By Allen Owings, LSU AgCenter horticulturist
HAMMOND, La. – A few cool fronts have already moved across the state and we soon will have cooler temperatures that will favor the establishment and growth of cool-season flowers. Typically, the ideal planting time for most of these is mid-October through November. However, we already have about 20 percent of our cool-season bedding plants in the trial gardens at the LSU AgCenter Hammond Research Station.
Pansies continue to be our most popular landscape flower for late fall through early spring. But violas are gaining more market share and are being used more in home landscape plantings these days. The new pansy for 2012 is the Cool Wave series.
The development of Cool Wave pansies involved more than 10 years of breeding. They have a trailing habit and do well in baskets, containers and landscape beds. Proponents claim they have “twice the spread” and “double the color.”
Initial flower color offerings are yellow, violet wing, white and frost, and you can purchase a mixed combination. Cool Wave pansies have the bloom numbers and weather tolerance found in violas and an ideal medium-sized flower.
Another new trailing pansy for fall 2012 that is similar to the Cool Wave is the WonderFalls. These also are trialing types. The Wonderfall series is available in six colors. Wonderfalls are being advertised as having the largest flowers in any trailing pansy series.
You also may consider Amazon dianthus. These are a cool-season Louisiana Super Plant. These prolific flower producers should be planted in September, October or November. Flower heads are large and will last until mid-May. The series also has cut-flower potential. Flower colors include Rose Magic, Purple, Cherry and Neon Duo.
In addition, Camelot foxgloves, also known as digitalis, are relatively new to the market. These can be planted now. They produce 2-foot spikes of flowers in spring. Flowers bloom two to three weeks before the popular Foxy variety and last two to three weeks longer. Flowers in the Camelot foxglove are lavender, cream, rose and white. Lavender, cream and rose being the better-performing colors. Camelot foxgloves are also Louisiana Super Plants.
In addition to these great plants, try items like Redbor kale, Swan series columbine, Sorbet violas, Bouquet dianthus, flowering tobacco and stock if you are looking for something new to go with your traditional garden mums, petunias and pansies. All of these are great for statewide performance from now through spring.
You can see more about work being done in landscape horticulture by viewing the LSU AgCenter Hammond Research Station website. Also, like us on Facebook and typing Hammond Research Station in the search box. You can find an abundance of landscape information for both home gardeners and industry professionals.
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