Johnny Morgan | 1/4/2011 1:08:25 AM
The LSU AgCenter will unveil the first of a series of Louisiana Super Plants in October, according to Regina Bracy, resident coordinator at the AgCenter’s Hammond Research Station.
“The Louisiana Super Plant program is an educational and marketing campaign that highlights tough and beautiful plants that perform well in Louisiana landscapes,” Bracy said. “These plants have a proven track record, having gone through several years of university evaluations and observations.”
Bracy said the theme of the Louisiana Super Plants program is “university tested and industry approved.”
She said each spring and fall LSU AgCenter horticulturists will unveil a list of Louisiana Super Plants. The LSU AgCenter will promote Louisiana Super Plants to generate interest and awareness.
Bracy said the homeowner and professional alike can benefit from using Louisiana Super Plants for a successful landscape.
“It’s tough to become a Louisiana Super Plant. Each Super Plant must have at least 2 years of rigorous evaluations and have a proven track record under north and south Louisiana growing conditions,” she said.
Bracy said Super Plants must prove hardy across the state and must be easily produced and available for all industry wholesalers and retailers to market and sell.
Allen Owings, LSU AgCenter horticulturist at the station, said the Louisiana Super Plant selection committee, which is composed of LSU AgCenter research and extension personnel, selects plants based upon observations made in replicated plots and demonstration trials across the state.
“The Louisiana Super Plant advisory committee, composed of green industry personnel – producers, retailers and landscapers – from across the state, meets with the plant selection committee for further scrutiny of the plants’ landscape ability and marketability,” he said.
This selection process gives each Super Plant the combined rating of “university tested and industry approved.”
Owings said the Louisiana Super Plants program began in 2009 as a marketing program specific to Louisiana.
“Louisiana’s heat and humidity are tough on plants, and most plants recommended for northern and western locations will not perform well here,” he said.
“What we’re doing with the program is identifying superior plants that perform well in all areas of the state,” Owings said. “We will introduce about five plants per year, and these will be promoted as Louisiana Super Plants and marketed through retail establishments.”
Funding for the Louisiana Super Plants project is provided through the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry with USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant Program funds.
For more information on the landscape horticulture research efforts at the LSU AgCenter’s Hammond Research Station or the Louisiana Super Plants’ program, contact the station at 985- 543-4125 or visit www.lsuagcenter.com/Hammond.