until they are well established. Deadhead when you’re feeling ambitious or if you’ve got company coming in town and want to keep the blooms coming. Also, a good dose of fertilizer once a month will keep your Zinnias looking their best all summer! Use some Flower-Tone around each plant or if a slow-release fertilizer is your thing then I’d recommend Osmocote.
Next, for the gardener with butterflies and bees on the brain (or bee-brained, which is a good thing around these parts) here are few great options: Mexican Bush Sage (Salvia leucantha) has long stalks of purple and white blooms and are perfect for hummingbirds and bees alike. They shrug off the heat of the summer and bloom until a frost. Denver Daisy Rudbeckia (Rudbeckia hirta). Although we treat this variety of Black-eyed Susan as more of an annual in Tallahassee, its impact can’t be matched. Watch the butterflies feed on its large brown and yellow flower heads all summer long! Another staple among butterfly gardeners are pentas and coneflowers. Pentas, with its vibrant red blooms, also makes for a great humming bird attractor! Coneflowers are a great wild flower and can be used in any sunny garden to give it color and interest all summer long. The bees and butterflies will certainly thank you and the neighbors will lust with jealousy as its pink flowers brighten your landscape.
I’ll finish up where I think most gardeners like to end their day - in the shade. There are plenty of blooming options for people with a shady garden. Here are a couple of maybe-not-as-well-known options: Torenia (or Clownflower) – this delicate-looking plant comes in a variety of colors and holds up well all season long. If you’re looking for something that could trail in a shady container, look for the Summer Wave or Catalina Series. Or if a more mounding habit would better suit your space go for the Kuaui Series. Minimal maintenance and long-lasting color makes this a great choice! And lastly, Browallia. Whether you’re looking to try to replace impatiens or just trying something new, Browallia is for you. Its violet colored blooms shine in a shady garden. It grows to about 14-16” tall and wide. Planted in a mass or by itself, Browallia is a lovely addition to a container or a garden.
Happy planting and see you next time!