Fashionistas have declared the trench coat as the perfect choice for early spring’s unpredictable weather and citrus hues as the hot colors of the season. Well, the Gardenistas are making their spring fashion forecasts too! Here’s the scoop for hot annuals for this year:
Dianthus: Spicy and fresh, dianthus are the perfect spring transition plants when it’s too chilly to plant most annuals, but tulips and daffodil bulbs have faded and left borders looking a little lifeless. Cold-tolerant dianthus can bridge the gap until the soil and sun have time to warm up. What’s hot? ‘Rose Lace’ Dianthus offers double flowered petals in a striking rose shade with a fine white edge! Another favorite is ‘Cherry Magic’, which boasts a trendy tie-dye mix of lavender and cherry.
Calibrachoa: Create lush hanging baskets with trailing masses of blooms elegant enough for a formal terrace but hardy enough for the back porch. A profusion of mini, petunia-like flowers will bloom throughout the season and cascade over the sides of baskets or decorative containers. Colors include blue violets, rosy reds, lemon yellows and classic white. Insider tip: the warm, terra cotta colored variety is particularly stunning
Bracteantha: Quirky and bright, bracteantha or “straw flower” offers an alternative style for the garden. Unusual, paper-like flowers are particularly striking in bright yellow. These plants can thrive in sunny spots that would leave other plants gasping. The blooms are beautiful in dried arrangements making bracteantha an all-season accessory for any gardener!
Angelonia: Flirty, feminine angelonia is a standout in borders, beds and mixed containers. Tougher than its airy, orchid-like flowers would lead you to believe, angelonia can take the summer heat and keep blooming. Look for the funky bi-color purple and white striped variety.
Salvia: Make a strong statement with salvia’s bold spikes of dramatic color. Salvia is beautiful when used as an accent plant for containers or in larger groups of color for the garden border. Choose from brilliant, hot reds or serene, cool blues – either one will attract the attention of butterflies and hummingbirds. A real head turner!
Coleus: This understated garden classic, known mostly for its brilliantly colored foliage and uniquely shaped leaves, is a must for your garden. Coleus leaves shine bright in shades such as burgundy, copper, lime green or deep plum can make an elegant mass planting or serve as a backdrop for trendy, showy blooms. Coleus doesn’t need the spotlight of full sun and will do better in shaded areas than many other plants.
Impatiens: Like a versatile wardrobe essential, impatiens are in fashion every year. Once the temps rise and the danger of frost is long gone, turn up the color with these favorites for borders, baskets and containers. Choose from blooms in classic sparkling white, soothing pastels or this year’s hot shades of tangerine and fuchsia. Their large, vivid blooms come in single or double flowered styles as well as the tropically exotic New Guinea varieties. Some will tolerate more sun than others, so check the labels before planting. This year’s trendy buy: the double-flowering varieties with miniature rose-like blossoms!
Though they look fancy, these annuals are not high-maintenance divas. For best results, simply plant them in your containers or in your garden beds with garden soil for flowers and vegetables and feed them with water soluble plant food every other week.
Superstars of the garden like these and many others are available at your local garden center.