We gardeners get excited when growers introduce new plants each spring, and 2013 is bringing a garden-full of beautiful, easy-to-grow flowers from Proven Winners. Read on for our fabulous favorites–and why not grab your garden journal to make notes, so you’ll be ready when these plants arrive in stores? (Dates and selections will vary, depending on your local weather and grower availability.)
Keep your garden “in the pink” all summer with Supertunia Vista Bubblegum, shown above. These disease-resistant petunias crave at least 6 hours of direct sun a day and produce blooms until frost. Feed them regularly to keep the huge flowers coming. The plants trail up to 60” in baskets and containers and are hardy to zones 10a and b and 11a and b. Top dress the plants with a slow-release fertilizer when you bring them home, and feed regularly with a water-soluble fertilizer throughout the growing season. Cut them back in July, by no more than 20%, and re-apply the slow release fertilizer.
Blue is a hard color to find in the garden, since many so-called blue plants are really shades of purple or lavender. Proven Winners’ Blue My Mind is out to change that with true-blue, “blow your mind” color. This Evolvulus is heat and drought tolerant, with fuzzy, silver-green foliage. If you’re a Southern gardener, you may already grow Evolvulus, but thanks to improvements in the plants’ growth habit and flowering, now northerners can grow them, too. Blue My Mind is hardy in zones 9a, 9b, 10a, 10b, 11a and 11b. The plants love hot weather and full sun, and need regular watering until they’re established. They reach 6-12” high and trail up to 24” in containers, or spread 12-24″ in beds. Plant after all danger of frost.
Superbells Tangerine Punch and Superbells Pink Gem are exclusive to Home Depot for 2013. Tangerine Punch and Pink Gem are easy to mistake for baby petunias, but they’re actually Calibrachoas covered with hundreds of small flowers from early spring to frost. Hummingbirds find them irresistible. The plants trail up to 36” from window boxes and other containers and are hardy to zones 9a, 9b, 10a, 10b, 11a, and 11b. For best results, grow Tangerine Punch, Pink Gem, and their Superbells relatives in containers with good drainage. Give them full sun, and feed once a month. You won’t have to deadhead, or remove the faded flowers, as the plants are self-cleaning. But if you wish, you can prune the stems lightly and occasionally to encourage more branching and more blooms.
If tangerine isn’t your favorite flavor, how about lemon? Superbells Lemon Slice has unique pinwheel flowers with alternating pie-shaped slices of white and yellow. Like other Calibrachoas, Lemon Slice wants sun and a container or landscape bed with excellent drainage. It’s also hardy to zones 9a and b, 10a and b, and 11a and b. Wait until all danger of frost has passed before planting.
Don’t miss Velvet Skies, a mixed container of Proven Winners flowers in shades of lavender and purple. Look for these as individual plants or pre-planted containers; selections in stores will vary. Velvet Skies is made up of Supertunia Mini Silver petunias; Supertunia Royal Velvet petunias; and Blushing Princess Lobularia. The plants, all of which are hardy to zones 9a and b, 10a and b, and 11a and b, attract butterflies and hummingbirds. Give them full sun and regular water. Top dress with a slow-release fertilize when you bring the plants home, and in May, start feeding with a water-soluble fertilizer every two weeks. By July, cut them back by no more than 20% and re-apply a slow-release fertilizer.
One of the splashiest flowers hitting stores in 2013 is Superbells Pomegranate Punch. Like other Proven Winners calibrachoas, it’s hardy to zones 9 a through 11b. This eye-catcher has deep, rose-red blooms and dark-red centers. The plants have a trailing habit, so use them in hanging baskets, window boxes, and other containers. They need good drainage and full sun. Proven Winners’ calibrachoas don’t require deadheading (that is, pinching off the dead flowers to keep the blooms coming), but you can trim them occasionally to keep them full and bushy.
Verbena Superbena Royale Red is hardy to garden zones 8a to 11b. Give it sun and average water, and it blooms vigorously from planting until frost. This plant is also a great spiller/trailer for containers and baskets. It’s part of the Superbena series of plants that are bred to be exceptionally vigorous, heat tolerant, and mildew resistant. It’s also an annual, so wait until there’s no chance of frost before planting it.
The brilliant flowers on Royale Red don’t need deadheading, although you can trim the plants to encourage more branches with more blooms. Royale Red doesn’t need especially rich soil; an application of slow release fertilizer or some compost will keep it happy. If you enjoy watching wildlife, you’ll find it’s a virtual butterfly magnet.
Superbells Strawberry Punch is another easy-to-grow calibrachoa covered in hundreds of tiny, petunia-like blossoms. The flowers are two-toned, with rich pink petals and deep, strawberry-colored centers. Hummingbirds love them, and the sun-loving plants are very heat tolerant.
Strawberry Punch has a mounding, trailing growth habit, so it’s another good choice for pots, hanging baskets, and window boxes. Make sure the plants have good drainage. Water when the top of the soil feels dry, and give the plants full sun to keep the flowers coming. The stems trail or spill up to 36″ as plants grow 8-12″ tall.
Images: Proven Winners/Supertunia Vista Bubblegum; Blue My Mind; Superbells Tangerine Punch; Superbells Lemon Slice; Velvet Skies; Royale Red; Strawberry Punch