Just because something isn’t “new,” doesn’t mean it can’t be great in the landscape. So, we asked these growers what they don’t consider new, but you should still consider for a job.
Ken Ruch, George Didden Greenhouses: Dragon Wing begonias, Vinca rosea, petunias. For beds that are irrigated, we still strongly recommend regular wax begonias – a few new series of these over the years, but the old standbys work well too. I have not noticed a stand out in this category.
Donal Nichols, sales manager, Mobley Plant Farm: Alternanthera – ‘True Yellow’– A constant performer.
Angelonia ‘Serena’ Series – Low maintenance.
Begonia ‘Dragon Wing’
Begonia ‘Gryphon’ – A great foliage accent plant that works in the bed and container application.
Colocasia esculenta ‘Black Magic’ – A remarkable specimen and a popular choice.
Petunia ‘Wave Series’ – With the right care this variety puts on a show.
Caladiums – Add foliage with color, great varieties for sun and shade locations.
Geraniums – For container and bed designs.
Jim Clesen, Ron Clesen Ornamental Plants: Really old plants – natives, pure species or close cultivars. Some of the benefits to the landscaper are when planting there is limited bed prep – no mulching – minimal watering just for establishment – no fertilization – the cost savings continue. It doesn’t matter the extremities of an environment, there is a native plant that will work in the location. It doesn’t have to look like an open field of weeds. Designers are beginning to use natives in manicured designs. Heck, natives are the only plants that I know will survive the extremities of all regional weather. I mean, they have managed and survived for over 10,000 years.
If you have tried, and failed on angelonia, you have to try Serena angelonia. The same improvements have been made with Butterfly Pentas, New or Fresh Look series Celosia and Mecardonia GoldDust. Breeders are beginning to notice, and more importantly listen, to the landscape market.
Melanie Meszaros, sales manager, Y–C Nurseries: Alternanthera, lantana and angelonia for sure.
Steve Abruzzo, sales manager, Martinez Farms: White iceberg roses, ground cover roses, osteospermum hybrids, Anigozanthos, salvias, penstemon, lavenders, coprosma, dianellas, scaevola, select ornamental grasses. The basics like Rhaphiolepis, rosemary, pittosporum, agapanthus, boxwood, day lilies will always be mainstays as they are easy to grow.