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The Plant Medic


Keep an eye out for new varieties of flowers

Q. What trends are you seeing in horticulture and what new flower introductions look interesting to you this coming year?

A. I believe the trends in gardening are all about easy care, dwarf, and drought tolerant plants. There are many new plant introductions each year, so it is important to know that the following plants are just a few from a broad list that are out on the market for 2013.

It is important also to know that just because I mention a new variety; it doesn’t necessarily mean I endorse that variety, or the companies that sell the plants.

The “Pardon Me” line of Bee Balm, or Monarda, certainly looks interesting. These plants are meant for the front of the border, reaching only 12 inches in height. Monarda is a plant attractive to hummingbirds and butterflies. This Monarda is a Proven Winners introduction.

Echinacea “Cheyenne Sprit” is a 2013 all-America selections winner, and it is actually a blend of gold, yellow and red colors in drought tolerant plants for the garden. “Sombrero Lemon Yellow” is another of a long line of new Echinaceas. This selection has clear yellow flowers.

Daylilies have fallen a bit out of favor with home gardeners. “Primal Scream” is a new introduction from Sooner Farms with 7 1/2 -8 1/2 -inch, glimmering tangerine orange, gold dusted blossoms and green throats. The plants are 3 feet in height.

Abelia “Sunny Anniversary” is a deer-resistant, fragrant flowering compact shrub (3-4 feet in height). Abelias are probably underused in our area. Most Abelieas have pink flowers; this one has yellow-orange flowers.

Hydrangea paniculata “Firelight” is a panicle hydrangea with flowers that turn from white to pink to red. I really prefer panicle hydrangea for our area because they are just better adapted to our climate.

There are several new begonia varieties that will be out on the market. “Sparks Will Fly” is an interesting bedding type begonia with orange flowers for shady areas. “Great Balls of Fire” is a new interesting ivy geranium out for 2013. This variety has large double intensely pink-red flowers. “Santa Cruz Sunset” is a wings-type begonia with intensely crimson flowers – reportedly wind and rain tolerant.

There a loads of new petunias that will be offered to gardeners in 2013. “Trellis Pink” is unique because it will vigorously grow upwards on a trellis. It could be a real showstopper in the right situation.

Coleus is a well-adapted annual for northern Indiana gardens. “Chocolate Covered Cherry” coleus is a fire-pink and chartreuse selection that may or may not be that unusual. The name itself will probably sell this plant.

It has been awhile since a new Cleome (spider flower) introduction. “Senorita Blanca” is a cleome with sterile flowers – meaning no reseeding in the garden – with no thorns or spines. It is reportedly not “sticky” like traditional varieties.

Make sure to visit your local nurseries and garden centers that will carry new flowering plants for 2013.

The Plant Medic, written by Ricky Kemery, appears every other Sunday. Kemery is the extension educator for horticulture at the Allen County branch of the Purdue Extension Service. Send questions to