For avid gardeners, the cold, gloomy days of January can be brightened a bit by poring over seed catalogs while making plans for the upcoming growing season. If the prospect of growing something new or different is alluring to you, 2011 should be quite a treat for plant breeders and seed companies have introduced over 100 new varieties of flowers and vegetables for your consideration. Below is a description of a number of the new bedding plants for 2011 that captured the author's attention and, in most cases, should fare well in Missouri conditions.
Begonia 'Beaucoup Red' (Begonia x hybrida). 'Begonia Beaucoup' has a mounded growth habit and performs well in full sun for northern regions, late afternoon shade for southern regions and partial sun/shade for all regions. Large flowers are displayed above the plant foliage creating an impressive basket of color.
Begonia 'Fairyland' (Begonia semperflorens). This attractive compact fibrous-rooted begonia has consistently double flowers. Blooming at an early age, 'Fairyland' has more consumer appeal than their single flowering counterparts. In the garden 'Fairland' adds durable and season-long color to combination pots, as a specimen on the patio or in landscape plantings.
Begonia 'Gryphon' (Begonia hybrida). The unique, topical-like foliage of 'Gryphon' begonia combines majestic beauty with strength and durability. This showy plant with silver and green leaves makes a bold, dramatic statement in mixed or solo containers. Easyto-grow, 'Gryphon' has works best in the shade. To extend its season 'Gryphon' can be brought indoors before frost to serve as a houseplant.
Begonia 'Nightlife Blush' (Begonia semperflorens). The large bicolor flowers of 'Nightlife Blush' have a bright white center edged in a rich pink. The dark bronze leaves (the darkest on the market) only enhance the intensity of the blooms in sun or shade. The uniform, compact plants hold up well to the heat for a bed of intense color all season long.
Calibrachoa 'MiniFamous™ Double Pink Evol.' (Calibrachoa hybrid). 'Pink Evol.' is a new color in this calibrachoa series that feature fully double flowers and is early and free-flowering at the same time. It has a compact growth habit and is free-branching. It fits many uses from baskets to mixed containers of any kind and is an easy-to-grow annual for full to part-sun.
Chilli Pepper 'Basket of Fire' (Capsicum frutescens). 'Basket of Fire' is the first true hanging basket pepper. Spicy hot peppers add color and character as they turn from cream to orange and (later) mature to red. The small leaves don't hide the fruit which emerge from under the foliage. The basal branches of 'Basket of Fire' cascade as they develop while new growth continues to fill the top for a well rounded appearance.
Gaillardia 'Arizona Apricot' (Gaillardia x grandiflora). A 2011 AAS Award Winner, Gaillardia 'Arizona Apricot' offers a new color for this class. Blooms are lighter in color than traditional gaillardia and have yellow edges that deepen to a rich apricot center. 'Arizona Apricot' is free-flowering, covering the plant with bright blooms that look great in mass. This long-flowering perennial is hardy, drought-tolerant and relatively maintenance free.
Gaillardia 'Punch Bowl' F1 (Gaillardia aristata). You will not believe your eyes when they alight on the large splashy pink and lavender blooms with frilly white edges of this new gaillardia. The hardy, easy-to-grow 16" plants flower from June through September and prefer well-drained soil. The bushy, full-bodied plants light up a border with dazzling color.
Geranium 'Fusion™ Flame' (Pelargonium peltatum x hortorum). 'Fusion™ Flame' is a new inter-specific geranium with a unique bright flower color. Early-toflower and fast growing, it is an excellent choice for combination planters and hanging baskets.
Gerbera 'Garvinea Linsey®' (Gerbera hybrida). Garvinea® is a new and innovative plant for garden and terrace purposes. This colorful new gerbera flowers from early spring through to autumn and has a high resistance to pests and diseases. A continual bloomer, it produces many 2-inch blooms throughout the season.
Melampodium 'Casino Light Yellow' (Melampodium paludosum). Very vigorous, knee-high plants produce large numbers of yellow, daisy like flowers that cover the plant. 'Casino Light Yellow' thrives in hot and humid conditions and is ideal for beds and borders alike.
Morning Glory 'Split Second' (Ipomoea purpurea). 'Split Second' produces stunning flowers with huge, double blooms that have a powderpuff peony form. Absolutely show-stopping, they unfurl in a blend of soft pastel to deep rosy-pink, with no two flowers looking just alike.
Ornamental Corn 'Field of Dreams' (Zea mays). This new introduction produces variegated green and white with touches of rose, 'Field of Dreams' adds color and structure to large combination pots and accents in the landscape. Plants can reach four to five feet tall and produce ears that are as attractive after the season as the plants were beautiful during the season.
Pansy 'Freefall' (Viola sp.). Early flowering, 'Freefall' pansies are covered with 1½ inch flowers. 'Freefall' pansies start as low mounding plants and develop into their full spreading or cascading habit as they grow. Ideal for baskets, the 'Freefall' pansies can also be used in color bowls and in the landscape. Requiring fewer plants per square yard in the landscape and fewer plants per pot in a basket, 'Freefall' pansies cover an area with color.
Pansy 'Plentifall' (Viola wittrockiana). 'Plentifall' pansies spread and trail vigorously to fill and cover cool-season hanging baskets. They are the perfect choice as a "spiller" in mixed containers or as groundcover. 'Plentifall' pansies have medium-size blooms that come in a variety of colors. This new pansy possess excellent overwintering qualities.
Petunia 'Opera Supreme™ Raspberry Ice' F1 (Petunia hybrida). 'Raspberry Ice' is a new color to the Opera Supreme™ series which is less day length sensitive than most petunias. It is very floriferous and displays a low, spreading growth habit. 'Opera Supreme Raspberry Ice' blooms from the center of the plant out to the tips, and plants have short nodes giving plants an abundance of closely spaced blooms.
Salvia 'Summer Jewel Red' (Salvia coccinea). This 2011 AAS Award Winner is early to flower and displays a profuse flowering habit. Additionally, the dwarf and densely branching plants remains a tidy 20 inches tall, even at full maturity. The bright red flower spikes are covered with half-inch blooms that act as a magnet for hummingbirds. As an added bonus, goldfinches frequent the plant for seeds. Even the leaves add beauty with their fine-textured, dark-green color.
Sunflower 'Coconut Ice' F1 (Helianthus annuus). There is something new under the sun, and it's this extraordinary new white sunflower. Standing 5'-6' tall the single-headed flowers with coconut brown centers are 4"-8" across. The petals start out a rich creamy vanilla and gradually transition to white.
Sunflower 'Frilly' F1 (Helianthus annuus). It's hard to believe your eyes when you first encounter this striking sunflower. Standing a bit over 5 feet tall, the plants are loaded with a crowd of 6" flower heads, with their unique ragged narrow-stranded petals with curved inverted secondary petals. It flowers long and prolifically and is stunning in flower arrangements.
Verbena 'Costa del Sol™' (Verbena hybrida). Selected for good resistance to powdery mildew 'Costa del Sol™ is a new series of verbena that makes a spectacular showing in the garden all summer long. The series is early-flowering and displays a mounding growth habit. Working equally well in pots and baskets it comes in colors of magenta, pink and white.
Viola 'Shangri-La Marina' F1 (Viola cornuta). A 2011 AAS Award Winner, this viola is early-flowering and has a mounding growth habit. Colorful and prolific 1¼ inch blooms have light blue petals with a velvety dark blue face that is surrounded by a narrow white border. This vigorous, frost-tolerant biennial provides a solid mat of fall color until covered with snow followed by a great recovery in spring. Grow in full sun as a low edging in the garden or in hanging baskets and pots.
Credit: National Garden Bureau
REVISED: December 6, 2011