The summer of 2016 will go down in the books for its extreme heat and humidity — conditions that can stress many plants. As you plan 2017, check out these classic and new varieties that showed exceptional ability to stand up to intense heat.
A view of Four Star’s Display Gardens in the summer of 2017, with several heat-loving varieties.
The ultimate test of a Proven Winners® or Proven Selections® plant is its performance in real life conditions. Whether you’re a grower or retailer, you want plants that will thrive for the ultimate customer — home gardeners.
The Display Gardens at Four Star Greenhouse were developed to highlight the beauty of Proven Winners annuals, perennials, grasses and shrubs in a real garden atmosphere. Additionally, the gardens serve as another of our trialing venues for newly introduced plants.
We talked with Pat Seibel, Display Garden Supervisor and Product Line Manager Assistant about which classic and new varieties withstood this summer’s trying conditions the best.
Luscious® Berry Blend™ Lantana is one of several Lantana who thrive in hot, dry conditions.
“This summer was a very hot, dry summer here in Michigan,” Seibel says, “until it rained! When it did rain, it rained very hard and put down a lot of water.” These conditions meant that during long dry periods, plants grew more slowly to conserve their resources, then had to deal with excess water in the soil.
“We let the plants grow under natural conditions and only drip irrigated beds weekly, including some fertilizer in the water to keep plants going. But mostly they survived well with natural rain,” he explains.
This weather pattern was typical of much of the middle and eastern United States in the summer of 2017.
“Through it all, the best performers continued to flower profusely,” he notes. “Some plants stayed smaller than they would typically grow, but continued to bloom all summer long.”
We asked Seibel to name specific varieties or genera that he thought did exceptionally well in this summer’s conditions. Here are his favorites:
The improved Angelface® Perfectly Pink Angelonia provided profuse blooms and uniform growth throughout summer’s hottest days.
Graceful Grasses® Prince Tut™ is more compact than King Tut® and flourished in the Four Star Display Gardens during the summer.
1. Pay attention to plants’ water needs. Every plant has different water requirements so make sure they have enough for their needs. Many plants fend well for themselves but be aware of special needs. And don’t overwater — I find people have more problems when they overwater plants.
2. Feed flowering plants regularly. Across the board, the number one factor for success is to regularly feed heavily flowering plants. We use slow release fertilizer to keep ours flowering in the most extreme conditions.
3. Look for plants that thrive in the summer but also work well earlier and later in the season. Varieties like Supertunia Petunia, Boldly™ and Timeless Pelargonium, and Lantana are just a few that can thrive through several seasons and adapt to the conditions.
For more information about these and other heat loving varieties, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 734-654-6420.