Allen D. Owings | 3/25/2009 8:15:43 PM
Athens Select is a plant evaluation program that measures a variety’s heat and humidity tolerance. Founded in 1999 at the University of Georgia, the program includes trials at the LSU AgCenter’s Burden Center in Baton Rouge and the Hammond Research Station in Hammond.
Although Louisiana has much more heat and humidity than Georgia, the vast majority of the Athens Select plants do well in LSU AgCenter landscape plant evaluations, according to AgCenter horticulturist Dr. Allen Owings.
The horticulturist lists the many varieties and their common or product names:
Abutilon: Fairy Coral Red.
Acalypha (also called copper plant): Bourbon Street.
Alternanthera hybrids (also called Joseph’s coat): Gail's Choice; Red Threads; Summer Flame.
Begonia: Bonita Shea.
Cleome: Linde Armstrong.
Coleus: Gold Brocade; Mariposa; Red Ruffles.
Cuphea rosea (also called creeping Mexican heather): Plum Mist.
Duranta: Cuban Gold.
Heliotropium amplexicaule (clasping heliotrope): Azure Skies.
Hibiscus: Panama Bronze; Panama Red.
Iochroma cyaneum: Royal Queen Purple.
Lantana hybrids: Athens Rose; New Gold.
Pennisetum purpureum: Prince; Princess.
Pentas lanceolata: Stars & Stripes.
Ruellia elegans: Ragin Cajun.
Scaevola (also called fan flower): Cajun Blue.
Setcreasea pallid (also called purple heart): Blue Sue.
Strobilanthes dyerianus (also called Persian Shield).
Turnera: El Dorado.
Verbena hybrids: Homestead Purple; Homestead Carpet Red; Ron Deal.
Hypericum x moserianum Tricolor (also known as St. Johnswort).
Owings says some of these plants may sound familiar; for example, New Gold lantana and Homestead Purple verbena were state-recommended winning plants in Louisiana Select trials. Red Ruffles Improved coleus is sold in Louisiana under the name New Orleans Red. Also, Athens Rose lantana has been a top performer in LSU AgCenter landscape evaluations.
Look for Athens Select plants at retail garden centers or visit the Athens Select Web site for photos and additional information. Some of these plants are also being promoted in the new Southern Living plants program.
Editor: Mark Claesgens
The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture