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You Can Grow That! July 2013: Fireworks in the garden

Fireworks mix allium is planted in fall.

If you’re looking to spark up the landscape, consider some plants with fireworks.

‘Fireworks’ (Pennesetum setaceum rubrum) is a variegated fountain grass that is a great substitute to the popular plain red one. This annual ornamental grass is not winter hardy in Indiana, but it is beautiful all summer and into fall.

‘Fireworks’ grass gets about 30 inches tall and has a spread of 24 inches. In mid-summer, wispy, purple tassels bloom above leaves with pink, creamy white, green and burgundy stripes.

Use as a center piece in a container or as a specimen plant in the landscape. Plant in full sun. It was developed by ItSaul Plants, which also introduced the popular Big Sky series of coneflowers (Echinacea). Look for ‘Fireworks’ ornamental grass in garden centers.

‘Fireworks’ globe amaranth (Gomphrena) is an easy-to-grow annual from seed. Balls of hot pink flowers with gold-tipped petals top sturdy stems all summer long, making it an excellent cut flower.

'Fireworks' gomphrena has pink flowers tipped in gold sparks. (C) Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp

‘Fireworks’ globe amaranth gets 36 inches tall with a 12-inch spread. Use as the center piece in a container or as a showy mass planting in the landscape. Plant in full sun.

This globe amaranth may be a little hard to find at garden centers, but should be available through mail-order or online retailers. Introduced by Ball Horticulture, its sister company, Burpee, offers seeds and plants.

'Fireworks,' an annual ornamental grass, sparks up the landscape in summer. Photo courtesy PerennialResource.com

Allium Fireworks mix is a collection of three perennial ornamental onions. Clusters of fragrant rose, yellow or white flowers bloom in summer, giving the impression of fireworks. They get  about 12 inches tall and can be cut for indoor arrangements.

Grow in full sun in the front of the perennial garden. Winter hardy alliums are planted in fall, so look for this mix in bulb catalogs.

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