LSU AgCenter names spring Super Plants

Evolution Violet Salvia.JPG thumbnail

Evolution Violet salvia provides abundant flowers spring through fall on compact plants. Photo by Allen Owings

Serenita Raspberry Angelonia.jpg thumbnail

Serenita Raspberry angelonia offers a unique flower color. Photo courtesy of Ball Seed

(04/15/16) HAMMOND, La. – The LSU AgCenter has announced two new Louisiana Super Plants for spring 2016.

Now in its sixth year, the LSU AgCenter Louisiana Super Plants program has named more than 30 great landscape plants as selections for home gardeners in Louisiana, said AgCenter horticulturist Allen Owings.

“The goal of this program has been to identify and promote exceptional plants that perform well in Louisiana,” Owings said. “Some of these are new varieties and some are older varieties with a prior proven track record.”

The AgCenter is introducing two new Super Plants for spring 2016– the Evolution series salvia and Serenita Raspberry angelonia.

“A salvia that is not necessarily new but lesser known is the Salvia farinacea series Evolution,” Owings said. They include Evolution White and Evolution Violet, both grown from seed.

In the landscape, plant these varieties in a well-drained bed in a full to mostly sun location 14 to 16 inches apart. Container growing is also an option.

Plants of the white-flowering variety grow to 10-12 inches tall, while the violet-blooming variety will grow to 14 inches tall, Owings said. Flowers are abundant on the tight-foliage canopy from late spring through first killing frost.

“Pollinators love these plants,” he said.

When spring-planted and in a well-drained bed, plants can be perennial after winters of only light frosts and freezes. Deadheading will keep plants blooming more prolifically.

Lower growing, blooms spring through fall and compact habits make these two varieties super.

Angelonia, also called summer snapdragon, has become one of the most popular summer bedding plants, Owings said.

These are generally considered annuals and work in full sun and dry landscapes, he said, adding that a common problem with angelonias is over-irrigation.

The Serenita series is the smaller-growing version of the Serena variety, which has previously been named a Louisiana Super Plant.

“We chose the Serenita Raspberry because of its unique flower color,” Owings said. “Raspberry blooms are not available in any other-seeded type angelonia.”

Plant angelonia in midspring around vinca-planting time – late April to early May.

Serenita Raspberry is a compact grower, reaching about 12-14 inches tall as compared to the 16-inch-tall Serena series. Space plants 10-12 inches apart in the bed.

The LSU AgCenter, working with the Louisiana Nursery and Landscape Association, developed the Super Plants program to meet the need for a state-based program that uses university research to identify and promote exceptional plants, Owings said. The AgCenter Hammond Research Station, along with the School of Plant, Environmental and Soil Sciences, leads the program.

Each Super Plant must have at least two years of rigorous evaluations and a proven track record under north and south Louisiana growing conditions, he said. They must prove hardy across the state and be easily produced and available for all nursery and landscape industry wholesalers and retailers to market and sell.

Louisiana Super Plants are selected a year or two in advance of a public announcement through a selection process involving LSU AgCenter horticulture faculty and members of the Louisiana nursery and landscape industry.

“The program results in home gardeners having an increased awareness of better-performing landscape plants,” Owings said.

Louisiana Super Plants are “university tested and industry approved,” he said. The two Louisiana Super Plants for spring 2016 along with all the past selections can be chosen to make great, colorful warm-season and cool-season Louisiana landscapes.

Additional warm-season Louisiana Super Plant flowers are BabyWing begonias, Bandana lantanas, Butterfly pentas, Little Ruby alternanthera (Joseph’s coat), Senorita Rosalita cleome, Serena angelonia, Luna hibiscus (rose mallow), Kauai torenia (wishbone flower), Mesa gaillardia, Homestead Purple verbena, Fireworks fountain grass and Henna coleus.

Louisiana Super Plant shrub selections from prior years are Aphrodite althea (rose of Sharon), Belinda’s Dream rose, Conversation Piece azalea, Drift roses, Frostproof gardenia, Penny Mac hydrangea, ShiShi Gashira camellia, Flutterby Petite Tutti Fruitti Pink buddleia (butterfly bush), rabbiteye blueberries and Leslie Ann camellia.

Louisiana Super Plant trees are Shoal Creek vitex (chaste tree), Southern sugar maple, willow oak and Evergreen sweetbay magnolia.

4/15/2016 8:31:15 PM
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