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June 30, 2017

The South’s Best Flowers – Get Ready to Garden!

Looking for some awesome suggestions to pretty up your yard? Think flowers! These lovely choices are ideal for our southern climate – and each has its own purpose and use. The Birds, Butterflies and Bees ‘Stars and Stripes’ pentas are terrific producers, with oodles of bright blooms that bring butterflies and hummingbirds into your yard. The plant’s scarlet flowers with pink centers are irresistible to them. Their variegated foliage blends beautifully with other plantings. If you want a companion plant for these yard stars, consider chartreuse or black-leaved sweet potatoes. ‘Ragin’ Cajun’ Ruellias feature bright red flowers that also attract butterflies and bees. This plant may look delicate, but don’t worry ―it’s more than able to hold its own! Add to the drama by planting in sizeable areas or grouping the plants in decorative containers. Keeping You Hanging… If you’re looking to fill hanging baskets or containers, Mandevilla Vogue packs a powerful punch. It comes in both the pink ‘Vivian’ and luminous red ‘Sophia’ varieties. Plants max out at 18 to 24 inches tall and flower heavily all season. It’s also a hardy plant that anyone can grow! ‘Bonita Shea’ begonia, showy and compact, is a true attention grabber! Its curly leaves show surprising red undersides―the perfect pairing for its white flowers. It’s a great choice for hanging baskets decorating porches and patios. Fill It In, Cover It Up! Need to add continuity between your superstar plants? ‘Princess Blush’ and ‘Princess Dark Lavender’ verbenas are an excellent supporting cast! Full season bloomers, they don’t break apart or develop bald spots. They know how to mix and mingle ―use them in beds, containers, hanging baskets, and window boxes. ‘Cajun Blue’ scaevola is smaller than other scaevolas and bursts into flower early in the season. This happy plant plays well with others and loves to flatter its companions. It’s a certain winner with yellow, pink, or white blooms. Looking for the ideal ground cover? The winner is...‘Blue Sue’ setcreasea. With its gorgeous pink flowers tipped by distinctive blue-tinged foliage edged in purple, it’s the perfect choice for low-lying beauty. Taking the Heat… Looking for flowers that won’t wilt in the warm weather? ‘Azure Skies’ heliotrope is the clear winner for heat tolerance. This American native plant thrives where others have fried. Add some to your lawn or garden and you’ll be rewarded with endless mounds of lavender flowers. It even springs back every year in climates like ours that have mild winters! Tiny but Mighty ‘Plum Mist’ cuphea bursts with tiny, two-toned light and dark lavender flowers. Blooming dependably from summer through fall, you can use this plant in the front of your arrangements to add a special touch to your plantings. It’s also a “ballerina plant”…it likes to drape itself daintily over the edges of pots and bordered areas. A Rose is a Rose is A Rose… Who says you can’t grow good roses in the South? Try Knock Out Roses! These highly disease resistant blooms don’t mind the heat or humidity of a Southern garden, and serve as a peerless centerpiece to any arrangement. This Year’s Winner Is… If you like to change it up every year, consider these annual plants. These “tried and true” beauties pack a “flowerful” punch and allow you to create a whole new look for your garden every year. Choose from amaranthus, ageratum, alyssum, asters, impatiens, begonia, bells of Ireland, calendula, Chinese lantern, chrysanthemum, dianthus, foxglove, geranium, hollyhock, lobelia, nasturtium, nicotiana, phlox, snapdragon, sunflower, thunbergia, vinca and zinnia. Perennially Popular Are you a lazy gardener who wants maximum results with minimum effort? If you’re looking for traditional flowers that pop back every year, solid choices include gardenias, genista, plumeria, Chinese violet, jasmine or sweet almond verbena. These Southern favorites are sure to put some color and joy into your outdoor décor, so grab a hoe and get ready to go!

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