Beat the Heat

Jennifer Polanz
Bring customers back in during the dog days of July and August by promoting annuals that will survive through the summer, and some even into fall. Give them the tools they need to switch out leggy hanging baskets and mixed containers, as well as droopy and dead border plantings and flower beds. Here are some great examples of plants that do the hard work of surviving summer.

Dipladenia Madinia Coral Pink, Pentas BeeBright Violet, Hypoestes Hippo Red, Bidens Campfire Fireburst

Angelonia AngelMist Bluebird, Verbena EnduraScape Pink Bicolor, Catharanthus Pink Soiree Ka-wa-i-i, Scaevola Surdiva White Improved

Ball FloraPlant
Verbena EnduraScape earned its All-America Selections award last year (the Pink Bicolor one pictured) for its toughness during the hottest days of summer, as well as its ability to endure (hence the name) cold temperatures down to the low teens. The series features 10 high-octane varieties, including a new Blue Improved for 2018 retail. The series offers a full habit with high bloom count in gallon containers and has excellent powdery mildew resistance.

The AngelMist Angelonia series is the first large-flowering spreading angelonia and it shows off big blooms to create an impact in baskets or in the ground. This super-spreading variety is resistant to extreme heat, humidity and drought, making it a great choice for summer replacements. New for 2018 is Bluebird, pictured here.

Proven Winners
How’s this for brightening up a classic? Hypoestes Hippo Red (and its counterpart Rose) is heat tolerant, can be used in sun or shade, is easy maintenance-wise and can even be used as a houseplant. Its speckled red and dark green foliage steals the show and can accent existing containers or landscapes. Talk about versatile. These varieties are new for retail in 2018.

Outshine the sun with Campfire Fireburst Bidens, a long-blooming, heat-tolerant, easy plant that can be used in containers, hanging baskets and in the ground. And don’t forget to mention to customers that bidens are great for attracting bees!

Suntory Flowers
Introduced a couple of years ago at Spring Trials, the Soiree Ka-wa-i-i Catharanthus collection is a heat-loving, micro-blooming catharanthus that will keep its shape without getting leggy all summer long. These are recommended for all types of containers, like hanging baskets, mixed containers and window boxes. The collection includes Coral, Lavender, Pink (pictured), Pink Peppermint and Pure White.

A classic from Suntory Flowers, the Surdiva Scaevola series features exceptional heat tolerance, offering continuous blooms throughout the summer. A versatile plant, these scaevolas can be used in hanging baskets, mixed containers, window boxes and in the landscape. They have a mounding and semi-trailing habit, and come in Classic Blue, Classic Light Blue, White Improved (pictured), Classic Pink, Blue Violet, Fashion Pink and Sky Blue.

Syngenta Flowers
A new addition to the BeeBright Pentas series for 2018, Violet features a bright hue that not only attracts bees and butterflies, but also beats the heat. Bright, violet stars sit on top of green foliage that spreads 12 to 14 in., creating colorful borders throughout the summer season. Violet joins other BeeBright colors Red, Pink, White and Lipstick.

Syngenta added Coral Pink to its Madinia Dipladenia lineup, which also includes Deep Red, Hot Pink, Pink and White. These plants feature beautiful, trumpet-like flowers and extreme heat tolerance, making them great replacements in the summer. Each variety has excellent disease resistance that ensures limited leaf drop and blooming all season long. GP