July 2013

Pink Zazzle gomphrena dazzles

Pink Zazzle gomphrena. (C) Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp

I’m just back from the country’s largest horticulture trade show in Columbus, Ohio, and am full of plant lust.

In the annual category, the showstopper this year was the sun-loving Pink Zazzle (Gomphrena), which at first glance looks like a dahlia, mum or perhaps a Stokes’ aster (Stokesia).

Pink Zazzle gets up to 16 inches tall and has some of the fuzziest leaves you’ll find on any plant. The flowers are about 3 inches wide and reportedly hold their form well.

Pink Zazzle gomphrena has gold flecks at the tops of petals.. (C) Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp

The tips of the petals have just a hint of gold. The long-lasting flowers turn to a soft pink as they age and develop creamy petal tips. Like all gomphrenas, Pink Zazzle, from Euro American/Proven Winners, has long enough stems to use as a cut flower.

This will probably be a premium annual, available in the next couple of years in individual pots, rather than as a bedding plant. I can hardly wait to try it.

Always the fashion plate in its marketing schemes, Hort Couture’s Glamouflage Grape petunia shows promise. This sun-loving annual will get about 8 inches tall with a 12 inch spread, making it ideal for containers or in the ground.


Glamouflage Grape petunia from Hort Couture. (C) Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp

The flowers are various tones of purple with dark veins and a touch of white throat. The flowers pop against variegated green and cream foliage.

Babuda Yellow marigold. (C) Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp

Marigolds are making a strong come back, primarily as a bedding plant, if the trial gardens at Ohio State University are an indication. These annuals add a bit of cheer in sunny locations.

Those in the trial garden were very clean — no signs of spider mites, a plague on marigolds — and the flowers were much larger that what we’re used to seeing. And even though the flowers are larger, the plants held their shape nicely. Some of the best marigolds (Tagetes) in the trial gardens were in the Alumia and Babuda series.