January 2018

Three no-fail annuals for summer delights

Babywing pink begonia (Photo courtesy Proven Winners)

Babywing pink begonia (Photo courtesy Proven Winners)

Three low-maintenance annuals are definitely worth growing this summer.

Babywing begonia is a subdued cousin of the fabulous dragon wingbegonia, all the rage a few summers ago and still on the list ofall-time great plants. Babywing’s (Begonia x hybrida) green leaves are smaller, but its pink or white flowers are just as large and showy.

The plant is heat tolerant and does not need deadheading. Babywinghas a mounded growing habit and will get up to 15 inches tall and 10inches wide.

Babywing does great in sun or shade. You do not have to remove thespent flowers, called deadheading. Grow in containers, window boxes orin the ground. Allow to dry out between watering.

Chocolate Mint coleus (Photo courtesy Simply Beautiful Plants)

'Chocolate Mint' coleus (Photo courtesy Simply Beautiful Plants)

‘Chocolate Mint’ coleus would be a perfect tucked among chartreuse hostas (Hosta) orother pale green-leaf shade plant. This new, heat tolerant coleus witha rich chocolaty leaf edged in mint green is aptly named.

‘ChocolateMint’ coleus (Solenostemon scutellarioides) has an uprightmounded habit and gets about 20 inches tall and 12 inches wide. Plantin the ground or in containers. Can go a bit dry between watering, butdoes best when kept evenly moist, but not wet.

‘Diamond Frost’ euphorbia thrives in full sun to part shade inbaskets, pots on the ground. It has a mounded habit, but the tiny whiteflowers on spindly stems are perfect companions for other plantsbecause ‘Diamond Frost’ does not overwhelm its neighbors.

This is an excellent alternative to the blue or white lobelias (Lobelia) that tempt us in hanging baskets and patio pots every spring, only to fizzle out when summer temperatures rise.

Diamond Frost euphorbia (Photo courtesy Proven Winners)

'Diamond Frost' euphorbia (Photo courtesy Proven Winners)

‘Diamond Frost’ has picked up dozens of awards from public gardens,horticulturists, landscapers and gardeners because of its performance.It landed on the market a couple of years ago and each year seems to begaining in popularity because of its versatility and ease of care. Aswith Babywing begonia, no deadheading is required.

‘Diamond Frost’ is a Euphorbia,a large family of plants that includes poinsettia. This plant has tinywhite airy flowers on spindly stems. It blooms all summer and is verydrought tolerant, making it ideal for containers in full sun. It alsois deer resistant.

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