Friday, March 5, 2010

Great Flowers - Poor Sellers

Sometimes I am the only customer for some of the flowers I grow. There are a number of reasons for this. Many gardeners are not familiar with these plants and I don’t have photo tags for them. Seed catalogs push new varieties and they also carry the most popular, familiar varieties.

I always plan on advertising the underused flowers better with photos and information .... and I don’t find the time.

One of my favorites flowers is lavatera trimestris or "rose mallow". It is related to hibiscus and hollyhock and can bloom up to five feet, but the common ‘silver cup’ is typically about 3 - 4 feet. Lavateras do best in areas with cool summers, so here in central/northern Vermont they usually do well.


The most common cultivar is a pale pink. I like 'tanagra' as well, which is rosier, and there is a shorter white version.

'Tanagra' LAVATERA

'Twins White' LAVATERA

Not only is this a showy bloomer most of the summer, it’s also great in bouquets. At farmers’ markets, my bouquets with lavatera sell first.

Summer visitors are always surprised by my tithonia. It’s a bright orange flower and a real stand-out. I have seen it listed as a good cut flower, but I find it better for display, as the stem is hollow and it hasn’t held up well for me in bouquets.


'Twinkle' phlox is an adorable short (8”) grower, good for sunny borders front of borders. It comes in a mix of bright colors.

Twinkle Phlox

I also like tri-colored amaranthus. It's a head turner and is actually an edible herb, although I haven't tried it in that capacity.

AMARANTHUS tri-colored

Verbena bonariensis is a perennial south of us, but here it is a well-loved annual. It blooms from mid-summer until frost and butterflies love it. It is tall (4 - 5 feet), but needs no staking. Its lavender ball-like blooms are somewhat similar to allium, but there are tons of them on slim branches, giving it an airy, swaying appearance. It is one of those delicate looking plants that's actually tough. I have a few customers who buy these by the tray for landscaping, but very rarely do I sell a single six pack.

Verbenea Bonariensis

All of these plants do best in full sun here.


Kate said...

I am one of those ladies who frequently wants to try a new plant but has no idea what it will look like without the advertising. Love these photos - especially the Verbenea Bonariensis!

Amandainvermont said...

Kate - thanks for your comment. It's hard for customers to visualize the end product when the plants are "green."

Green Industry Web Site Design said...

These all flowers but
'Torch' TITHONIA is superb very fantastic.

Dirty Girl Gardening said...

lavatara is a fabulous plant... so easy to grow.