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AgCenter names top bedding plants for 2015

News Release Distributed 11/14/14

By Allen Owings

LSU AgCenter horticulturist

HAMMOND, La. – Since the debut of a landscape horticulture research and extension program at the LSU AgCenter Hammond Research Station eight years ago, we have continued to expand the gardens supporting research. One of the largest efforts each year is evaluating new annual warm-season bedding plants and perennial flowers in the sun garden and shade garden.

Most gardeners realize many new plants are introduced to the marketplace each year. Some perform well in our southern Louisiana heat and humidity, and some do not. Efforts at the Hammond trial gardens help nursery growers, commercial landscapers, retail garden center owners and employees, Master Gardeners and home gardeners by providing information on the best-performing of these new plants. Some evaluated plants may eventually become Louisiana Super Plants.

The top 10 new bedding plant varieties for 2015 that were proven best in Hammond landscape trials in 2014 are Arrabonna Red celosia, Bounce series impatiens, RioGrande series purslane, Mayan series ruellia (Mexican petunia), Sombrero Adobe Orange echinacea (coneflower), Lime Sizzler hamelia (firebush), Cannova series canna, Titan Romance vinca, Embers Wish salvia and Marquee Blonde Bombshell coleus.

Arrabonna Red celosia is a well-branched variety with orangy-red flowers. Plants produce a plume-type flower and hold up well in south Louisiana landscapes.

One of the most nationally anticipated new bedding plants for 2015 is the Bounce series of hybrid impatiens. These new hybrid impatiens are resistant to impatiens downy mildew. Bounce impatiens will be 18-inches tall in the landscape. Available flower colors include cherry, lilac, pink flame, white and violet.

RioGrande purslane is a new series with larger flowers. Available colors are orange, magenta, scarlet, white and yellow. A ground cover habit makes this plant ideal for the front of a full-sun flower bed.

The new Mexican petunia was developed by the Institute of Food and Agricultural Services at the University of Florida and was released in 2013. These are the Mayan series, which include Mayan Purple, Mayan White and the new Mayan Pink. Unlike old Mexican petunia varieties, these plants do not produce seed and will stay contained in garden beds.

Sombrero Adobe Orange is a new good-performing orange bloomer in the vegetatively propagated series of Sombrero coneflowers from Darwin Perennials. Plants bloomed well spring through fall in AgCenter trials and are comparable to Sombrero Salsa Red in Louisiana landscape performance.

Lime Sizzler is a variegated-foliage firebush from Greenleaf Nursery. It is a perennial in Louisiana and is great for hummingbirds and butterflies in fall.

The Cannova series of seed-propagated canna come in four colors – red shades, yellow, rose and bronze scarlet. These smaller-growing canna for the landscape are retail display-friendly for garden centers and size-friendly for growers.

Titan Romance Mix is a new variety in this popular vinca series from PanAmerican Seed. Flower colors in this uniform blend are rose halo, icy pink and pure white.

Embers Wish salvia is a new perennial salvia in the Southern Living Plant Collection and the Sunset Western Garden Collection. This variety has bright coral flowers on a vigorous-growing plant. This salvia is a perennial in Louisiana.

Marquee Blonde Bombshell coleus is part of the new Marquee series from Burpee Home Gardens for 2015. This variety can be grown in sun or shade and flowers late in the season.

Some of the honorable mention winners in “new for 2015” variety trials were Love and Wishes salvia (a cousin of the winning Embers Wish), Flash Mob Magentacular and Flash Mob Pinkceptional petunia (Burpee Home Gardens), Vintage series achillea (yarrow), the Bondi series scaevola (available in white and blue), Bounce series impatiens (the larger version of the new Bounce series), Lucky Lavender lantana and Starcluster pentas.

The LSU AgCenter works with many national companies in evaluation and trials on new and existing ornamental plant varieties. We are also now participating in the National Plant Trials Database, which is a new system of online reporting available for trial gardens around the country. This allows comparing performance across regions and provides a way for industry professionals to have access to all national trial garden data.

You can see more about work being done in landscape horticulture by visiting the LSU AgCenter Hammond Research Station website. Also, like us on Facebook. You can find an abundance of landscape information for both home gardeners and industry professionals at both sites.

Rick Bogren

Last Updated: 11/14/2014 9:53:36 AM

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