Dirt on Gardening

Get those garden spades ready! There are all kinds of new plants out there for your gardens, yards, pots and trellises. I’m going to highlight a few that I find particularly interesting.

Starting in the annual flower department, one of my favorites year after year is the petunia. Petunia “Night Sky” is a speckled petunia – violet with white “spots.” It’s the flower version of my Dalmatian’s spots, and it’s really distinctive. This plant will spread to three feet, and if the nights are hot, the spots may disappear.

This year “strawberry blonde” marigolds are a thing. These are not bright orange, bright yellow and red. These marigolds are a beautiful pink mixed with yellow and red. These marigolds mound into 10-inch clumps. The pink colors of these marigolds are more pronounced in cooler climates.

Are you a tropical plant lover? Colocasia “Fierce Gigante” has the traditional large leaves on long stems typically found on taro plants. However, this particular plant has greyish green leaves that are particularly striking against purple stems. This plant also has large, white blossoms, also on purple stocks.

If red annuals are your thing, Zinnia “Profusion Red” has received an All America Selection award for its “never fading red.” This red zinnia grows in 14-inch mounds, and it attracts pollinators and resists disease well.

Speaking of All America Selection award winners, Penstemon barbatus “Twizzle Purple” is a deep purple perennial that received regional recognition for how well it grows in the Midwest. The plant reaches three feet in height and blooms continuously from mid to late summer. This plant is hardy to Zone 4.

“Gold Nugget” is a new “hens and chicks” Semipervivum. The five-inch rosettes of this plant are gold with red edges in the winter, green rosettes in the summer and red rosettes in the fall. It’s recommended that the gardener plant “Gold Nugget” with purple cultivars for a nice contrast. This plant is hardy to Zone 3.

Coral bells have some of the most diverse and colorful foliage available for the perennial garden. Heuchera Primo “Black Pearl” is billed as the darkest foliage yet for a coral bell. Hardy to Zone 4, Black Pearl is about 20 inches tall and 30 inches wide. In trials, this plant also received high marks for heat tolerance.

In the ornamental grass department, “Blackhawks” is big bluestem with striking maroon leaves. This grass is hardy to Zone 4, and it will grow two feet wide and six feet tall. This grass is also tolerant of moist and dry sites.

Questions or comments related to gardening? Contact Joleen at missourigardener@hotmail.com

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