Enhance your landscape with Louisiana Super Plants

Richard Bogren, Owings, Allen D.

Plant Swan columbine in fall for a gorgeous display of blooms February through May. (Photo by Allen Owings, LSU AgCenter)

Rabbiteye blueberries are a Louisiana Super Plant and are best planted in fall. (Photo by Allen Owings, LSU AgCenter)

Sorbet violas are among the most popular cool-season flowers in the LSU AgCenter Louisiana Super Plant program. (Photo by Allen Owings, LSU AgCenter)

News Release Distributed 10/30/15

By Allen Owings

LSU AgCenter horticulturist

HAMMOND, La. – The LSU AgCenter’s Louisiana Super Plants program is completing its sixth year of plant announcements. The objective of this program is to identify and promote exceptional plants that perform well in Louisiana landscapes.

The program has led to a list of the most highly recommended landscape plants for Louisiana. All Louisiana Super Plants have been proven in LSU AgCenter landscape trials. Plants are low-maintenance and easy-care and have fewer disease and insect issues.

The first plants in the program were named in fall 2010. Each year, spring and fall selections are announced. 2015 Super Plants for this fall are Homestead Purple verbena and Leslie Ann camellia. The spring 2015 selections were Henna coleus and Fireworks pennisetum (fountain grass).

The Louisiana Super Plants program has three parts. The first identifies outstanding plants. The second makes sure the plants are available at retail nurseries and garden centers. The third promotes the plants to Louisiana gardeners.

Each Super Plant must have at least two years of rigorous evaluations and have a proven track record under north and south Louisiana growing conditions. Louisiana Super Plants must prove hardy across the state and must be easily produced and available for all nursery and landscape industry wholesalers and retailers to market and sell. A plant cannot become a Super Plant until it has been in landscape trials and in the marketplace for at least two years.

Louisiana Super Plants are selected a year or two in advance of public announcement. A selection process involving LSU AgCenter horticulture faculty and members of the Louisiana nursery and landscape industry makes the program “university tested and industry approved.”

The program results in home gardeners having an increased awareness of better-performing landscape plants. Louisiana Master Gardeners are among the most enthusiastic supporters of the Louisiana Super Plant program. In addition, garden center owners say increased sales result when they pay attention to marketing and prominently displaying and showcasing Louisiana Super Plants.

Bedding plants are the most popular plants in the program. Cool-season and warm-season flowers have been named Louisiana Super Plants. Trees and shrubs are also named each year.

Cool-season flowers named Louisiana Super Plants are Amazon dianthus, Swan columbine, Diamonds Blue delphinium, Redbor kale, Sorbet violas and Camelot foxglove. Warm-season flowers include BabyWing begonias, Bandana lantanas, Butterfly pentas, Little Ruby alternanthera (Joseph’s coat), Senorita Rosalita cleome, Serena angelonia, Mesa gaillardia (blanket flower), Luna hibiscus (rose mallow) and Kauai torenia (wishbone flower).

Louisiana Super Plant shrubs include rabbiteye varieties of blueberries, Aphrodite althea (rose of Sharon), Belinda’s Dream rose, Conversation Piece azalea, Drift roses, Frostproof gardenia, Penny Mac hydrangea, ShiShi Gashira camellia and Flutterby Petite Tutti Fruitti Pink buddleia (butterfly bush).

Louisiana Super Plant trees are Shoal Creek vitex, Southern sugar maple, willow oak and evergreen sweetbay magnolia.

The Louisiana Super Plants program is proving to be a marketing plan that works. More Louisiana Super Plants for 2016 are coming next year.

Now is a great time of the year to add cool-season flowers, trees and shrubs to your landscape. It would be better if you add LSU AgCenter-recommended plants into what could be an award-winning landscape at the same time.

You can see more about work being done in landscape horticulture by visiting the LSU AgCenter Hammond Research Station website. Also, like us on Facebook. You can find an abundance of landscape information for both home gardeners and industry professionals at both sites.

Rick Bogren

10/30/2015 9:04:05 PM
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