February 2018

Three annuals to avoid in the Indiana garden

Lobelia. (C)

Lobelia. (C)

The last thing I want to do is suppress sales at garden centers and for growers, but some plants are just not worth the price for Indiana gardeners.

These are the ones that show up early in the stores, usually in full bloom, looking beautiful and fueling high expectations. Many of these beauties, however, loose their looks when it gets hot. The result is disappointment and a wrecked planting scheme in the Indiana garden.

Here are three:

Lobelia (Lobelia erinus) fills hanging baskets and decorative pots with frothy blue flowers. This annual, which does best in part sun, also is sold in 4-inch pots and in cell packs. Once the temperature rises, this plant flags. If you forget to water it, say goodbye. In both cases, lobelia, which also comes in white and pink, stops flowering, looks a bit fried or is dead.



Alternative: Fanflower (Scaevola), which can take as much heat and sun as you want to give it, tolerates light shade. Can be used in containers or as a seasonal ground cover.

Bacopa (Sutera cordata) is prized for its ability to drape from window boxes. Bacopa, which usually is sold in combination planters or in 4-inch pots, is very heat tolerant, prefers full sun and tolerates light shade. However, if you forget to water it, the plant shuts down for at least two weeks before beginning to bloom again.

<p>Euphorbia Diamond Frost.</p>

Euphorbia Diamond Frost.

Alternative: ‘Diamond Frost’ Euphorbia has frothy white flowers that can take the heat and tolerate part sun. Look for the pinkish flowering Breathless Blush in garden centers this year.

Cape daisy (Osteospermum) has lovely, daisy flowers in wonderful colors. When it heats up, this full-sun annual’s flowering slows. It will revive in fall. This is sold in combo pots, hanging baskets and 4-inch pots.

Gazania Daybreak Pink.

Gazania Daybreak Pink.

Alternative: Gazania is an annual, daisy like flower, which takes the heat and keeps on blooming. It tolerates light shade. However, the flower does not usually open on cloudy days. Sold in cell packs.

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