To the delight of gardening enthusiasts everywhere, the new year usually brings with it a wealth of new herbaceous ornamental plants. This year is no exception since there are 45 new annual bedding plants from which to choose. While new is not always better, most of these introductions represent improvements in plant performance for their species and deserve consideration for space in the garden. The following list includes a sampling of some of the new bedding plants introduced this year that should perform well in our area.
Begonia F1 ‘Big™ Rose with Bronze Leaf’ (Begonia x benariensis) The ‘Big’ series of begonias truly is a “big deal”. “Big’ begonias bear large flowers (2-3 inches) on large, upright plants with tremendous landscape performance. ‘Rose with Bronze Leaf’ adds a vibrant new color to this series that is suited for sun to part-sun exposures.
Begonia F1 ‘Nonstop® Fire’ (Begonia x tuberhybrida) The ‘Nonstop®’ series of tuberous begonia has been around for quite some time and is noted for its ability to produce a profusion of flowers in shady locations throughout the growing season. ‘Fire’ is a unique new addition to this series. It bears 4-inch flowers in hot shades of yellow, gold, and orange producing a striking color contrast against its deep green foliage.
Cuphea F1 ‘Vienco™ Purple Red’ (Cuphea liavea) ‘Vienco Purple Red’ is a stunning high- impact plant. It is a great container plant for hot summer conditions and grows 17-20 inches tall with tidy flower clumps.It thrives in sun to part-sun exposures.The series contains 7 bold colors.
Cuphea ‘Matchmaker Scarlet’ (Cuphea ignea) This tropical plant delights gardeners with colorful tubular blooms of orange-scarlet with a glowing purple-and-white tip. Compact plants 6-8 inches tall hold flowers up and out. Performing well in heat and humidity, the series now contains 3 colors.
Marigold F1 ‘Discovery™ Yellow’ (Tagetes erecta) The Discovery series is a dwarf African marigold with very large 3-inch flowers that bloom 45 days from sowing. ‘Discovery Yellow’ has compact plants 6-8 inches tall and is an excellent choice for providing summer-long color in sunny borders or containers.
Ornamental Eggplant ‘Pumpkin On A Stick’ (Solanum integrifolium) An interesting novelty, this plant bears clusters of 1-inch orange fruit resembling pumpkins on 3-foot tall plants. Unique in the garden, the “pumpkins” can also be use in floral arrangements. Also called Red China eggplant, the bitter fruits can be used in Asian cooking.
Ornamental Pepper ‘Purple Flash’ (Capsicum annuum) Gleaming purple marble-sized fruit peek out from near-black foliage streaked with bright purple and white on this heat-tolerant new pepper. It grows as a neatly layered 13- to 15-inch plant and has superior drought resistance. ‘Purple Flash’ looks equally good in a sunny bed or container.
Ornamental Purslane ‘Toucan Hot Mix’ (Portulaca oleracea) This new introduction bears a mix of bright fuchsia, scarlet and yellow 1-inch flowers on plants 3-4 inches tall that spread 14-16 inches. Heat and drought tolerant, it is excellent in full-sun containers, hanging baskets, as a festive groundcover or mass planting.
Pentas F1 ‘Starla™ Red’ (Pentas lanceolata) ‘Starla™ Red’ bears big, bold 3-inch flowers held nicely atop 14- to 18-inch tall foliage. This heat-lover is perfect for mixed containers or sunny plantings. It continues to bloom even in very hot conditions. The series contains 6 colors.
Petunia F1 ‘Easy Wave™ Pink Marble Mix’ (Petunia x hybrida) ‘Easy Wave’ is the latest in the ‘Wave’ Series of petunias and has rapidly gained popularity among gardeners. It tolerates heat well and bounces back from rain quickly. Its large 2-inch blooms are borne on spreading plants 6-12 inches tall. The series now contains 14 colors.
Petunia F1 ‘Limbo™ Red Veined’ (Petunia grandiflora) ‘Limbo’ is the world’s only naturally dwarf petunia. Extra compact, this full-sun annual grows 6-8 inches tall and spreads 8-inches. ‘Red Veined’ produces large 3- to 5-inch, red-veined blooms that bounce back in wind and rain. There are 12 colors in the ‘Limbo’ series.
Petunia F1 ‘Plush™ Rose’ (Petunia pendula) The ‘Plush™’ series is known for its relatively short, trailing habit and multitude of brightly-colored, 2-inch flowers. It produces constant color from early spring to summer’s end, looks great in containers and fills sunny garden beds end-to- end. There now are 10 colors in the series.
Petunia F1 ‘Symphony Deep Salmon’ (Petunia x hybrida) Excellent compact habit, strong stems, high flower count, and fast recovery from rains are traits of the ‘Symphony’ series that make it popular. ‘Deep Salmon’ produces masses of 2-inch flowers on plants 10-12 inches tall providing brilliant color in pots and garden. It is a full sun annual. The ‘Symphony’ series has 20 colors.
Ptilotus F1 ‘Joey™’ (Ptilotus exaltatus) This new ornamental is sure to catch everyone’s attention in the garden. It combines exceptional beauty with heat and drought tolerance. ‘Joey™’ bears large 3-to 4-inch conical spikes of feathery, bottlebrush flowers atop thick foliage 12-15 inches tall. Spikes are glistening silver with neon pink near the tips. It needs abundant sunshine and warm temperatures in order to flourish.
Rudbeckia ‘Radiance’ (Rudbeckia hirta) ‘Radiance’ is an annual rudbeckia that displays ball-shaped, fully double 4-inch flowers with distinctive, needle-shaped petals on compact, 18-inch upright plants. The result is a brilliant, truly radiant look in the garden. Heat and drought tolerant, it is ideal for sunny beds and pots.
Rudbeckia F1 ‘TigerEye™ Gold’ (Rudbeckia hirta) The first F1 hybrid rudbeckia, this introduction is a “must try” for the serious gardener. It is absolutely covered with 3-inch golden-yellow flowers with a dark “eye”all summer. Heat-loving and drought tolerant, it is perfect for large beds and containers.
Salvia ‘Amore™ White Surprise’ (Salvia splendens) Gardeners tend to like anything different and this salvia is just that. It represents a surprising color in salvia of white with a red-centered lip. This compact, upright annual flowers in just 60 days from sowing. It grows 8-10 inches tall and enjoys sun to part-sun exposures. Like most salvias it is heat, wind and rain tolerant. The ‘Amore’ series contains 10 colors.
Salvia ‘Fizz Raspberry’ (Salvia splendens) Early flowering, heavily branched and genetically dwarf, the dense placement of flowers on the spike gives this salvia improved color display and excellent lasting ability. It grows to 8-12 inches tall and likes sunny locations. The series has 5 colors.
Sunflower ‘Garden Statement’ (Helianthus annuus) ‘Garden Statement’ is the first lemon- yellow sunflower with super duplex flowers having 3 layers of petals. It has branched stems on the upper third of its 3-foot tall plants for prolong flowering and performance. Heat tolerant, it is a full-sun annual.
Sunflower F1 ‘Zohar’ (Helianthus annuus) This is a single stem, pollenless sunflower exhibits superior quality. The petals of ‘Zohar’ are ray florets colored rich orange which surround a dark center resulting in a 4- to 6-inch diameter flower. These are borne on stems 4-5 feet in height with nice, uniform foliage. Can be picked in 50-55 days.
Verbena F1 ‘Velox™ Soft Pink’ (Verbena and Phlox interspecific cross) ‘Velox™ Soft Pink’ is a novel inter-specific hybrid. It produces an abundance of verbena-like flowers but has superior heat tolerance. The plants only reach a height of 6 inches and exhibit a trailing growth habit.
Vinca F1 ‘HotliK™ Purple Eye’ (Catharanthus roseus) ‘HotliK™ Purple Eye’ is an annual vinca with hybrid vigor for faster growing plants, larger flowers, and improved cold and disease tolerance. Purple 2-inch blooms are borne on 10-inch plants. Vinca is a full-sun, heat-tolerant plant for garden beds or containers. There are 9 colors in the series.
Vinca F1 ‘Viper Orchid Halo’ (Catharanthus roseus) The ‘Viper’ series is known for its vigorous, robust plants that perform very well in the garden. ‘Orchid Halo’ grows into a large 18-inch mounded plant covered in massive 2.5-inch flowers with overlapping petals. Outstanding in sunny locations, it also tolerates part-sun. The ‘Viper’ series has 8 colors.
Zinnia F1 ‘Distance™ Cherry’ (Zinnia hybrida) Zinnia is an excellent choice for summer plantings, especially where summers are long and hot. ‘Distance™ Cherry’ produces an abundance of 2-to 3-inch hot pink flowers on well-branched plants for summer-long color in sunny beds, borders, or patio pots. The series contains 7 colors.
Zinnia ‘Zahara® Mix’ (Zinnia marylandica) The Zahara® series was introduced several years ago and has shown itself to be a super-tough zinnia that puts on carefree, season-long show with lots of bright color. Sun loving heat and disease tolerant annual 12-18 inches tall has colorful 2-inch blooms. It is great in water-restricted areas because of its drought tolerance.
Credit: National Garden Bureau
REVISED: November 8, 2012