Trending 2019 Annuals
Let’s not overlook the fact that your garden is a fashion statement, just like the clothes on your back. In that context is it any less fun to anticipate what’s new on the garden runway? After all, annuals allow you the flexibility to change your garden wardrobe every year! Here’s a tease about some of the annuals we’re excited about for 2019:
Well, our old favorite, impatiens, are making a comeback. If you haven’t experienced the heartbreak of the devastating disease Impatiens Downy Mildew (see “Impatiens Breeds Impatiens” for backstory) you may not be as excited as gardeners that have gone without for the last seven years. There are two competing lines premiering this year. We’ll be carrying the “Imara” series which gives you the same green-leafed, mounding plants with lots and lots of flowers (like the olden days) but with “high disease resistance”. This year’s available colors will be: white, red, violet and orange. For those of you that like your already resistant Sunpatiens and New Guineas, do you need to change?
From the moment I saw these debuted at a show a year ago I thought they were wonderful. Not to be confused with the red “firecracker’ type salvias the “Skyscrapers” have flowers which are a bit more slender, giving the plant a looser, more delicate form. Dark purple, pink and orange are your color choices on a 20” tall plant, 10-15” wide. Plants are very heavily branched with dark green foliage, equally versatile in beds or containers. BTW, hummers, bees and butterflies, actually all the pollinators, find them irresistible.
Senecio ‘Angel Wings’
I don’t really know any plant that looks so completely otherworldly. ‘Angel Wings’ really does have a leaf that is white, with maybe a touch of silver. The leaves are like paddles with just the slightest hint of scalloped edges. Growing only 10-12” tall and wide, this is a plant for partial shade to full sun. I’ve read that it’s considered a succulent, but it’s so unlike most arid succulents I hesitate to even use the term. If it’s truly succulent it should be allowed to dry between watering… But I have read that it needs even moisture until it’s established. This foliage color works with anything, but has high visual attraction so use it with restraint to keep it special and unique! I also read that it can be brought in and used as a houseplant. Who else will tell you these things?
Begonia ‘Canary Wings Red’
This begonia is for those people desirous of color that will illuminate shaded areas. The large, lettuce-fresh leaves start yellow and age bright chartreuse- even in shade. That’s a little unusual given that most strong foliage color is dependent upon sunlight, but not this beauty. Partial or full shade is just fine! Plants are roundy-moundy up to 18” tall and equally wide. Oh yes, mustn’t forget the season-long bright scarlet-red flowers. Great for containers and baskets.
Verbena ‘Little One’
This is a much needed dwarf version of Verbena bonariensis, for which I’m sorry, I have no common name. This is one of those plants that plays well with annuals, perennials, in containers or in beds. The individual flowers are velvety pink-purple, but on a slender plant that doesn’t cast a big footprint. It quietly bobs and weaves its way through its neighbors, the flowers popping up here and there, floating like butterflies above its companions. The parent plant can be 3’ and taller, ‘Little One’ is a more circumspect 18-24”. Pollinators love it, too. This is the dwarf version we’ve been wanting.
I saved this until last since I personally think Vinca is a very underused plant. Now we have this really beautiful and unique new series. If you: have a blazing hot, sunny site, don’t like to water or deadhead, want a plant with clean foliage and interesting flower colors, you should be considering Vinca. And now with the ‘Tattoo’ series the choices got even richer. Look at the overlapping petals, the fully round flowers and the inky dark centers. For those that want a low maintenance, always-in-bloom star performer, look no further. Do know that Vinca mustn’t be planted until late spring when soil and night temps are consistently warm. Vinca will sulk if you try and rush planting it in cold, wet spring soil.
Trends may come and go, but I predict new these beauties will wear well with time.
Chief Horticulture Officer