Again this year plant breeders have provided gardeners with a plethora of new bedding plants for their yards and gardens. Listed below is sampling of some of the new flowering annuals and perennials for 2012. Most should perform well under Missouri conditions.
Agastache 'Summer Sunset' (Agastache hybrid). With warm, sunset-orange hues this plant can brighten your summer borders and containers. The newest in the Summer™ Series, this hummingbird-mint has an upright, compact habit. It blooms all summer, is drought tolerant and is loved by hummingbirds.
Angelonia 'Archangel Purple' (Angelonia angustifolia). 'Archangel' Angelonia has the largest size flowers of any Angelonia. This new color in the 'Archangel' series is a perfect combination of delicate mini-orchid looking flowers, but tough as nails.
Angelonia 'Serena Blue' (Angelonia angustifolia). This care-free, continuous bloomer is well-suited to landscapes, gardens and mixed containers, and performs well under a wide range of conditions. The durable Serena series is a perfect choice for gardeners looking for water-wise, heat-loving plants. Extremely easy to grow and low maintenance. It grows best in full-sun settings but does not tolerate drying down completely between watering.
Begonia 'Amour' (Begonia boliviensis). The most vigorous trailing begonia on the market, 'Amour' is perfect for large patio pots and hanging baskets because it grows quickly and trails from any container. The dark foliage on 'Amour' makes the vivid red flowers stand out.
Begonia 'Fairyland' (Begonia semperflorens). This attractive compact fibrous-rooted begonia has consistently double flowers. Blooming at an early age, the new 'Fairyland' Begonias have more consumer retail appeal than their single flowering counterparts. Begonia 'Fairyland' performs equally well in a pack or in a pot. In the garden 'Fairland' adds durable and season long color to combination pots, as a specimen on the patio or in landscape plantings.
Begonia 'Santa Cruz Sunset' (Begonia boliviensis). Begonia 'Santa Cruz Sunset' is very heat tolerant. It thrives in well-drained soil and can handle moderate drought once it is established. Fiery red-orange blooms cover the plant from late spring until frost. The well branched plant looks full and lush in a pot or hanging basket by itself or in a garden with a rainbow of colors.
Begonia 'Whopper Red with Bronze Leaf' (Begonia hybrida). Producing huge plants with large blooms and shiny foliage, it make a bold statement in any garden settings. 'Whoppers' are ideal for gardeners of all skill levels because they require minimal maintenance.
Coleus 'Wasabi' (Solenostemon scutellarioides). Versatile and rugged, Wasabi's brilliant color and serrated leaves hold up in sun or shade without fading or spotting. Wasabi provides a perfect chartreuse background for hot pinks and intense purples in the garden or container.
Coleus Fuseables™ 'Under the Sun' (Solenostemon scutellarioides). This new coleus blend combines multiple seeds of two varieties into one easy-to-sow pellet. 'Under the Sun' captures the great color combination of 'Versa Crimson Gold' and 'Versa Lime'. Its maroon-red and gold leaves contrast nicely with chartreuse. When mature, it fills containers in an attractive manner that will accent any patio or deck. 'Under the Sun' tolerates full sun as well as partial shade.
Dahlia 'Dahlinova Hypnotica® Cherish Pink' (Dahlia X). 'Dahlinova Hypnotica® Cherish Pink' is one of the latest introductions in the Dahlinova Hypnotica® series. Cherish Pink has a large bi-colored flower and excellent branching. The great garden performance of this long-flowering variety is one of its benefits. One cutting easily fills a gallon or an 8-inch pot.
Dahlia 'XXL Veracruz' (Dahlia hybrida). Dahlias have always been a dramatic addition to a garden or patio, but with the introduction of Dahlia 'XXL', the curtain has opened on a whole new act. 'XXL Veracruz' is just as its name suggests, a large-flowered dahlia, with blooms boasting almost 6 inches in diameter. What is different, though, is that these striking flowers grow on a plant that doesn't get out of control in the garden. Nor will it need staking or extra care to maintain the plant structure.
Echinacea 'Aloha' (Echinacea hybrida). Wide, melon yellow petals surround orange cones on this summer-to-frost bloomer. 'Aloha' is a welcoming and elegant plant that greets you with its fragrance and beauty. Use en mass for the border, in a mixed bed, or as a cut flower.
Echinacea 'Double Scoop Bubble Gum' (Echinacea purpurea). The 'Double Scoop' series of Echinacea have eye-catching double flower power for the garden. They are very hardy and offer years of enjoyment. Gardeners will love their clean foliage and brilliantly colored blooms.
Echinacea 'Sombrero Salsa Red' (Echinacea purpurea). The new 'Sombrero' series of Echinacea have bright, rich color and long bloom life. Gardeners will enjoy how well 'Sombrero' branches and grows on sturdy stems. With proven hardiness for years of enjoyment in the garden, it is drought tolerant and very floriferous.
Gaillardia 'Red Sun' (Gaillardia x grandiflora). Having broad petals, flowers of this plant have the appearance of "sun-like" orbs of hot orange-red floating over the mounded foliage of this drought-tolerant perennial. 'Red Sun' is tolerant of poor soil and the hottest sun.
Gaillardia 'Sundance Red' (Gaillardia pulchella). Compact plants bloom from summer to fall with red, puffball blossoms held above the foliage creating a blaze of color. Ideal for containers, flower beds and wildflower gardens, the heat and drought tolerant plants bloom from summer to fall. The flowers make a nice long lasting cut flower and plants are deer resistant.
Hibiscus 'Mahogany Splendor' (Hibiscus acetosella). This new plant should have tremendous impact in the summer garden. It produces beautiful maple-leaved foliage with a deep burgundy color. Its shiny, tall plants have a distinctive Japanese maple look and glow in the sun, adding color and texture to the landscape in perfect order with the ornamental grasses. 'Mahogany Splendor' does well in very wet soil conditions.
Impatiens 'Accent™ Premium Red' (Impatiens walleriana). The 'Accent™' series is noted for its large, high quality blooms and strong garden performance. They satisfy well the growing trend towards larger plants and containers that can provide instant color and fill in the garden.
Impatiens SunPatiens 'Spreading Carmine' (Impatiens x hybrida hort). SunPatiens 'Spreading Carmine' is an ideal choice for hanging baskets and containers. Fast growing and easy to care for, it grows well in full sun, partial shade or full shade. This variety is outstanding in hot and humid conditions that would cause regular Impatiens "melt". Its strong plants also tolerate all types of weather, holding up well to wind and rain. Three seasons of performance means this variety will brighten a porch or patio from spring all the way through a light frost.
Kale, flowering 'Song Bird™' F1 (Brassica oleracea). The 'Song Bird' series of flowering kale brings color to fall and winter gardens. Plants color when temperatures fall below 55 - 60°F creating colorful rosettes of leaves, looking like a large, exotic flower. Ideal for gardens and containers, its plants are 8 to 12 inches tall, and 12 to 14 inches wide.
Leucanthemum 'Bridal Bouquet' (Leucanthemum x superbum). Here is a new, super-compact Shasta daisy without the "Shasta smell". Its flowers are lightly ruffled, double and broad-petaled. As an added interest, they emerge bright yellow and turn white with maturity.
Marigold 'Bonanza Deep Orange' (Tagetes patula). The double-crested flowers of 'Bonanza Deep Orange' are the largest of any in this type of French marigold. In the garden, the plants are excellent performers under a wide range of conditions. As with most marigolds, its low-maintenance nature is appealing to busy gardeners.
Marigold 'Lofty Lady' F1 (Tagetes erecta). You may never have seen a marigold this tall—it towers a striking 4 feet in height. Additionally, plants explode with dazzling yellow 4" blooms on very long stems. Ideal for vases, blooms impart distinctive marigold fragrance.
Nepeta 'Purple Haze' (Nepeta hybrid). This wonderful hybrid catmint will be a fabulous addition to any sunny garden. 'Purple Haze' forms a silver mat with purple blue flower spikes that look like Buddleias. The plants are clean-looking and bloom all summer long. Maintenance is rarely needed because it never gets messy. Very versatile, it can be used in the front of borders and mixed beds, as a ground cover on banks, or in a rock garden.
Ornamental Corn 'Field of Dreams' (Zea mays). With highly variegated green and white foliage 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. The dark kernels can be popped to add even more interest to this exciting new introduction.
Ornamental Pepper 'Black Olive' (Capsicum annuum). An AAS for 2012, this new ornamental pepper is a standout. Heat tolerant, it is well-suited for typical Missouri conditions. All season long this beauty keeps its upright habit with nicely draping leaves and dark purple/black fruit which appeared in small clusters along the stems. As summer progresses, the fruits mature to red giving a beautiful contrast against the dark purple foliage and bright purple flowers. Growing to a height of 2- inches, it can be used as a border plant, a great color splash for containers or as a cut flower in mixed bouquets.
Petunia 'Shock Wave Coral Crush' (Petunia x hybrida). The 'Shock Wave' petunia series produces a mounded, spreading plant that is easy to grow and maintain. They exhibit excellent outdoor performance and offer the strong, season-long color that the Wave family varieties are known for. They perform equally well in small spaces, hanging baskets, containers and mixed combos. 'Shock Wave Coral Crush' is bright coral pink with a creamy throat for added interest.
Petunia 'Whispers™ Star Rose' (Petunia hybrida). 'Whispers Star Rose' explodes with color. Plants are covered in bright pink, star-patterned blooms all season long. 'Whispers Star Rose' exhibits a strong trailing habit that is ideal for hanging baskets and combination planters.
Salvia 'Summer Jewel Pink' (Salvia coccinea). A 2012 AAS Winner, this new introduction is a sister to earlier AAS winner Salvia 'Summer Jewel Red'. Its compact plants bloom prolifically throughout the growing season. As a bonus, the blooms appear almost two weeks earlier than other pink salvias. As with other salvias, hummingbirds love them.
Verbena 'Lanai® Twister Pink' (Verbena hybrida). 'Lanai Twister Pink' is truly one of a kind. This variety displays unique pink-and-white bicolor flower heads contrasted by rich green foliage. The award-winning 'Lanai' series has been recognized for its "Best in Class" garden performance at independent trials across the United States. 'Lanai Twister Pink' is a heat lover that will thrive throughout summer's heat and humidity.
Vinca Jams 'N Jellies Blackberry' (Catharanthus rosea). Velvety deep purple with white eye flower color causes this new vinca to add excitement to summer gardens. In some settings, the flower petals appear almost black, making this color a designer's delight. The 2-inch flowers are complimented by deep green shiny leaves creating a rich background for the richly dark flowers. A superb accent plant, it works beautifully in color combinations with blue, pink, white or lavender. Easy-to-grow plants have excellent tolerance to drought and heat. Mature plants reach a height of 10-14 inches.
Credit: National Garden Bureau
REVISED: March 15, 2012