Hot New Annuals
Every year the nursery trade comes up with new and better varieties of some of your old favorites. Sometimes the plants are more disease resistant or drought tolerant. Sometimes the colors are brand new and eye catching. These are our hot new annuals.
You can see these plants in our 15 display beds along the entry way drive (between the Entry Garden walkway and the barn).
For 2016 we will be showing off new varieties of angelonia or summer snapdragons. They should arrive about mid-April. Once in the ground and established, we'll post pictures. Meanwhile, take a look below at the lantana varieties we had in 2014, and below those, plants from previous years that did especially well in Tulsa's climate.
2014 Test Annuals - Lantana
In 2014 we tested Lantana. They did great. Look at all the beautiful colors. This is how they looked in August, two months after planting.
Lantana is a genus of about 150 species of perennial flowering plants in the verbena family, Verbenaceae. In our Tulsa zone they are usually considered annuals because of our colder weather in the winter. If we have a mild winter this plant can come back in the spring.
Lantana's aromatic flower clusters (called umbels) are a mix of red, orange, yellow, or blue and white florets. Other colors exist as new varieties are being selected. The flowers typically change color as they mature, resulting in inflorescences that are two- or three-colored. If you have a hot, baked spot, lantana is your answer. This hardworking plant not only thrives with little moisture and in full, unyielding sun, it does so with ease.
In fact, lantana is a flower that seems to have it all: it produces an abundance of brightly colored flowers all summer and fall; it's a magnet for butterflies and hummingbirds; it's easy to grow and a great choice for containers.
The main difference in these varieties is the height. From smallest to largest: Bandito, Lucky, Landmark, then Luscious (the tallest).
Exceptional Performers from Past Years
We highly recommend the following plants from our previous years' Hot New Annuals test beds.
Lucky Pot of Gold Lantana,Supertunias, and Goldilocks Rocks were outstanding. They stood up to the heat of summer providing great shows of blossoms. They looked fabulous up until the first freeze. These plants should be available for purchase at Southwood and other local nurseries.
Like its vigorous lantana companions, Lucky Pot of Gold Lantana stands up well to heat, humidity and other stressful conditions. The dark green-leafed plants stay upright and mounded with a controlled habit all season, making them ideal for small-space gardens and mixed containers.
Culture Information : Allow plants to dry regularly between waterings. Pinch as needed to shape. Feeding at recommended levels will promote vigorous plants that will continue to actively grow and flower.
Petunia Supertunias - Lavender Skies Petunia features beautiful lavender-blue flowers that almost shimmer in the sunlight. Supertunias are a vigorously trailing species of an ever-blooming, long living petunia from Australia. They will provide long term color in full sun areas throughout the season, and can grow nearly an inch a day. They are ideal for baskets, beds, balconies, and combination plantings. Supertunias are very heat and drought tolerant once established in the ground or pot. They do not need to have their dead flower heads removed to continue flowering and they are not leggy. Supertunias grow fast and therefore need ample moisture and fertilizer.
Other Petunia Supertunias have also been winners in the Linneaus Garden test plots.
Bidens Ferulifolia 'Goldilocks Rocks' is a vigorous, heat and drought tolerant plant with bright gold flowers from spring to fall.
Use it in hanging baskets, window baskets, and landscaping. This plant is low maintenance as no deadheading is necessary.
Other Greats - Evolvulus Hybrid 'Blue My Mind'
Remarkably true blue flowers cover this entire plant from spring until the first frost, especially thriving in the heat of the summer. Blue My Mind loves hot weather, in fact, the hotter the better. It will perform best in full sun and needs to be protected from even light frost. It is drought tolerant, once it is established. Plants do need to be watered well for several weeks during root establishment.
While the plants can withstand drought conditions, growth and flowering are better with consistent moisture. Deadheading is unnecessary. A good dose of compost or slow release fertilizer will improve performance.
Mercadonia hybrid GoldDust
Another favorite of the Proven Winners trials is GoldDust, a lovely low-growing mercadonia.
Its mat habit makes it a durable, walk-all-over-it landscape item that loves the heat. Small green leaves are covered with yellow nemesia-like flowers. With 10 years of breeding behind it, it's bound to have some good characteristics. It can also be used in a container as a spiller (trails over the side of a container) plant.
We have had it in our Linnaeus garden more than once, and everyone coming through the garden remarks about the brillant color which is displayed May thru October.
It is marketed as an annual but we have found that it is a really hardy annual and will return the following year if we do not have a hard winter.
Photos by Marc Schreiber