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For landscapers who carve out a relatively small amount of research time in the season's busy schedule, it is possible to attain multitudes of insight about plants that cover the bases with fewer replacements. Although just a start, this feature highlights select new introductions for 2011 that have been trialed and tested for superior reliance and performance.

Plant Trends for 2011

By Don Eberly


With a pending spring revealing slowly-but-surely evolving budgets, the current economic situation is requiring landscape companies to find innovative ways to stretch installation and maintenance budgets. One method for decreasing plant and tree installations and minimizing unnecessary maintenance is to research the breeding and application benefits of new plants on the market.


Breeding companies and growers are producing wide-ranging plant collections, series and varieties in new and improved ways. Terra Nova Nurseries, for example, employs an entire breeding team to “breed-out” the otherwise unfavorable characteristics of certain plants. Terra Nova Nurseries is offering a range of new plants from Coreopsis and Echinacea to new Penstemon and Sedum. On the foliage front, the company features many selections from the ice-kissed Acanthus ‘Whitewater’ to new Hosta, Heuchera and Heucherella in remarkable shades.


Companies such as Cultivaris collaborate with plant breeders, growers, retailers and consumers on a daily basis. In part, the Cultivaris staff works with countless plant breeders around the globe, providing input, and helping them reach success on multiple levels. In short, this knowledge is not without a superlative level of understanding of which plants will yield successful landscapes for those who plant and manage them. 


These companies, and others like them, ultimately offer foliage plants to fit every need. For landscapers who carve out a relatively small amount of research time in the season’s busy schedule, it is possible to attain multitudes of insight about plants that cover the bases with fewer replacements. Although just a start, the following are select new introductions for 2011 that have been trialed and tested for superior reliance and performance.


 


 Plant name: Botanical — Echinacea ‘Daydream’; Common — Cone Flower
Trademark name / patent number: PPAF
Introduced by: Terra Nova Nurseries
Classification: Perennial
USDA Hardiness Zone(s): 4 to 9
Origin: Bred by Terra Nova Nurseries
Ornamental features: Part of the Dream™ Series for the landscape, ‘Daydream’ is a mid-size plant with fabulous yellow to soft-yellow flowers that bloom all summer long. Use en masse for the border, in a mixed bed, and as a stunning cut flower. The sweet fragrance is just right for a lazy summer afternoon.
Habit and growth rate: 26 inches tall by 15 inches wide
Culture: Full sun, well-drained soil, drought tolerant, and deer tolerant; attracts hummingbirds and butterflies.
Best use or placement(s): Beds, borders, hanging baskets, containers, en mass, etc.
Reasons why this plant is well-suited and beneficial for landscapers: Overlapping petals create a full-plate-size cone flower with a robust and attention-grabbing appearance.
Company name / plant credit: Terra Nova Nurseries
For more information: www.terranovanurseries.com


 


 Plant name: Botanical — Nepeta ‘Purple Haze’; Common — Catmint
Trademark name / patent number: PPAF
Introduced by: Terra Nova Nurseries
Classification: Perennial
USDA Hardiness Zone(s): 6 to 9
Origin: Bred by Terra Nova Nurseries
Ornamental features: This wonderful hybrid catmint will be a breathtaking element to any sunny landscape or garden. ‘Purple Haze’ forms a silver mat with purple-blue flower spikes that look like Buddleias. The plants are blooming and clean-looking all summer long. No maintenance is needed, because it never gets messy like some others on the market. Best of all, it can be used in the fronts of borders and mixed beds, as a ground cover on banks, or in a rock garden. Overall, it is a quite versatile plant.
Habit and growth rate: 7 inches tall by 30 inches wide
Culture: Full sun, well-drained soil, drought tolerant, deer tolerant; it also attracts hummingbirds and butterflies.
Best use or placement(s): Beds, borders, containers, en mass, etc.
Reasons why this plant is well-suited and beneficial for landscapers: It is the first-ever trailing Nepeta, unique in and of itself. 
Company name / plant credit: Terra Nova Nurseries
For more information: www.terranovanurseries.com


 


 Plant name: Botanical — Buddleia Buzz Series (Ivory, Magenta, Pink-Purple, Violet and Violet-Blue); Common — Dwarf Butterfly Bush
Trademark name / patent number: All Varieties PPAF
Introduced by: Cultivaris North America and sold by Plug Connection and Pacific Plug & Liner.
Classification: Shrub
USDA Hardiness Zone(s): 5 to 11
Origin: Hybridized by Thompson & Morgan Ltd., United Kingdom
Ornamental features: Beautiful large flowers on a compact, well-branched shrub that is ideally suited for smaller garden spaces and container use.
Habit and growth rate: Strong grower that ultimately reaches 3 to 5 feet in height by 3 to 4 feet in width.
Culture: Makes an excellent container plant in full sun with adequate moisture
Best use or placement(s): The first series of Butterfly Bush that is well-suited for front and mid-border use as well as being ideal in large containers.
Reasons why this plant is well-suited and beneficial for landscapers: Buddleia are usually such vigorous growers they overgrow their space very quickly.  Buddleia Buzz is much more restrained, offering landscape contractors a well-behaved plant that fills its allotted space without crowding out other nearby plants.
Any unique resistance: A hardy, disease-resistant series that performs well in a wide variety of conditions.
Company name / plant credit: Cultivaris North America
For more information: www.buzzbutterflybush.com, www.ppandl.com, www.plugconnection.com <ITAL]


 


 Plant name: Botanical Chrysocephalum Desert Flame; Common Desert Flame Yellow Buttons
Trademark name / patent number: PP19396
Introduced by: Plug Connection
Classification: Tender Perennial
USDA Hardiness Zone(s): 9 to 11
Origin: Developed by an innovative Australian breeding company, Floreta, after chief breeder Kerry Bunker spent time studying the plants in the Australian Outback. She determined that a breeding program with this genus could result in a durable, drought-tolerant and long-flowering ornamental that would be perfect in a wide range of garden environments.
Ornamental features: Beautiful low-growing silver foliage is covered spring through fall with rich, golden-yellow, button-like flowers. Drought-tolerant and easy to grow in any full sun location, it tolerates heat, dry or humid conditions and can be sheared back to renew its growth. 
Habit and growth rate: 8 to 12 inches tall by 18 to 24 inches wide
Culture: Full sun, drought tolerant once established.
Best use or placement(s): Perfect in front of borders, bedding, hanging baskets or containers. Beautiful in large groups and fast to establish itself.
Reasons why this plant is well-suited and beneficial for landscapers: Easy to grow and easy to maintain; its disease resistance and long-flowering season make it a natural choice in many landscapes.
Company name / plant credit: Cultivaris North America
For more information:  www.plugconnection.com, www.cultivaris.com <ITAL]

 


 


 Plant name: Botanical Erysimum hybrid Winter Series; Winter Joy, intense lilac-purple flower spikes; Winter Orchid, flowers open red and fade to deep orchid-purple; Winter Rouge, flowers open blood-red and fade to russet; Winter Sorbet, flowers open rust orange, then turn to lilac-purple; Winter Sun, flowers open canary yellow and fade to buttercream. Common Winter Hybrid Wallflower.
Trademark name / patent number: All varieties PPAF
Introduced by: Cultivaris North America
Classification: Tender Perennial
USDA Hardiness Zone(s): 8 to 11
Origin: Created by Germany-based InnovaPlant, and coming from the company’s ground-breaking intergeneric breeding program, which seeks to combine the best characteristics of the perennial Erysimum with the annual Cheiranthus varieties to provide a frost-tolerant early-spring through mid-summer flowering plant.
Ornamental features: Hybrid vigor, large flowers and excellent ornamental characteristics make this series suitable for an early spring landscape where flowering plants are needed up to the heat of summer; perfect pansy companion or replacement.
Habit and growth rate:  Upright, bushy habit 12 to 18 inches tall by 12 to 15 inches wide
Culture: Full sun with regular fertilization and watering.
Best use or placement(s): Excellent in mid-border plantings, beds and large containers; especially effective en mass for early spring.
Reasons why this plant is well-suited and beneficial for landscapers: Many early-spring plants are low-growing or spreading. This alternative series provides upright flower spikes that are much more interesting and attractive than snapdragons or pansies.
Company name / plant credit: Cultivaris North America
For more information: www.plugconnection.com, www.ppandl.com <ITAL]

 


 


 Trademark name / patent number: Supertunia® Vista Bubblegum Petunia ‘USPP17,730, Can. 2871
Introduced by: Proven Winners
Classification: Annual
USDA Hardiness Zone(s): Annual except in Zones 10 and 11
Ornamental features: This plant was bred to flower earlier, spread wider and grow taller than others in the series.
Habit and growth rate: 16 to 24 inches (height) and 18 to 24 inches (spacing)
Culture: Full sun, well-drained soil; moisture needed once to twice a week in the landscape.
Best use or placement(s): Beds, hanging baskets, containers with other vigorous plants, and en mass.
Reasons why this plant is well-suited and beneficial for landscapers: Landscapers will get more bang for their buck with this variety. One plant can cover up to 2 feet in width. Instead of planting five seed petunias in the space, similar coverage is available by planting one Supertunia® Vista Bubblegum.
Company name / plant credit: Proven Winners
For more information: www.provenwinners.com/professionals/landscapes<ITAL]


 


 Plant name: Botanical — Lobularia maritime hybrid; Common — Alyssum
Trademark name / patent number: Snow Princess® Lobularia USPPAF, CPBRAF
Introduced by: Proven Winners
Classification: Annual
USDA Hardiness Zone(s): Annual except in Zones 9 to 11
Ornamental features: White flowers, beautiful green foliage, a rewarding trailing habit.
Habit and growth rate: 4 to 8 inches (height) and 8 to 10 inches (spacing)
Culture: Full sun, well-drained soil; moisture needed once to twice per week in the landscape, low maintenance. Known for being an exceptional heat-tolerant Lobularia.
Best use or placement(s): Beds, hanging baskets, containers when planted with equally vigorous plants, en mass.
Reasons why this plant is well-suited and beneficial for landscapers: Don’t mistake Snow Princess for your old-fashion white alyssum that was planted as an edger in beds and borders. An amazing plant, it can tolerant heat unlike its ancestor and is like an old-fashion alyssum on steroids. This is one of those special landscape additions that will cover more space with fewer plants.
Company name / plant credit: Proven Winners
For more information: www.provenwinners.com/professionals/landscapes<ITAL]


 


 Plant name: Botanical Cleome hybrid; Common Spider Flower
Trademark name / patent number: Senorita Rosalita® Cleome USPP19,733, Can. 3290
Introduced by: Proven Winners
Classification: Annual
USDA Hardiness Zone(s): Annual except in zones 10 and 11
Ornamental features: Dark leaves on tall upright branches topped by clusters of bright lavender-pink flowers.
Habit and growth rate: 24 to 48 inches (height) and 20 to 24 inches (spacing)
Culture: Sun, well-drained soil. Water needed once to twice in the landscape per week. Drought tolerant once established.
Best use or placement(s): Beds, borders, containers, and en mass.
Reasons why this plant is well-suited and beneficial for landscapers: Unlike other cleome, Senorita Rosalita will not self seed, doesn’t get bare knees, isn’t sticky, and does not have thorns. Flowers are smaller than classic cleome, but this variety flowers all over the plant rather than just at the top. A great plant for adding height to garden beds. Deadheading is not necessary.
Company name / plant credit: Proven Winners
For more information: www.provenwinners.com/professionals/landscapes<ITAL]

 

 


 Plant name: Botanical Cercis canadensis; Common The Rising Sun™ Redbud
Trademark name / patent number: The Rising Sun™ Redbud PP#21,451
Introduced by: Jackson Nursery and Garden Debut
Classification: Tree
USDA Hardiness Zone(s): 4 to 9
Origin: Discovered by Ray and Cindy Jackson at Jackson Nursery.
Ornamental features: Pink flowers in spring are typical of eastern redbud. Striking new foliage that follows in spring in summer is tangerine-orange and gold that matures to lime-green leaves with golden freckles on coral petioles and yellow stems. Compact grower with rounded habit produces stunning display of stunning, ornamental foliage through hot summers with no burning even in full sun.
Habit and growth rate: 12 feet tall by 12 feet wide
Culture: Full sun to light shade, well-drained soil, drought tolerant once established.
Best use or placement(s): Specimens and groupings
Reasons why this plant is well-suited and beneficial for landscapers: Low maintenance with self branching habit. Orange and golden new foliage all spring and summer is unmatched among ornamental flowering trees for zone 4-9. Striking display continues through September in Zone 7. The Rising Sun™ Redbud is gaining high praises from nurseries across the nation as the ‘Gold Standard’ among redbuds.
Any unique resistance: Resistant to leaf scorch. Thrives in summer heat with no burning under normal irrigation.
Company name / plant credit: Greenleaf Nursery Company
For more information: www.gardendebut.com<ITAL]

   

 


 Plant name: Botanical Hemerocallis; Common Kokomo Sunset™ Daylily
Trademark name / patent number: Enjoy 24/7™ Kokomo Sunset™ Daylily ‘SPd 06-02’ PPAF
Introduced by: Greenleaf Nursery Company / Garden Debut
Classification: Perennial
USDA Hardiness Zone(s): 5 to 9
Origin: Hybridized by Dr. Ted L. Petit.
Ornamental features: Repeat flowers that begin early in the season and continue until November. The longest-blooming daylily this company has found to date. Masses of gold flowers with burgundy eyes in each are abundant through summer on these rust-resistant heat-loving perennials. This is the first release in the Enjoy 24/7™ The No Work Collection of Daylilies. Up to 20 flowers on one scape are formed, with multiple scapes present at one time in summer. Tetraploid flowers produce vivid colors and texture; vibrant blooms from May to November.
Habit and growth rate: 15 to 18 inches tall and wide
Culture: Full sun to light shade; well-drained soil. Tolerant of wide range of soil conditions.
Best use or placement(s): En mass, borders, containers, and landscape beds
Reasons why this plant is well-suited and beneficial for landscapers: Long-blooming displays of repeat flowers on low-maintenance perennials. While other daylilies are still trying to wake up for the season in May, these are already in full bloom and will continue until Thanksgiving.
Any unique resistance: Complete resistance to daylily rust.
Company name / plant credit: Greenleaf Nursery Company
For more information: www.GardenDebut.com


 


Don Eberly is the founder and co-owner of Eberly & Collard Public Relations, a national public relations firm specializing in the Home, Garden, Design, Landscape, and Agribusiness Industries. Eberly and his team can be reached at 404-574-2900 or deberly@eberlycollardpr.com

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