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    Tuesday, April 16, 2024

    New annuals, perennials add something special to the garden

    It’s a special kind of joy that only a gardener could understand. I always get an extra spring in my step when nurseries begin stocking the year’s new plant introductions.

    2024 brings new annuals and perennials that will make any plant lover bloom from ear to ear. These are some of the standouts.

    Superbissima Wine Red from Cerny Seed is not your grandmother’s petunia (unless, of course, your grandmother plants it). The eye-catching, prolific bloomer’s stunning rose-purple flowers measure up to 6 inches wide with visible veins at their centers and unusual frilly edges. They work equally well in containers and the garden, in full sun to light shade. Hardy in zones 10-11; annual elsewhere.

    Breeding of the shade-loving coleus has resulted in new varieties that thrive in both sun and shade, even in Southern gardens. Ball Seed’s Talavera series comes in unique colors, too, including Pink Tricolor, which sports dramatic deep maroon foliage with toothed yellow margins and hot pink center patterns. The bushy plants are slow to bolt, or flower, which is typically the kiss of death for coleus. Hardy in zones 10-11; annual elsewhere.

    I test-grew Lipstick Pink, the newest addition to PanAmerican Seeds’ Beacon line of impatiens, as an edging plant in one of my backyard beds last summer. And instead of merely lending a bit of color as I had expected, they completely stole the show. The dense, downy-mildew-resistant plants grew nearly 2 feet tall and about as wide and bloomed nonstop from spring through mid-fall in the partly sunny bed (they can also handle shade). Hardy in zones 10-11; annual elsewhere.

    Ocean Sunset Orange Glow’s orange flowers with yellow centers and hot pink edges are about as cheerful as a flower can get. With the largest blooms of any of the ice plants — and a high flower count per plant — the succulent from Darwin Perennials thrives in full sun and well-drained sandy soil. Perennial; hardy in zones 5-9.

    Daylilies are so named because each flower blooms for just a single day. So, what do you call a daylily that blooms for five days? Monrovia calls it the “See You Tomorrow!” Daylily. The yellow blossoms, tinged with green, form clusters on compact plants that grow 20-24 inches tall and wide. Plant in full sun. Hardy in zones 4-11.

    How about a tasty edible rose? Proven Winners’ Flavorette Honey-Apricot shrub rose was bred not only for superior disease resistance, but for flavor, too. The upright plants, which grow to 60-96 inches tall and 36-48 inches wide in full sun, rebloom all season long without deadheading. And their yellow-apricot blossoms lend a sweet and fruity taste to salads and desserts. Hardy in zones 4-8.

    And from Star Roses and Plants, the family of Knockout Roses keeps on growing. Easy Bee-zy, a rounded, bushy plant that grows to 3-4 feet tall and 3 feet wide, rewards with single yellow flowers that attract butterflies and bees with a light, citrus fragrance. Orange Glow, a bushy, upright shrub, is slightly larger at 4 ½ feet tall and 3 feet wide. Its double orange flowers are tinged yellow and pink. Plant both in full sun for abundant, continuous blooms. Hardy in zones 4-11.

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