New plants are being introduced in the gardening world so fast it is hard to keep up. Many of the old standards have been greatly improved and reintroduced. This exciting new trend in gardening is offering an incredible array of blooming and foliage plants, which can be used as accent plants or as the focus of a beautiful container or in-ground planting. The challenge is learning the names for all the new offerings and learning how to make the best use of them. In this information sheet, we will go over some of the most commonly available specialty accent plants that bloom. For an overview of the new non-blooming accent plants, be sure to pick up a copy of the sheet entitled Foliage Accent Plants for Outdoors.
What sets these new specialty bloominyg accent plants apart from all the old reliable varieties? The emphasis is on performance. That means more blooms, new colors and flower forms and healthier, stronger plants. Where have all these plants been before now? Very few are totally new to the gardening world. Most are new selections or improvements on older plants. And some are newly available because greenhouse growers have developed reliable, economic ways to produce the plants. Most plants in this category are true annuals but a few are tender perennials that we treat as annuals in our climate.
Look for the actual name of the plant and the tags; they should have some good cultural information on them. In case they don’t have adequate information, here is a quick overview of some of the new plants that are quickly becoming indispensable in our gardens:
A new improved version of the old-fashioned parlor maples, Bella Abutilons are grown from seed and are much more compact than their ancestors. Bella Abutilons offer pastel bell-shaped flowers. Plants grow 12-16” tall and prefer light shade.
Agryranthemum aka Marguerite and Cobbity Daisies
These upright, sun-loving plants are graced with mum-like daisy flowers. Blooms best from mid-summer through frost. Colors include white, pink and yellow.
Related to snapdragons, Angelonia blooms all summer long with more delicate white, lavender or blue flowers. Grows 12-24” tall and prefers high light to full sun.
The first bacopa plants offered were all low, trailing plants with tiny leaves and small white flowers. Now the flowers are larger and there are a few color variations including pinky- lavender or brick red flowers or gold variegated leaves. Be sure to check the tags for details because some varieties are not as low growing or compact. The white bacopas need full sun or very light shade. The variegated variety cannot tolerate full, hot sun. Begonia, dragon wing A type of angel wing fibrous begonia, these 12-18” upright plants with glossy green leaves bare pendulous scarlet blooms. It grows well in light shade and well-drained soil.
Single daisy-like yellow flowers on a heat-tolerant, cascading plant with fine foliage. Grow in full sun.
A good filler plant with lots of small, pink to purple daisy-like flowers with yellow centers. Plant in full sun to very light shade. Trim them back occasionally to encourage blooming.
Calibrachoa aka Million Bells
Easily mistaken for a miniature petunia, Calibroachoa offers a compact plant that blooms prolifically and stays around 6 inches tall. It has been available in pink, cherry and blue for a few years and recently we are beginning to see some incredible terra cotta and yellow flowers.
Cuphea aka Mexican Heather
Small lavender-pink or white flowers held tight against the stems of a stiff branched sun-loving plant that grows 6-10” tall. Watch for the new variety being introduced with bi-color pink and red flowers. Grows especially well in containers.dahlberg daisies Heat-tolerant, sun-loving plants with feathery fine foliage that are adorned with tiny yellow daisy-like flowers all summer. The plants grow 8-12” tall and are best used planted with other sun loving plants and as filler.
A silvery-gray foliage plant with a trailing habit and yellow straw-like flowers. Needs full sun to bloom well and flowers may not open on cloudy days. Best used in baskets or containers. It will grow 10-12” tall.
(Check our information sheet Impatiens for more information.) Don’t overlook all the new types of impatiens including the incredible doubles the beautiful upright growing African series with pastel blooms and the new Firefly series of tiny blooms on compact plants.
Osteosperma aka African or Cape Daisies
Beautiful daisies in various colors on upright plants, most varieties of Osteosperma prefer the cool part of the season along with your pansies. Watch for new introductions that are more heat tolerant such as Cream Symphony. Plants grow 12-18” tall and need full sun.
Offering beautiful clusters of pink, white or reddish flowers on upright plants. Pentas haven’t been used in the garden very much because they got too tall and rangy (up to 2 feet). Now they have developed more compact, better-branched plants that bloom prolifically in a sunny location.
(Check our information sheet Petunias, Old and New for more information.) There are exciting new types of petunias now available including true miniatures, groundcover types and trailers.
Relatives of moss roses (portulaca), these plants have the same type of flowers on a little more upright plant. The leaves are larger too and the flowers stay open longer. They need full sun and well-drained soil. Heights average 6-8” tall.
Scaevola, Fan Flower
Another sun-lover, Scaevola offers distinctive fan-shaped purple-blue flowers on branched, trailing plants. Does best when the weather gets hot and grows 10-14” tall and wide.
Torenia, Summer Wave
Very different from other Torenia, Summer Wave (and Summer Wave Blue) offers relatively large flowers on a spreading plant. Grows 8-12” tall and prefers light shade.
Here is one plant that has really been improved! Watch for the new Tapien, Temari and Twilight series (as well as others) that offer sturdy plants, prolific blooms and lots and lots of color. They are great for hanging baskets and in containers. Most of the new introductions are trailers and can be used as groundcovers too. The Tapien series has very fine foliage and the Temari series has larger leaves. Verbenas need lots of sun to bloom well and stay healthy.
Additional Bachman’s Information
Foliage Accent Plants For Outdoors
Fertilizing Annuals and Perennials
Commonly Used Annuals
Quality Bachman’s Grown Plants
Mighty Earth Soils and amendments
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