As the new year begins, gardeners can look forward to being introduced to new plants . I've chosen three of the 2012 introductions from Proven Winners in the Annual, Perennial and Shrub categories. Take a look at these beauties, and then see if you can find space in your garden for some of these newbies
The Proven Winners brand is actually owned by three U.S. plant propagators who founded the Proven Winners brand in 1992. This company produces liners under the PW. trademark which are sold to wholesale growers to "finish" and then sell to garden centers across the U.S. and Canada. You can find the Proven Winners brand at most larger garden centers.
Proven Winners 2012 Top 3 Annuals
Verbena Superbena® Royale Iced Cherry
This new introduction is heat-tolerant and requires no deadheading. It is great for attracting butterflies. Hardy to zone 8, and blooms up until hard frost. Height is 4 to 6 inches, and spreads up to 24 inches.
Verbena 'Royale Iced Cherry"
Sweet Potato Vine Illusion® Garnet Lace I'm a huge fan of sweet potato vines. I especially like to mix them with other plants in a large container. Garnet Lace looks to be very promising. Sweet potato vines also make great annual groundcovers in the landscape. They love the heat and humidity, growing up to 3 feet a week in the Deep South, although cooler temperatures and low humidity cause them to stay more compact. They may be cut back at any time to keep them in check. These plants do well in full or partial sun. like to use these as a trailing foreground plant in a large container with ornamental grasses as a back drop.
Sweet Potato Vine "Garnet Lace"
Coleus Velvet Mocha My all-time favorite foliage plant is the coleus. There are so many colors and hues, from lime green to nearly black leaves. We have an outdoor living room on our deck that is fully shaded and I grow a dozen or more varieties of coleus in containers; they thrive in this environment. There are now "sun coleus" that will do well in sunny locations, too. Coleuses are generally grown for their foliage. As flowers appear the plants generally begin to degrade so remove the flowers as they appear to keep the foliage looking its best. Velvet Mocha is definitely on my shopping list for spring.
Coleus "Velevt Mocha"
Proven Winners 2012 Top Three Perennials
Clematis Niobe I can see this plant in my rose garden as a backdrop for my yellow roses. Deep red - almost burgundy - large blooms with medium green foliage. It climbs 8 to 10 feet in height, making this an excellent choice or climbing on a fence trellis or some other structure. It is hardy to zone 4a and is in the pruning category group 2. If you're not familiar with the groups, Clematis are placed into pruning groups (1, 2, or 3) based on bloom time, time of reblooming, and old wood/new wood blooming requirements. Most of the large-flowered clematis belong in pruning group 2 and flower in the spring on shoots from old wood and in the fall on new wood. The suggested pruning strategy is to cut back to 20 inches in Year 1, cut back to 30 inches in Year 2, and then prune to shape in the following years. Heavy pruning of mature plants may result in decreased blooming.
False Indigo DecadenceTM 'Blueberry Sundae' An old favorite that dates back to the Victorian era, Baptisia (commonly known as False Indigo) has been a foundation plant in many gardens for years, with deep blue blooms and blueish-green foliage. Blueberry Sundae grows to a height of 3 feet and does well in full to partial sun. This variety is ideal for compact spaces. Hardy to zone 4a.
Here's one for you daylily lovers. Deep purple with yellow centers. This plant grows to a height of over 2 feet, and starts blooming in midsummer up until frost. Hardy to zone 3a. Like most daylilies does well in full or partial sun.
Proven Winners 2012 Top 3 Shrubs
Hydrangea paniculata Bobo I'm amazed at the popularity of hydrangeas over the past few years. For the past 4 or 5 years, we've seen many introductions each year from which to choose. Another Victorian-era plant hydrangeas are the answer to many shade gardeners prayers. 'Bobo' will thrill you with huge cone-shaped white flowers that develop a pinkish hue in the fall. This is a dwarf specimen that only grows to a height of 30 inches. Unlike most hydrangeas soil pH does not affect the bloom color of this plant. It is hardy to zone 3a.
Hydrangea paniculata, Bobo
Forsythia Show OffTM Sugar Baby A sure sign that spring is here; the bloom of the Forsythia signals the start of many springtime garden tasks such as pruning roses or butterfly bushes. Unlike most forsythia this one is ideal for small spaces. It grows to a maximum height of 30 inches with a spread of 2 feet. This compact size makes it ideal as a border plant. Hardy to zone 4a. Prefers a good, loose soil, but is very adaptable. pH adaptable, air pollution tolerant, withstands city conditions. Pruning is seldom needed, but may be done immediately after flowering. Old stems can be cut to the ground and fertilize in spring.
Weigela Sonic BloomTM Pearl If you have a problem with deer you might want to give this Weigela a try. Resistant to deer, this shrub produces white flowers that turn to pink, and will rebloom until frost. it grows to a height and spread of 5 feet. Makes an ideal foiundation plant. Prefers well drained soil. If necessary, prune immediately after the spring bloom. Fertilize in early spring with a controlled-release fertilizer. Hardy to zone 4a.
Sonic Bloom "Pearl"
Whether you're building your garden from the ground up, or tending a mature landscape, I bet you could fit some of these new plants into your gardening plans for the coming year.
Photos courtesy of Proven Winners.
About Paul Rodman
Paul Rodman has been gardening for over 45 years. He is an Advanced Master Gardener, and American Rose Society Consulting Rosarian. He is President Emertius of the Western Wayne County Master Gardener Association in Wayne County, Michigan. He currently serves as the greenhouse chairman of this group. Rodman has amassed over 5500 volunteer hours in the Master Gardener program.
Rodman is the garden columnist for The News Herald newspaper, in Southgate, Michigan. He has also written for the Organic Gardening.com web site.
He is a certified Master Canner and has taught classes on Home Food Preserving for 7 years.
He has lectured on various gardening topics throughout southeastern Michigan.
His favorite pastime is teaching children about gardening. For the past several years he has conducted classes for second grade students teaching them about subjects ranging from vermi-composting to propagation.