What plants are hot plants for 2010? Here are our "best bets" to help you make the most of spring
If the random generic New Year represents a fresh start, what we’re christening this month is a shaken Etch-A-Sketch, a Jumbo Pencil erasure and an 11th-hour governor’s pardon all in one.
AND on steroids.
The year past was many things, few of which were of the “write home” variety – unless you make a habit of writing really depressing letters to the loved ones. A wretched economy teamed with crazy weather to send many hort businesses reeling. And the consensus feeling was that 2010 couldn’t arrive soon enough.
Well, now it’s here, signaling the start of the turnaround everyone is hoping for – and the leap forward the prudent-thinking garden center operators plan and then take.
While there will be all manner of new products for 2010, the ones that remain the lifeblood of the industry flow red – and yellow and green and blue and … well, practically every other hue you can do in the garden. With that in mind, we recently did some storming of the brain, as well as some tanking of the think and …
And then we said, “What the heck, why don’t we just suggest some great plants for 2010?”
Here are our best bets for the garden – and the garden center – listed in alphabetical order. Oh, and lest you think we’re just throwing things to see if they’ll stick, we’ve also offered evidence to show why our choices should be yours as well.
|Angelonia Serena Series
|Candy Store Phlox series
|Berry Bluegold blueberries
||Standing Ovation Serviceberry
||Hemerocallis Jersey Earlybird Cardinal
|Illusion Ipomoea series
||Echinacea ‘Hot Lava’
|Heuchera ‘Berry Smoothie’
||Crape myrtle Delta Jazz
|Banana Daiquiri Patio & Garden Orchid
||Miscanthus ‘Huron Star’
||Majestic Skies northern pin oak
||Voltage Yellow osteospermum
|Charisma Nuttal oak
||Heatwave Salvia series
|Euphorbia Breathless Bush
||Voltage Yellow osteospermum
Angelonia Serena series (Pan American Seed). Angelonia is quickly becoming a hot plant for home gardeners, and Serena is the first seed-grown angelonia on the market – an outstanding choice for gardens and mixed containers.
Bloomerang reblooming lilac (Proven Winners ColorChoice). There is a lot of buzz surrounding this – good and otherwise. Some gardeners are thrilled that breeders have found a way to lengthen the very-short bloom time of lilacs. Others have called it freakish or unseemly. No matter – people are talking.
Candy Store Phlox (Novalis). From Bubblegum to Lollipops, the Candy Store series of hardy phlox will bring months of tantalizing color to your customer’s summer garden. Clusters of deliciously scented flowers begin to bloom in early summer, filling the garden with fragrance until fall.
Decidedly one of the better bets for 2010 is the Alice alyssum series (Syngenta). This is a new variety of an old favorite that anyone can grow. At first it looks like an Easter basket variety, but as it grows the colors grow bolder, and it is hardy in the cold.
Edibles are hot. Edibles are hot. Edibles are hot—you get the picture. You’ll get long-lasting applause (and cold, hard cash) from your customers if you carry the following: “Every Season, Every Garden” blueberries such as Berry Bluegold (Fall Creek Farm & Nursery); the Culinary Couture line (Hort Couture); Fruit trees/shrubs such as the Heritage Raspberry (Eastern Shore/Hollybrook Orchard) and Plants That Work in the Kitchen line (Novalis). Did we say edibles are hot?
First Editions Standing Ovation Serviceberry (Bailey Nurseries). If your customer’s landscape needs some “oomph,” you can recommend this hot serviceberry, which features a narrow silhouette that adds height to any garden space. Its compact size and uniform habit make it a great choice for smaller yards.
Gosh, we haven’t given a heads-up about Beesia deltophylla (Monrovia) yet! Well, now we have. This plant is from Monrovia’s partnership with super-plant-man Dan Hinkley. And it’s cool-looking, too.
Hemerocallis gets a couple of nods this month. First, there’s Jersey Earlybird Cardinal (Centerton Nursery). Our managing editor, Sarah Martinez, is growing this plant in her own garden. She can attest to its nice foliage and beautiful blooms. In fact, she is attesting right now, even as you read. And what garden would be complete without an ‘Elegant Explosion’ (Walters Gardens)?
Illusion Ipomoea series (Proven Winners). Cool new colors and shapes bring more interest to an annual staple, and what annual staple couldn’t use a little more interest-bringing?
Just when you thought we were going to leave out Echinacea ‘Hot Lava’ (Terra Nova Nurseries), you find it here, smack in the middle of our list. ‘Hot Lava’ features wide petals of deep orange-red tint to a deeper red at the orange cone. Extra petals give this plant a fuller look, and super-strong stems make it a natural for cut flowers. Take a dip! Yes, it’s hot, hot, hot!
Kings, queens, dukes and even some earls will tell you: Heuchera ‘Berry Smoothie’ (Terra Nova Nurseries) is one smoothie operator in the landscape.
Leucanthemum ‘Banana Cream’ (Walters Gardens). You read it here first: Customers want to have “happy” gardens this spring, full of bright colors. This is as bright as it gets.
Mammoth pansies (Goldsmith Seeds) are to the garden what the Dallas Cowboys’ new home is to stadiums: Big and showy. Gotta love that.
New crape myrtles, such as Delta Jazz (Southern Living Plant Collection/PDSI). A versatile medium-size shrub, Delta Jazz features bright medium-pink blooms contrasting brilliantly with dark burgundy-capped leaves. Tough and colorful. A winner.
Orchids need to be on the list, for sure, especially the Banana Daiquiri Patio & Garden Orchid (Hort Couture). These orchids love the heat, direct sun and humidity.
Please, please, please don’t forget to point your customers toward Miscanthus ‘Huron Star’ (Walters Gardens) – this is one great ornamental grass.
Quit complaining that we’ve left out Mandevilla ‘Vivian’ (Southern Living Plant Collection/PDSI). How could anything so prolifically pink be left out of any list of important/sellable plants – especially during this, the happy garden year?
R is for roses, as in the following “all the rage” varieties you should sell at your store: Young Lycidas (David Austin Roses), Easy Does It (Weeks Roses), Monkey Business (Jackson & Perkins), White Out (Conard-Pyle) and Next Generation Flower Carpet Amber (Anthony Tesselaar).
R is also for reasons we like the aforementioned roses: Young Lycidas is one good-looking shrub rose with its magenta-red blooms. Easy Does It is a 2010 AARS winner and features delectable colors of mango orange, peach pink and ripe apricot. Your customers will go bananas over the brightly colored Monkey Business, J&P’s 2010 floribunda of the year. White Out is from the same breeder as the remarkable Knock Out; it evokes the beauty of species roses — masses of single, simple blooms—with the vigor and disease resistance of modern hybrids. And each Flower Carpet Amber is covered in a mass explosion of soft orange yellow blooms, aging to soft pink with a blush of peach – a truly stunning plant.
Sunpatiens (Sakata). This durable plant takes the sun/heat. It was a big draw for Home Depot – and now is no longer exclusive to that chain.
Trees remain oh-so-very-important to garden center operators – the prudent ones, anyway. All retailers should be prudent and continue encouraging customers to plant trees this year. Doing so helps the environment and the nursery industry. And encouraging customers to buy Majestic Skies northern pin oak (Bailey Nurseries) makes you look all the wiser.
Unless you’re, like, just totally square, you’ll be rounding up beaucoup quantities of Baptisia australis to sell this spring. The 2010 Perennial Plant of the Year, baptisia – a.k.a. blue false indigo or wild indigo – is one of the more adaptable native species.
Voltage Yellow osteospermum (Ball FloraPlant). This new introduction is ideal for large baskets and containers – it’s the first osteo in bloom and the last osteo out of bloom.
We think that we shall never see a poem as lovely as this tree: Charisma Nuttal oak (Monrovia). Fantastic fall foliage color. That’s three F’s and a C – reminiscent of my oldest son’s first college grade report. He got A’s later in life. This plant gets A’s now.
X-Men … World … of calamitous developments … The category here is “Series.” And one of the best around is the Heatwave Salvia series (Monrovia). This plant is drought-tolerant and colorful. A winner.
Yale really likes Euphorbia Breathless Blush (BallFloraPlant), the first euphorbia with red-flushed leaves and pink-flushed flowers. It can be used alone or in combinations, as well as for holiday gift planters. Maybe that’s why Yale really likes it.
Zahara series of zinnia (Pan American Seed). With the largest flowers and most vivid colors (six in all, plus a mix), Zahara zinnias are sure to attract tons of attention.
Sources: Anthony Tesselaar: tesselaar.com; Bailey Nurseries: baileynurseries.com; BallFloraPlant: ballfloraplant.com; Centerton Nursery: centertonnursery.com; Conard-Pyle: conard-pyle.com; David Austin Roses: davidaustinroses.com; Eastern Shore/Hollybrook Orchard: Fall Creek Farm & Nursery: fallcreeknursery.com; Goldsmith Seeds: www.goldsmithseeds.com; Hort Couture: hortcoutureplants.com; Jackson & Perkins: jacksonandperkins.com; Monrovia: Monrovia.com; Novalis: novalis.com; Pan American Seed: panamseed.com; Proven Winners: provenwinners.com; Sakata: sakata.com; Southern Living Plant Collection/PDSI: southernlivingplants.com; Syngenta: syngenta.com; Terra Nova Nurseries: terranovanurseries.com; Walters Gardens: waltersgardens.com; Weeks Roses: weeksroses.com