Wednesday, March 30, 2016

New and Unusual Annual Flowers for 2016

When it comes time to order new plants for the next growing season, I am the proverbial kid in the candy store.  I want to try out everything that's new.  Unfortunately most of the recently developed cultivars are grown from cuttings and they are sold in flats of at least 50 starts.  So I am forced to experiment with a large number of plants.  I always hope my customers share my curiosity.                                           

Night Sky Petunia is one of the more unusual new plants I have to offer this year.  I’m not crazy     about this speckled look, but I don’t care for black petunias either and customers seem to love them. 

Photo Courtesy Fleuroselect

Xanthos means yellow in Greek and that’s what this new cosmos bipinnatus is all about. Xanthos Cosmos is dwarf, early flowering and uniform.    The soft yellow should be great for bouquets. Cosmos really need deadheading to keep the new flowers coming.


Bidens is kind of a sprawly plant which is ideal for mixed containers, but not so great as a stand-alone plant.  Until recently Bidens has been limited to solid yellow.  Bidens beedance red stripe is a new take on this cultivar.  Its star-shaped orange/red blossoms with yellow centers will spill down the edges of window boxes, large pots, and planters.  Bidens is long blooming and drought resistant,

photo courtesy Westhoff

The Estrella series of Verbena come from Germany.  The blooms are close to foliage unlike many other verbenas that tend to be leggy.   Estrella Voo Doo Star is good for baskets and is drought resistant.

Photo courtesy Westhoff

Crazytunia Cheesecake with it's red and white star appearance did well in my greenhouse last year, so I will give this Starlight Blue a try this season.  I will soon share MORE "new" annuals to be offered at Amanda's Greenhouse.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

New Annual Flowers for the 2016 Growing Season - Calibrachoa

It’s time to rev up my blog again.  I have been planting seeds and rooted cuttings have started to arrive.   One of the most popular of these cuttings is calibrachoa (spell check makes it very hard to write that word). This plant features loads of small bell-like flowers that resemble miniature petunias. The original species is native to South America, but all calibrachoas are now hybrids and there are hundreds to choose from.  

Last year I ran out of calibrachoas (often requested as “million bells” by customers) in the middle of May, so this year I will double production, as well as introduce some new varieties. 

The Callie series are nice for hanging baskets and I have used the Callie Light Blue (above) for two years in front of the Cabot Village Store.    This year I am adding Callie Dark Blue and Callie White

I have had good results with the Noa series of calibrachoas, so I will add from that line  Noa Sunset,  Noa Mega Pink and Noa Cherry Blossom. All three of these scored high in last year's trial gardens.



                                                              NOA CHERRY BLOSSOM
       Photos courtesy Danziger Flower Farm

I seem to have selected a lot of new very bright flowers when pondering the orders this winter.   Among them are Aloha Tiki Neon and Minifamous Cherry Red.



While Calibrachoa is closely related to petunias, in 1985 it was determined that this plant had 18 chromosomes, while petunia had 14.   In 1988 wild samples were collected from South America and, after breeding, the first 'Million Bells' was released in 1992.   Their trailing habit make them ideal for hanging baskets, containers or as a small area ground cover.  They are actually a tender perennial, so can also survive low temperatures.