Each year plant breeders introduce dozens of new cultivars of flowering ornamental plants into the gardening world. While new is not always better, most of these introductions represent improvements in plant performance for that species and are worth evaluating. Below is a list of new annuals for 2008.
Begonia ‘Betulia® Red’ (Begonia elatior) Vibrant, long-lasting red flowers are continuously produced on this superior shade garden begonia. Suitable as a patio planter, the compact 12-inch tall plants are low maintenance and mildew resistant.
Begonia F1 ‘Nonstop® Mocca Pink Shades’ (Begonia x tuberhybrida) This new color for highly acclaimed ‘Nonstop’ series shines against its dark chocolate foliage, creating an arresting contrast in any shady location. Large, 4-inch fully double flowers on upright 12-inch tall plants.
Bracteantha ‘Mohave™ Autumn Bronze’ (Bracteantha bracteata) Vibrant yellow-orange fully double blooms are just one of 8 colors available in this new strawflower series. This 16-inch tall upright annual is easily grown in a sunny garden or container.
Calibrachoa ‘MiniFamous™ Double Blue’ (Calibrachoa cultivars) This all-new variety is part of a double flowering series that includes 3 colors. Beautiful double blooms are borne on trailing 4-inch tall plants. Performs great in sunny baskets and containers.
Celosia ‘Spiky Purple’ (Celosia spicata) Unique deep purple-red clusters of spikes 2-3 inches long on attractive red stems. Compact, well branched upright annual 15-20 inches tall. Exotic beauty in sunny garden or container offers season long color.
Centratherum ‘Button Beauty’ (Centratherum intermedium) An unusual tropical annual with lavender button-like flowers. The upright bushy plants reach 2-feet and are covered in glossy fragrant foliage. A fast-growing solution for full sun containers and gardens.
Coleus ‘Chocolate Mint’ (Solenostemon scutellarioides) Easy-to-grow, dark-leafed plants show off rich chocolate color, with each mid-size leaf finely edged in soothing mint green. The 12- to 14-inch plants are well suited to shade gardens and large containers.
Dianthus F1 ‘Supra™ Red’ (Dianthus interspecific) Beautiful, lacy 1- to 1.5-inch serrated blooms adorn the 10-to 12-inch tall upright strongly branching compact plant. Early flowering with exceptional garden performance. Also available as AAS Winner in color purple.
Geranium ‘Sunrise™ Strawberry Blush’ (Pelargonium x hortorum) The ‘Sunrise’ zonal geranium series is available in 11 colors. Large flower heads with incredibly brilliant color are borne on 16-inch upright medium green foliaged plants. Great for a sunny pot or garden.
Gerbera F1 ‘Crush Mix’ (Gerbera jamesonii) Be captivated by this unique mix of watermelon, rose, and pink shades. Large 4-inch semi-double blooms keep coming on these versatile 12-inch tall plants. Great for containers, beds or cut flowers and easy to grow.
Hibiscus ‘Garden Leader Gro Big Red’ (Hibiscus acetosella) Tropical looking 5-foot tall deep red leaf plant. In the long growing season of zones 8-10 it will have 3-inch burgundy red blooms. Easy to grow. Use in containers or as a bold landscape accent. Full sun.
Impatiens F1 ‘Envoy Cherry Star’ (Impatiens wallerana) Its robust habit and large 2-inch flowers make ‘Envoy’ the perfect choice for baskets and pots or to create swaths of color in part sun garden beds. Heat tolerant annual 24 inches tall. Series of 17 colors.
Impatiens F1 ‘Jambalaya™ Formula Mix’ (Impatiens wallerana) All new ‘Jambalaya’ series offers a free-flowering habit, large 2-inch blooms, and a broad color range of 16 colors and 3 mixes. Shade loving annual is very early flowering - just 60 to 65 days from sowing.
Osteospermum F1 ‘Asti™ White’ (Osteospermum ecklonis) First hybrid osteospermum that can be grown from seed in a separate color. Large, attractive, blue centered white daisy flowers are born on uniform upright plants 17-20 inches tall. Heat, drought, and frost tolerant.
Pansy F1 ‘Cello™ Antique Shades’ (Viola x wittrockiana) ‘Cello’ stands solidly upright on short flower stems. ‘Antique Shades,’ with an appealing color pattern of antique pink with yellow flush, is one of 22 colors in the series. Compact biennial 10-12 inches tall prefers sun.
Pansy F1 ‘Designer Collection™ Midnight Sun’ (Viola x wittrockiana) New collection of three novelty pansy colors with surefire appeal for spring and fall plantings. Dark petaled 3- to 3.5-inch blooms have sunny yellow whiskered faces. Plant is 4-6 inches tall.
Pansy F1 ‘Matrix® Morpheus’ (Viola x wittrockiana) Breakthrough new color! Each 3-inch bloom shows off a vibrant blue cap complemented by yellow lower petals with eye-appealing whiskering. Annual reaches 8 inches tall. Series of 16 colors and 6 mixes.
Pentas F1 ‘Northern Lights Lavender’ (Pentas lanceolata) Beautiful 6- to 8-inch lavender blooms are a standout on upright plants 18-24 inches tall. More tolerant to low pH levels and as free flowering in full sun or shade and in hot southern locales or in cool northern settings.
Pentas F1 ‘Starla™ Pink’ (Pentas lanceolata) A pentas for everywhere. Create a tropical look, anywhere in the country! Plant vigor handles the stress of cool northern nights and hot southern days. Vibrant colored star shaped flowers on plants 14-18 inches tall.
Petunia F1 ‘Limbo™ Rose Veined’ (Petunia x hybrida) New color in the naturally dwarf and non-stretching ‘Limbo’ series. Large 3-to 5-inch rosy blooms are born on heat, wind and rain tolerant plants 6-8 inches tall. Sun loving annual for container, garden, or mass planting.
Petunia F1 ‘Opera Supreme Lilac Ice’ (Petunia x hybrida) An extremely low spreading habit with a tremendous abundance of 2.5- to 3-inch blooms all over the plant, even in the center. Add this robust 6- to 10-inch tall annual in your sunny garden or pot. Series of 8 colors.
Petunia F1 ‘Shock Wave™ Purple’ (Petunia x hybrida) Fast-to-fill plants blanketed with tons of color from the amazing number of petite, high-impact flowers. Earliest-to-flower spreading petunia. Plants 7-10 inches tall spread up to 3-feet. Series of 7 colors.
Rudbeckia F1 ‘Tiger Eye Gold’ (Rudbeckia hirta) The world’s first F1 rudbeckia. Outstanding plant and flower uniformity, premium outdoor performance, and reduced powdery mildew sensitivity. This sun-loving annual reaches 24 inches tall and wide.
Salvia ‘Cathedral™ Sky Blue’ (Salvia farinacea) This series, offered in 3 colors, is an exceptional selection that is more compact in habit with larger flower size than other varieties. The light slate blue 3-inch spikes are held on upright plants 16 to 20 inches tall.
Salvia ‘Fairy Queen’ (Salvia farinacea) Dense blue flower spikes add height to the 18-inch tall well-branched plants yielding a significant number of flowers over the deep green foliage. A small white spot on each sapphire blue flower creates the illusion of fairy dust.
Salvia ‘Mojave’ (Salvia splendens) ‘Mojave’ sets a new standard in red salvia! Deep red spikes contrast beautifully with dark green foliage. Include this 14-inch tall superbly branched annual in a sunny garden, container, or mass planting.
Snapdragon ‘Florini® Amalia Bright Red’ (Antirrhinum sp.) Very fragrant bright pure red flowers add lots of contrast to baskets, planters, and garden displays in sun or shade. Weather tolerant 15-inch tall plant has marked mounding habit. Annual.
Verbena F1 ‘Tuscany™ Pink Picotee’ (Verbena hybrida) Outstanding garden performance. Loves it hot and dry! Big florets form large bloom heads. Full, bushy, 8-to 10-inch tall compact trailing plants produce tons of eye-catching color. Series offers 6 additional colors.
Vinca F1 ‘Cobra Peppermint’ (Catharanthus roseus) New ‘Cobra’ series of 11 colors offers beautiful large 2-inch blooms on 12-inch compact, mounding plants. Performs in low light/temperatures as well as high light/high heat and humidity. Exceptional disease tolerance.
Vinca F1 ‘Cora™ Deep Lavender’ (Catharanthus roseus) Large showy 2-inch flowers. Field-tested and proven to be resistant to aerial phytophthora disease. Lush, thick glossy foliage on robust plants 14-16 inches tall. Loves heat! Series has 6 additional colors.
Vinca F1 ‘Titan™ Pure White’ (Catharanthus roseus) The first pure white F1 vinca. Produces very large flowers in a true, pure white with no pink center ring and excellent overlapping petals. Upright plants reach 14-16 inches. ‘Titan’ is available in 9 colors.
Viola F1 ‘Gem Sapphire’ (Viola x hybrida) Exceptional heat tolerance and strong over-wintering ability. Gem continues to bloom freely throughout the season. The half-inch blooms are held well on compact 4- to 6-inch tall mounding plants. Series offers 18 colors.
Viola F1 ‘Rocky™ Violet Blue’ (Viola cornuta) Multitudes of 1-inch flowers on robust 4-to 6-inch plants give loads of color in spring or fall. ‘Rocky’ violas over winter from fall plantings to produce earliest spring color. Series of 18 colors and 3 mixes.
Viola F1 ‘Skippy XL Plum-Gold’ (Viola cornuta) AAS Award winning plant grows 6-8 inches tall and provides an abundance of 1.5-inch sunny gold whisker faced blooms surrounded by attractive plum colored petals. First plum bicolor with heat tolerance.
Zinnia F1 ‘Distance Mix’ (Zinnia elegans) Early blooming at 60 days. This heat tolerant annual will fill your container or garden with fully double to semi-double yellow, orange, pink, cherry, and white 2- to 3-inch flowers. Plants are 12 to 16 inches tall.
Zinnia ‘Solcito’ (Zinnia maritima) Perfect for landscapes — easy to grow and maintain all season. Plants stay vigorous and healthy with lots of small, golden blooms topping lush foliage. Tough and durable plants reach 10-12 inches.
Credit: National Garden Bureau
REVISED: July 26, 2012