Lovers of red, pink, and purple flowers, rejoice: these hues dominate the new top flower introductions for 2014. Look for weather and disease resistant improvements over your old flowering favorites.
The versatility of this hanging basket specimen can’t be beat: Sun or shade, wet or dry weather, begonia ‘Santa Cruz Sunset’ covers its cascading branches with hundreds of reddish-orange flowers from spring until frost. No deadheading required; all the plants ask for this tireless performance is a monthly feeding with a balanced flower fertilizer.
Ball Horticultural Company brings us another new calibrachoa introduction to satisfy the million bells craze. ‘MiniFamous Double Red’ gives gardeners the look of a petunia without the need to deadhead or fight the tobacco budworm battle. These flowers also perform well in hot weather, eventually trailing two feet beneath your baskets and containers.
3. Cuphea 'Sriracha Violet'
Although cuphea plants aren’t among the top ten in most landscapes, this low maintenance bedding plant might join your favorites list when you see its performance in scorching summer temperatures. The ‘Sriracha’ variety will draw all sorts of pollinators and hummingbirds to the garden with a myriad of delicate blossoms in the violet hue shown here, or in the pink or rose shades also available. Plants are bushy and compact, averaging 18 inches in height, just right for the middle of the border.
Gaura is an excellent wildflower in its own right, but breeders have improved on nature in the ‘Sparkle White’ variety. The All-America Selections organization recognized this gaura in 2014 as a winner for home gardens due to its branching and compact growth habit. A perennial hardy to zone 6, ‘Sparkle White’ has a very long blooming season, producing flowers on two-foot wands from late spring until first frost in its first year without deadheading or fertilizing.
A globe amaranth that is the first to be vegetatively propagated may not sound very exciting to gardeners who enjoy seed starting, but this method of production means that color and form will be of consistently high quality on every single plant for sale. Like other globe amaranth varieties, ‘Pinball’ gomphrena is drought tolerant and requires no staking or deadheading.
6. Impatiens 'SunPatiens Compact Hot Coral'
Some gardeners have given up on ever growing impatiens again due to downy mildew problems, but this impatiens hybrid doesn’t suffer from the disease. As the name implies, the ‘SunPatiens’ series doesn’t mind full sun exposure, as long as you provide consistent moisture. The electric tropical hues of this hot coral impatiens won’t fade in sun or shade.
The first penstemon to receive AAS recognition deserves a special place in your hummingbird garden. This zone 6 hardy perennial will rebloom if you provide deadheading to stimulate new growth. If your growing zone is too cold or your soil too heavy for the ‘Arabesque’ penstemon, grow it as an annual in the container garden.
A true tropical flower, pentas won’t tolerate a whiff of frost, but they will bloom their hearts out for butterfly visitors all summer. The two-foot tall plants of ‘Starcluster Rose’ will produce new flowers on top of spent blossom clusters, making deadheading unnecessary.
Gardeners with arbors and trellises that like the morning glory look but want blooms that stay open all day should try this new petunia introduction. A vining, trailing, upright growth habit allows gardeners to grow the plants upwards with the help of some staking. The fragrant blooms grow on plants that will bounce back from a light frost.
10. Rose 'Fiji'
A season-long bloomer that resists both black spot and mildew without the need for spraying? Yes, please. Even if your garden is filled to the brim with your favorite rose selections, you can find room for this compact 2½ foot shrub in a patio container.