HAMMOND — The 2013 gardening season sees five new bedding plants named All-America Selection winners. These include Profusion Double Deep Salmon zinnia, Profusion Double Hot Cherry zinnia, Pinto Premium White to Rose geranium, South Pacific Scarlet canna and Cheyenne Spirit echinacea (purple coneflower).
An abundance of salmon-colored double flowers make Profusion Double Deep Salmon zinnia an attractive consideration. And Profusion Double Hot Cherry zinnias offer vivid deep-rose double flowers. Plants are compact and grow well from late spring through fall. In trials, the large double blooms on both varieties hold color significantly better and later into the season than the comparisons. The bright foliage covers spent blossoms, giving a much fresher appearance without the need to deadhead. Mature plants are 8- to 14-inches tall and are perfect as a low- or medium-height divider.
Both these zinnias are outstanding garden performers and offer some disease resistance to both Alternaria leaf spot and powdery mildew, both problems in Louisiana landscapes in some years.
Geraniums do best in the late winter through spring and in fall in Louisiana. The new addition to the Pinto Premium series —Pinto Premium White to Rose — has numerous 5-inch blooms. Petals start out white, then deepen to rose-pink as flowers mature, giving an attractive bicolor effect. Dense, well-branched plants sport deep green leaves with darker zones that contrast beautifully with the light-colored flowers.
The South Pacific Scarlet canna grows from seed, not the typical tuber. It is more compact in habit and well suited for both landscape and container use. South Pacific Scarlet prefers warm and humid conditions. This variety is more vigorous, is more uniform and has more basal branching than Canna Tropical Red. Cannas do best in full sun planting locations.
The final new All-American flower winner for 2013 is Cheyenne Spirit purple coneflower. This variety has been performing great in trial gardens across the Southeast this year from the LSU AgCenter in Hammond to Texas A&M in Overton, Texas, to the Mississippi Agricultural & Forestry Experiment Station sites in Crystal Springs and Poplarville, Miss. The unique thing about this new purple coneflower is the assortment of mixed flower colors and the fact that it is a seed-originating variety.
With so many new echinacea on the market, it is sometimes hard to know where to begin. But this new variety combined with the award-winning, seed-propagated PowWow White and PowWow Wild Berry make great additions for growers, landscapers, retailers and home gardeners.
This stunning first-year-flowering echinacea captures the spirit of the North American plains by producing a delightful mix of flower colors from rich purple, pink, red and orange tones to lighter yellows, creams and white. This wide range of flower colors on well branched, durable plants are sure to please the color preferences of any gardener.
As an added bonus, Cheyenne Spirit does not require a lot of water and offers a wide-range of uses in a perennial border, in a mass landscape planting, in a butterfly garden or as a cut flower.
The LSU AgCenter Hammond Research Station evaluates many new and exciting flowers each season, including past and potential All-America Selection winners. The LSU AgCenter’s official AAS display garden is located at Burden Center in Baton Rouge.
You can see more about work being done in landscape horticulture by viewing the LSU AgCenter Hammond Research Station website at www.lsuagcenter.com/hammond.