A GROWING CONCERN: The lucky 13 to plant in your garden now

SINCE I’VE SPENT the last several weeks telling you what flowers NOT to plant, how about one of my notorious “13 list” of what to plant now for a beautiful, fragrant, cut flower cornucopia?

But before any list, make sure to get your mom a lovely hanging basket … just saying!

1. Impatiens.

This by far is the perfect summer flowering plant. Impatiens are extremely prolific, have little if any disease or insect problems and require no deadheading.

You can mold their shape to any area and they adore shade. Go get a full tray or two and make that muddy area under the tree a fabulous color spot.

2. Trailing lobelia.

I adore this plant, but only because of the great Victorian effect it gives. The 10- to 12-inch long flower stalks permeate designs as baby’s breath does in a floral arrangement.

With a July cut back, blooms can keep coming until November. Plus lobelia comes in interesting off colors like lilac rose, sky blue as well as white and white eyes.

3. Dusty Miller.

The fuzzy, lush white hairs that cover the leaves of this plant give it’s worth in the flower bed or pot as a contrast color and or highlight.

Dusty miller has perennial tendencies here on the North Olympic Peninsula, but always prune away the horrid raceme flowers.

4. Bronze leaf fibrous begonias.

Also known as wax begonias because of their thick, wavy leaves, the bronze varieties have great, breathtaking iridescence on both the foliage and the petals, along with that leaf color.

Fibrous begonias bloom profusely and continuously and are easy to care for throughout the summer. They go great with impatiens in shade and partial shade.

5. Cactus flower zinnias.

Zinnias are heat tolerant, full of blooms, make great cut flowers, work perfectly in both beds and containers and are brightly colored with low maintenance requirements as well.

However, cactus flower varieties, with that unique, spider-like look, are truly stunning. A full sun plant, zinnias compliment dahlias very well.

6. Zonal or cutting geraniums.

Zonal, not seed, geraniums are the favorite of the professional horticulturist because of their huge, intense blooms on sturdy upright stems that really set off any planting they are in.

You must remove the old flower heads and fertilize regularly to keep them blooming well, but if done so, geraniums will flower well into November and may be easily over-wintered indoors.

7. Stock.

This plant is a sweet and fragrant annual. It is a perfect cut flower, has nice silver foliage, branches well, blooms early and, if cut back hard after blooming, comes back again and again better and bigger after each cutting. Put by your bedroom window or patio for a nice trailing scent.

8. Petunia (grandifloras and multiflora.)

The market has so swung over to all the trailing, cascading spreading varieties of Petunias that many of us have been overlooking the old fashioned petunias your grandparents had. Grandifloras have larger, single flowers on more bushy upright plants then do multifloras, but multifloras have many more flowers on shorter, compact bushes.

These two work great in containers, beds, as borders are accent color swirls. Try multis in the front and grandis in the rear for a marvelous two-tiered effect.

9. Sweet alyssum.

This flower has it all. It blooms early, blooms late, blooms always, re-seeds itself for next year, smells fantastic and attracts aphid destroying, human-friendly wasps.

10. Trailing fuchsia.

This plant is the world’s best hummingbird feeder because you never have to change the water and the hummers call all their friends to come over and party on your fuchsia baskets.

These plants are coveted for their unique, pendulous flowers that drip in elegance. Again, fuchsias are an ideal plant for shade and partial shade.

11. Godetia.

Cup-shaped flowers make godetia a prolific favorite, and their multitude of flowers and buds keep them eye-popping throughout the summer. They are good for cut flowers and adore our cool climate and dry soils.

12. Salpiglossis (painted tongue).

Here is a wonderful addition to your flower beds because of the interesting and intense coloration displayed inside their deep, funneled blooms. I call salpiglossis “poor man’s orchid” and a mass planning will look like a bed of orchids.

13. Sweet pea.

The best for last. Sweet peas are best in fragrance, charm, a top cut flower, and perfect for trellis poles and the base of trees. So let sweet pea vine it’s way into your heart as well.

Plant these and you’ll be well on your way to Flower Peninsula USA.

And please … stay well all!


Andrew May is a freelance writer and ornamental horticulturist who dreams of having Clallam and Jefferson counties nationally recognized as “Flower Peninsula USA.” Send him questions c/o Peninsula Daily News, P.O. Box 1330, Port Angeles, WA 98362, or email news@peninsuladailynews.com (subject line: Andrew May).

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