Fun and Wacky Annuals
Abutilon megapotamicum ‘Chinese Lantern’ (Flowering Maple) – A low spreading plant, growing to 24” across in one season. Dark green leaves are mottled with yellow, and provide the backdrop for the 1” red, yellow and black bell-shaped flowers. Best grown in full sun, well-drained soils.
Abutilon pictum ‘Thompsonii’ – Upright shrubby habit to 3’ with green and yellow leaves. The light orange flowers add the icing to the cake! Received a number of remarks from visitors to Rutgers Gardens over the years.
Abutilon x ‘Fire Glow’ (Flowering Maple) – Spreading and cascading up to 2-3’, this form features clean yellow petals and a bright red calyx.
Abutilon x ‘Heronswood Lipstick’ (Flowering Maple) – A sprawling upright habit with beautiful midsized flowers in a lovely shade of magenta-pink.
Abutilon x ‘Huntington Pink’ (Flowering Maple) – Another great upright growing form to 24” tall, with an abundance of light pink bell-shaped flowers with garnet throats. Best grown in full sun, well-drained soils.
Abutilon x ‘Paisley’ (Flowering Maple) – A vigorously growing plant, reaching 3-4’ in one season! The large foliage is green and gold, and provides a great backdrop to the orange blooms.
Abutilon x ‘Snowbell’ – Green foliaged, upright growing plant with abundant white flowers.
Abutilon x ‘Souvenir de Bonn’ (Flowering Maple) – An upright growing form to 4’ tall with beautiful 4-5” wide maple shaped leaves with white margins. The flowers are salmon colored bells. Very stunning!
Abutilon x ‘Tiber’s Red’ (Flowering Maple) – A sprawling habit, with bright red flowers.
Acalypha wilkesiana ‘Serrata’ – An upright growing plant to 4’ tall, the elongated and deeply serrated leaves are a rich, luscious burgundy in color. A superb foliage plant for a sunny location in soils which do not become excessively dry.
Aeonium arboreum ‘Tricolor’ (Moroccan Aeonium) – Forms variegated rosettes atop stems to 30" in height. Rosettes are 5" or more in diameter! Full sun and excellent drainage are needed.
Aeonium atropurpureum (Aeonium) – Deep red, almost black rosettes perched upon tall branching stems to 12” tall.
Aeonium canariensis ‘Velvet Rose’ – A rosette of silver dusted leaves that resembles a rose flower in appearance and structure. Full sun and excellent drainage are needed.
Aeonium x 'Kiwi' - What a way cool plant! The foliage is a kaleidoscope of pinks, oranges and greens, and it looks equally great as a houseplant during the winter! Growing to 12", this is truly a carefree plant that will give you year-round interest (if brought inside for the winter, of course!).
Agave americana (Century Plant) - Resembling a Yucca on steriods, this native of the SW has thick and fleshy, blue green foliage that reaches 2' tall over a number of years. Easy to care for during winter in a cool garage with bright light, the plant blooms roughly every 100 years, giving it is common name! Grow in full sun in soils that are well drained.
Agave parryi ssp. huachuensis 'J.C. Raulston' (Century Plant) - A selection from the Raulston Arboretum in Raleigh, NC. A superior clone with beautiful blue-grey leaves creating large clumps. Slow to produce offsets. Mature height of 2 - 3' and it is supposedly hardy to zone 7 if planted in full sun and well drained soils.
Agastache ‘Tutti Frutti’- The orange pink flowers appear on spikes from May to frost. The foliage has the delicious fragrance of bubble gum, which also aids in keeping the deer at bay! A tender perennial, growing to 24-30” in full sun and well drained soils.
Alocasia longiloba (Elephant Ears) – Growing to 3-4’, the plants have gray-green arrow shaped leaves on speckled stems. Best in light shade.
Alpina zerumbet (Shell Ginger) –Attractive white variegated streaks on large, tropical appearing foliage. Plants grow best in light shade and can be used either as a container plant or in mixed planting as a focal point.
Alternanthera dentata ‘Rubiginosa’ – Deep purple foliage on trailing stems makes this a great addition for containers or for bedding areas. Grows to 3-5” tall, it develops its best leaf color in full sun.
Alternanthera ficoidea ‘Yellow Fine Leaf’ (Blood Leaf) – A compact habit with a very fine, almost thread-like yellow leaf with bits of green. Looks great on the edge of a container! Full sun is ideal for best coloration.
Althernanthera ‘Partytime’ – A broad leaf form growing to 18” tall. The two inch long leaves a splashed with shocking pink. A great addition to containers in full sun.
Anagalis 'Angie Orange' - Thickly mounding foliage of tiny green leaves provides a wonderfully fine textured backdrop for the bright orange flowers with small blue eyes that appear to sit upon the foliage. Flowers bloom continuously throughout the summer. Full sun.
Angelonia angustifolia ‘Serena Purple’ – An annual that provides light purple color and an attractive habit through October. Growing to 18” tall, the plants do best in full sun and in soils that are not prone to drought, although it will tolerate short periods of drought.
Anigozanthos ‘Big Roo Red’ (Kangaroo Paws) – Native to Australia, they have mid green strap-like leaves with fuzzy, velvety red tubular flowers. Grow in full sun and very well drained soils. A great cut flower.
Asclepias curassavica (Scarlet Milkweed) – Very slender and upright, this native to South Africa is easy to mix into the perennial or mixed border. Bright red and yellow flowers appear from mid summer through frost. Attractive to numerous pollinators and it is also a host plant for Monarch butterflies to lay their eggs! Full sun, well drained soils.
Begonia ‘Anna Feile’ – An upright growing ‘cane’ form, often reaching to 3’ in one season with dark green angel wing leaves and burgundy undersides. Large clusters of salmon-pink flowers appear throughout the season. Great for containers in part shade or as a houseplant.
Begonia ‘Black Fancy’ - Perfect for addition as windowsill houseplant and a container plant for shaded areas. The almost-black spiraled leaves have green veins and pink undersides, a very dramatic plant and great for combining with chartreuse and pink flowered/foliage plants. Produces winter white blossoms during the winter months. A rhizomatous type, ‘Black Fancy’ is easy-to-grow – allow drying out between waterings and growing in bright light.
Begonia boliviensis ‘Bonfire’ – A more vigorous, upright, yet still tight growing Begonia, Bonfire will easily grow to 24” in one season and is very tolerant of full sun locations as well as light shade. The plant is covered with bright red/orange flowers throughout the summer, complimenting the dark green foliage which is margined in dark red.
Begonia ‘Boston Cherries and Chocolate’ – Very wide, dark burgundy leaves that are dotted and splashed with pink.
Begonia bowerae ‘Nigromarga’ (Eyelash Begonia or Baby Tiger Begonia) – An attractively compact form growing to 5-6” tall with 2” mint green leaves with brown blotches. Pale pink flowers are held up on thin stems throughout the summer. Makes a great House Plant as well!
Begonia ‘Bridal Veil’ – A trailing begonia, with light green leaf tops and dark red backs. White flowers are produced throughout the season. Great for hanging baskets or along the hanging over the edge of containers.
Begonia ‘Chicago Fire’ – An elongated leaf, mostly bright pinkish red and having a dark green border, veining and central splash.
Begonia convolulacea ‘Shield Leaf’ – A large Begonia with a semi-cascading habit that can easily grow to 2-3’ in the shady garden. Leaves are 12” in diameter, with large white panicles of flowers held well above the foliage throughout the summer.
Begonia 'Curly Fireflush' - Round green leaves that gradually fade to burgandy in the center and covered in delicate and vivid red hairs.
Begonia dierna – One of the taller growing forms, it can easily reach 18-24” tall in a season. Long and handsome foliage reaches up to 6” long and is a thick, glossy green. The foliage is a perfect foil to the pink flowers that appear all season. Best in part shade, it can also be a an attractive houseplant.
Begonia fuchsioides ‘Red’ (Fuchsia Begonia) – Growing 12-16” tall and wide in a season, the plant has a cascading effect, and looks great in containers. Covered with red flowers all summer.
Begonia 'Gryphon' - More stress tolerant than many Begonias when it comes to receiving some sun or drought. The foliage is palmate and is streaked with silver/white markings. Flowers are copper colored. As with many Begonias, it makes a great indoor plant as well.
Begonia ‘Ice Storm’ – Mid green leaves dotted with little specks of white make the leaf appear lightly covered with confectionary sugar. Clean green markings along the veins add a textural effect. Grows to 18” in one season.
Begonia incise ‘Fern Leaf Begonia’ – Growing as a small, well-branched shrub and having very delicate, lacy fern-like foliage resembling a Japanese Maple leaf. Reddish stems and pale pink flowers. It needs a shady, protected location for best performance.
Begonia ‘Linda Dawn’ – Large deep chocolate brown leaves with red backs provide a great backdrop for light pink flower clusters. A mounding form, growing to 14” tall and wide.
Begonia ‘Merlot’ – A very attractive foliage plant, covered with 6” long by 1 ½” wide leaves that are deep burgundy, or Merlot in color. Light pink flowers are produced throughout the season and nicely compliment the foliage.
Begonia 'Marmaduke' - Breathtaking bold pumpkin colored foliage with splashes of gold throughout.
Begonia oblique ‘Maribel’ – Growing to 12-15” tall and compact in habit, the foliage is a lustrous dark bronze in color. It is also a heavy bloomer, with large pale pin, almost white flowers all summer. Plants can tolerate full shade to full sun, so long as the soil is evenly moist.
Begonia parviflora – A large growing species with large (12” round) green leaves and stems that can reach upwards of 6’ in one season! White flowers appear throughout the season. Needs a shady sight with moist, fertile soil.
Begonia ‘Pig Skin’ – If for nothing else, it is certainly a great name! The olive green leaves with cranberry red undersides are thickly textured and puckered, somewhat resembling that of a very attractive football. A fun plant for containers or as a house plant.
Begonia rex ‘Black Fancy’ – A spiraling and deeply cut dark purple foliage is topped with dainty pink flowers! The foliage is an attractive plum purple on the undersides.
Begonia rex ‘Chicago Fire’ – An elongated leaf that is primarily bright, pinkish red with a dark green border, veins and central spash.
Begonia rex ‘Curly Fireflush’ – Resembling a very attractive jumbo snail, the 4” diameter leaves dramatically spirally down into a funnel-form like shape. Furthering the interest, the green leaves are edged in a purplish red.
Begonia rex ‘Escargot’ – A very attractive Begonia with silvery and dark moss green leaves, spiraling into a splendid snail shape!
Begonia rhizomatus ‘Snoopy’ – Thick and stout surface rhizomes support the large quilted leaves of bright yellow. The plants will spread, so allow room. Of easy culture, it makes a stunning container plant or an equally impressive indoor plant. A Begonia of very easy culture (light shade is best) that gives a bold golden chartreuse statement.
Begonia semperflorens ‘Ikon Blush White’ – A dense plant spreading to 15” wide and 12” tall, the white flowers are copiously produced all summer long. Also makes a great houseplant.
Begonia x ‘Sinbad’ – The green foliage has a shimmering coating of silver, making it a very attractive and easy to mix and match plant for containers. Pink blossoms are produced throughout the summer and although they appear just below the foliage, they are very effective.
Begonia 'Soli-Mutata' - Smooth, velvet-like dark green leaves with contrasting light green veins radiating towards the leaf edge.
Begonia vernosa 'White Rhino' - This is one of the exceptions for silver leaved plants, since they typically desire full sun. White Rhino has soft gray succulent foliage that provides the perfect backdrop for the small white flowers. Slowly grows to 18".
Brillantasia subulugarica – Very useful for the mixed border, this plant will reach heights of 6-8’ in one growing season! From mid-summer onward, huge spires of light blue flowers are produced, giving it the appearance of large Salvias. Full sun, well-drained soils.
Brugmansia – If you like LARGE trumpet shaped flowers in yellow or pink, this is your plant! Growing to 5-6’ tall, the plants are best located in full sun and well-drained soils. The flowers appear beneath the foliage continually from June to frost. A very attractive focal point as well as a great conversation piece for the garden.
Caladium ‘Bi Color’ – Dark purple leaves with rose pink specks throughout. Growing to 30” in height, it will grow best in light shade in fertile soils that are not allowed to dry out excessively.
Caladium ‘Florida Sweetheart’ – Pink foliage, with deep pink veins and a light green margin. A great foliage plant for the shady container, it grows to 15” in height.
Caladium ‘Miss Muffet’ – Wavy foliage with white and green overtones, accented by red freckles!
Canna ‘Orange Punch’ – Green foliage to 4’ with pendulous bright orange flowers floating over the top of the foliage. Ideal for containers or planting in a mixed border.
Canna ‘Pretoria’ – A really fun and colorful Canna for containers, bedding or mixed borders. The 6-8’ tall green foliage is striped with light gold, providing a bright and stunning tropical effect. Orange flowers throughout the summer compliment the gold striped foliage. In general, Cannas are best planted in full sun in soils that do not dry out excessively; Cannas can tolerate standing water
Centaurea gymnocarpa – Typically reaching close to 2-3’ by season’s end, this accent plant has long (to 8”) felty white or silver leaves. Needs well drained soils and full sun to thrive. If you are fortunate enough to have a greenhouse, it will produce purple flowers in spring.
Centradenia ‘Cascade’ – A recent introduction out of the UK, this trailing plant boasts heavy quantities of pink flowers throughout the season. Best situated in full sun, it is ideal for containers, hanging baskets or massing in flowers beds.
Cestrum nocturnun (Night Blooming Jessamine) – A medium sized tender shrub growing to 3’ tall in one season. The arching stems are covered with a pale yellow tubular flower that is intensely gragrant during the evening. Great for planting outside of bedroom windows or in containers on a patio where the fragrance can be appreciated. Grows best in a full sun location with rich, fertile soils.
Cissus discolor – Rex Begonia Vine – Growing easily to 4’+, this foliage plant has deep purple leaves splashed with silver and black. Grows best in sun, but will tolerate shade. Soils should be well drained but evenly moist and fertile.
Citrus medica ‘Buddha’s Hand’ – An interesting addition to the border or large container, Buddha’s Hand has dark green foliage with very sweet pure white flowers in mid-summer. The fruit that follows is 8-10” long and resembles praying hands with long slender fingers. Provide full sun and well drained soils. It is reach 3-4’ in one season!
Coleus (Coleus) – There will be many different varieties from which to choose! Although Coleus was typically considered a shade plant, the new forms develop their best color and form in full sun. These selections are great for containers or bedding. Some of my personal favorites include:
Colocasia esculenta ‘Black Magic’ (Elephant’s Ear) – Large leaves, resembling that of an Elephant’s Ear with a velvety surface texture create a very tropical effect in the garden. Black Magic has deep purple leaves. Will thrive in moist or well drained soils. If the soils are well-drained, some shade is beneficial from afternoon sun.
Crassula capitella ‘Campfire’ (Crassula) – A branching succulent with fleshy propeller-like leaves that mature from light green to a bright red. Full sun, well drained soils.
Crassula ovata (Jade Plant) - Great plants for both inside the house or outside during summer. Thrives in a bright window during the winter, the plants have green stems and thick, fleshy leaves. They generally grow to about 3 feet tall over 15 or so years. During the late fall and early winter, it produces pinkish white star-like flowers. Best grown in well-drained, dry soils, in full sun or bright shade (including a sunny window during the winter). They require little water, are drought tolerant, and hardy to about 20-25 degrees. As is true of all Jade Plants, the leaves are poisonous if eaten.
Crassula ovata ‘Gollum’ (Jade Plant) – A jade plant with the most interesting tubular leaves with red colored tips. Great for bonsai style pruning it develops a thick and interesting trunk.
Crassula ovata 'Variegata' (Variegated Jade Plant) - A Jade Plant, but the leaves are streaked with white! Very showy.
Crassula perforata (Necklace Vine) - Appearing much like a miniture evergeen tree, the leaves are stacked one on top of the other, providing a unique and unusual appearance. Native to South Africa north to Natal, it is easily grown in light shade or a cool sunny location and makes an ideal houseplant. Protect from the hot, mid-day sun. Hardy to about 25 degrees F., plant it in well-drained soils. Plants produce pale yellow blooms in early spring and will slowly grow to 1' tall and up to 3' wide!
Crassula perforata 'Variegata' (Variegated Necklace Vine) - As the above, but the leaves are variegated with white streaks!
Crassula muscosa (Watch Chain) - A small succulent from South Africa, this plant resembles undersea coral, as the leaves are tightly overlapped and give the plant a very club-like appearance. Only growing 6-12" tall, it is best grown in light shade or in a location where it does not receive the hot mid-day sun. Easily grown as a houseplant, it is a very satisfying plant to enjoy in the garden and house for years to come!
Cuphea ‘David Verity’ (Cigar or Firecracker Plant) – One-inch long bright orange flowers that decorate this shrubby annual from late spring to frost. The flowers are tubular in shape and with their white tip resemble small cigars. Full sun and average soils.
Cuphea laevis – Similar to the above, but the flowers are hot pink to purple!
Cuphea ignea ‘Variegata’ – Flowers are similar to the above, but the leaves are splashed with yellow and gold, giving the illusion that dabs of filtered sunlight is coming through a tree canopy. Ideal for planting in light shade or in full sun.
Cuphea ilavea ‘Vienco Burgundy’ – Growing to 12-18” tall in a season, this very sturdy plant is covered all season with open faced Burgundy colored flowers. Full sun, well-drained soils are best.
Cuphea x purpurea 'Firefly' - This hybrid produces large quantities of large, 1" cherry red flowers. Grows to 12" tall and is perfect for edging a bed or a container!
Dianella tasmanica ‘Variegata Alba’ (White Variegated Dianella) – Grass-like foliage that can reach 20” in height with distinct ivory variegation along the leaf edge. Sprays of blue flowers look delightful against the foliage. Full sun to light shade.
Dianella tasmanica ‘Yellow Stripe’ – Growing to one foot tall, the grass-like, strap shaped leaves have yellow and green striped leaves. An attractive foliage plant for full sun or very light shade.
Dianthera nodosa ‘Pretty in Pink’ – Clusters of pink, 1 ¾” honeysuckle-like flowers appear along the stems all summer, giving this 2’ tall plant an effect similar to a waterfall of flowers. Best grown in light shade or partial sun.
Dipladenia ‘My Fair Lady’ (Mandevilla) – A shrubby vine, growing to 2-3’ in height with light pink Trumpet shaped flowers with a yellow throat. Soil should be rich and well drained, in a full sun or partially shaded location.
Dipladenia ‘Red Ridding Hood’ (Mandevilla) – Similar to the above, but the flowers are bright pink!
Dolichos lablab – Hyacinth Bean – A great annual vine that doubles as an ornamental and an eatable! Purple pods follow attractive pink flowers, providing interest from July through October. When picked young, the tender pods are great as a stir-fry. Introduced by Thomas Jefferson.
Dorotheanthus bellidiformis ‘Mezoo Trailing Red’ - Mezoo Trailing Red succulent has glossy green foliage with cream margins. Best sited in full sun and well drained soils, Mezoo Trailing Red can be used as a groundcover or as a spiller plant in mixed containers. The red in its name comes from the ½” diameter red flowers that accent the plant.
Duranta aurea ‘Variegata’ (Duranta) – The golden yellow leaves are banded with green, which make this low spreading annual (actually a tender sub-shrub) ideal for edging beds or containers. Provide a spot in full sun and well-drained soils.
Echeveria x ‘Black Prince’ – Rich black in color, the plant forms a starburst pattern of rich dark purple. Full sun and well drained soils.
Echeveria elegans (Echeveria) – Attractive thick and fleshy foliage, arranged in rosettes and is silver in color with a pink flush to the tips of the leaves. Full sun and well drained soils.
Echeveria nudolosa – Rosettes of small green waxy leaves that are streaked with red. Perfect for a well-drained container in full sun.
Echeveria ‘Perle von Nurnburg’ (Echeveria) – A lover of dry and hot locations in the garden, as well as a great addition to the container garden. Pale-gray, nicely textured leaves.
Echeveria x ‘Topsy Turvy’ – Silvery rosettes of curved and twisted leaves – fascinating plant architecture.
Ensete ventricosum ‘Tandarra Red’ (Red Abyssinian Banana) – Huge waxy green and red leaves with purple margins and veins. Perfect for providing that lush tropical flair to the garden.
Epiphyllum guatemalaensis 'Montrose' - An epiphytic cactus, meaning that it does not need to be planted in soil to live! Grows happily in the crooks and crevices of tree branches! The long, 2" wide green leaves grow in a spiral that addes drama to any succulent combination!
Euphorbia ‘Diamond Frost’ – A bushy, yet spreading plant, growing up to 12-16” tall by the start of autumn. It bases small dainty, pure white flowers that are borne on thin stems giving it an airy, hazy appearance. Blooms non-stop for the entire summer. Performs best in full sun, well-drained soils.
Euphorbia tirucalli ‘Sticks on Fire’ (Sticks on Fire) – Predominantly fleshy stems, with a few reduced leaves, it has the appearance of a very dense cactus, minus the spines! The tips of the plant are orange red, alluding to the common name. A very attractive plant, best suited for full sun and a well drained garden or container.
Eucomis bicolor (Pineapple Lily) – Dark green, strap-like foliage is very handsome and architectural, providing a backdrop for the 2’ tall white flower that resembles a pineapple. Full sun to light shade.
Eucomis purpurea (Pineapple Lily) – Large purple strap-like foliage provide a very architectural element to a container or the mixed/annual border. Pink blooms provide a long period of interest and do resemble a pineapple! Full to part sun, well drained soils.
Eucomis purpurea 'Sparkling Burgundy' (Purple Pineapple Lily) – The plant everyone wants to have in their garden! Beautiful, dark-burgundy foliage with flower stalks rising above covered in rosy-pink and green flowers. The perfect accent plant. Mature height 24 - 30" tall and reportedly hardy to zone 6!
Euphorbia cotinifolia - Dark purple foliage is easily mistaken for that of the Purple Leaved Smokebush or Cotinus. A great plant to use as a backdrop for its foliage. Full sun, well-drained soils. Grows to 2' the first year, but will reach 6-8' if overwintered indoors.
Fuchsia ‘Mrs. J. D. Frederick’ (Fuchsia) – Numerous small pink flowers upon green foliage. Best grown in light shade, in soils that do not frequently become dry.
Fuchsia magellanica ‘Gartenmeister’ (Fuchsia) – Bright coral pink, long tubular flowers are set off by the dark green foliage. A great plant for attracting Hummingbirds. Best grown in light shade, in soils that do not frequently become dry.
Fuchsia magellanica ‘Versicolor’ (Fuchsia) – A semi-cascading form of Fuchsia. The new foliage is bordered in bright pink, which gradually changes to a creamy white as the leaf matures. Best grown in light shade, in soils that do not frequently become dry.
Fuchsia triphylla ‘Korelle’ (Fuchsia) – Dark green foliage serves as the backdrop for long tubular, light orange flowers. Culture as above.
Gomphocarpus (Asclepias) physcocarpus (Balloon Flower, Hairy Balls) – Growing to 42-48” tall in a season, the plant produces white and pink hanging flowers in from June to frost that serve as a butterfly magnet! Come later summer, the inflated sacs that cover the seed pods are produced, adding yet another ornamental as well as whimsical aspect to this plant. Full sun, well-drained sites.
Graptopetalum paraguayense (Ghost Plant) - Indigenous to Mexico, is a small succulent plant forming rosettes of ghostly gray leaves with a pinkish cast to them. With time, the rosettes rise up on stems, reaching close to 1 foot tall. Individual rosettes may reach 6 inches across. Leaves are very brittle and often dislodge when the plant is handled.
Gynura aurantiaca - The stem and leaves are clothed with a thick covering of soft hairs, soft to the touch, and of a beautiful deep violet color which gives an appearance of the richest velvet to the plant, and when combined with the brilliant orange of the aster-like flowers, it is truly stunning! Full sun for best coloration and growth.
Homalocladium platycladum (Ribbon Plant) – Interesting for its flat, segmented leafless stems – it makes a very stunning specimen or novelty plant for the combination planter. Grows to 2-3’ in one season, plant in part shade to full sun. Also serves very well as a houseplant.
Impatiens morsei ‘Velvetia’ – From southern China, the plant is covered with 2” long velvety green leaves with a pink central vein. The flowers resemble those of a large balsam; they are white with red llips and leopard spotted throats. Plant in light shade in average soils. Plants will grow to 18” tall and wide.
Impatiens niamnianmensis ‘Congo Cockatoo’ – A very interesting wild species type of impatiens. The really cool 1 ¼” sickle shaped bright yellow flowers look as if the tips were dipped in brilliant red pain. Another interesting characteristic is that not only do the flowers appear on the growing tips, but all along the black stems! Grows 16-18” tall and performs best in light shade.
Iresine ‘Purple Lady’ – Beefsteak Plant – Deep purple leaves, which are iridescent in the late day sun. Full sun, light shade, height of 8”.
Isolepsis cernua (Fiber Optic Grass) – Actually a sedge, the slender arching stems have small white ‘flower’ at the tips of the leaf, making it appear as if light was coming forth! Best grown in full sun or light shade, this 8” tall clumping plant prefers moist soils and supposedly makes a good house plant as well.
Kalanchoe laetivirens ‘Big Mona’ – A slightly larger Kalanchoe, growing to 18” tall. The leaves are unique as they are paddle shaped and light pink with a row of young plantlets perched along the leaf margin. This process is called viviparity and it gives the plant a very unique and attractive appearance. Full sun, well drained soils.
Kalanchoe pumila ‘Dwarf Blue’ – A compact growing succulent, Dwarf Blue has an easy to use and combine silvery powder blue coloration. Indispensable in sunny, well-drained containers, its fleshy 2” leaves add texture as well as color. If brought in for the winter, it will delight you with little panicles of light pink blooms! Only grows to 6-8” in height.
Kalanchoe thrysifolia (Kalanchoe) – A larger growing Kalanchoe with 6” paddle shaped silver-blue leaves with a touch of red along the margin. Full sun, well drained, gritty soils. Easy to overwinter in a sunny window, the plants will produce a tall silvery flower spike in late fall/winter with fragrant yellow blooms nestled atop!
Kalanchoe thrysifolia 'Fantastic' - Similar to the above, but the folaige has the most awesome deepred edges. A vigorous grower.
Lantana ‘Pink Caprice (Lantana) – Similar to the above, but the flowers are entirely pink.
Laurentia axillaris ‘Blue Stars’ – One inch blue flowers appear over this spreading plant. The finely cut foliage reaches a height of 10-12”. Ideal plant for containers or bedding.
Leonotis leonurus (Lion’s Ear) – Growing to 2-3’ in one season, this is a great plant for mid-summer and fall flowering. The plant produces whorls of orange flowers that literally resemble a lion’s ear! Provide full sun and well-drained soils. This is a great plant for massing in beds.
Lotus berthelotii ‘Parrot’s Beak’ (Lotus Vine) – A great plant for foliage! The soft gray foliage is needle-like, and covers this sprawling plant. Best grown in full sun and well-drained soils. If taken in during the winter, it will produce orange, beak shaped flowers in February and March.
Lotus maculates – Needle-like, silver foliage along gracefully cascading stems. Grows to 3’ tall and is easy to grow, it makes a superb foliar backdrop for yellows and reds. Full sun.
Lysimachia congestifolia ‘Outback Sunset’ – A great foliage plant! The leaves have shades of yellow, chartreuse, pink and cream, growing to 12” in height. Light yellow flowers. Full sun to light shade.
Lysimachia congestifolia ‘Persian Chocolate’ – A relatively recent introduction, this plant has deep dark chocolate colored foliage that provides a backdrop for 1” bright yellow flowers. A trailing or groundcover plant, it is ideal for softening the edge of containers or beds.
Melampodium paludosum - A very easy to grow, colorful groundcover. It produces a myriad 1" golden yellow daisy flowers over the creeping foliage throughout the summer. Thrives on heat and drought, plus it never needs deadheading. What more could a gardener need! Mature height of 12".
Melianthus major (Honey Flower) – Growing to 3’ tall in one season, the large, deeply serrate and silver/blue leaves add a great touch to containers or to the mixed border. Plant in full sun to light shade in well drained soils. If given a long growing season, it will produce sweetly scented and nectar rich flowers.
Melochia tomentosa (Wooly Pyramid Bush) - Growing to about 18" in a single season, this gem produces bright pink flowers all season long and well into the fall. The flowers have 5 petals with a clear yellow throat. The leaves are grayish green and slightly pubescent.
Musa 'Siam Ruby' (Banana) - Stunning dark-red leaves with tiny green flecks! The coloration will intensify in full sun. Loves heat and humidity! Mature height 8' tall. Plant in soils that drain well, but are enriched with organic matter. Just before or prior to frost, cut the plant to the ground, remove the tuberous root, and store in an unheated basement for the winter. Replant come April. You will be amazed at how easy it is to grow Bananas for ornament in your garden!
Musa 'Zebrina' (Banana) - Striking green leaves mottled with red on top, moving to maroon at the base, and fully red stems! Mature height 5 - 7' tall. Plant in full sun in average, well drained soil and overwinter as above.
Nerium oleander ‘Variegata’ (Variegated Oleander) – Very long foliage that is marked with streaks of yellow makes this very exciting addition to the garden. Double pink flowers help to make this a ‘must have’ plants until know.
Nematanthus corticola - From Brazil, these members of the Gesneriad Family sport pouched and sickle shaped, bright orange red flowers that dange on 3-4" thread-like stems. Great at the edge of a container or in a hanging basket. Provide a well drained potting soil and place in partial sun.
Nicotiana sylvestris (Flowering Tobacco) – White fragrant flowers open at dusk and do not fade until the following afternoon when another group of flowers open. Growing to 4’ tall, this dependable annual provides color from early July to frost. Leaves are large, providing a nice textural contrast to other plants. Great in the mixed border!
Oxalis deppei ‘Iron Cross’ (Good Luck Plant) – Deep purple markings highlight the junction of the four heart shaped leaves.
Oxalis vulcanicola ‘Copper Glow’ – As the name implies, this plant has dense copper foliage that just seems to glow! Mounding to 8’ tall, it makes an unusual foliage plant for the container. Small yellow flowers appear throughout the summer. Best grown in full sun or light shade.
Oxalis vulcanicola ‘Zinfandel’ – Dense burgundy red foliage to 8” high, it resembles the color of Zinfandel wine. Contrast nicely with the yellow flowers. Full sun, light shade.
Origanum dicatmnus ‘Dittany of Crete’ (Oregano) – This oregano has silver foliage and beautiful hop-like foliage that is typical of the species. Great in containers or garden areas where they receive full sun and good drainage.
Pelargonium (Annual Geraniums)
Pelargonium zonale ‘Crystal Palace Gem’ (Fancy Leaved Geranium) – Fancy chartreuse leaves with irregular green zones, toped by coral flowers. Named after the glass house of the 1857 plant exhibition in England.
Pelargonium zonale ‘Happy Thought’ (Fancy Leaved Geranium) – Medium green leaf with a light yellow central zone. Flowers are cherry red in color.
Pelargonium ‘Indian Dune’ (Fancy Leaved Geranium) – Chartreuse leaves with a deep orange-red central pattern.
Pelargonium ‘Mrs. Peters’ (Fancy Leaved Geranium) – White edged foliage with dark green centers and pale pink flowers.
Pelargonium ‘Mrs. Pollock’ - This fancy-leaved cultivar has a wide yellow border and a reddish central zone. The flowers are red-orange and the growth is upright. Introduced in England in the mid-1800's.
Pelargonium ‘Persian Queen’ (Fancy Leaved Geranium) – Clear lime green leaves make this a great foliage addition to the container or bedding scheme. Single orange flowers appear throughout the summer.
Pelargonium ‘Vancouver Centennial’ – Sculpted, almost Maple-like leaves have a red center with a thin golden margin. Single scarlet flowers appear throughout the season.
Pennisetum ‘Princess Molly’ (Princess Molly Purple Fountain Grass) –Ornamental Fountain Grass. Part of the Athens Select Collection! Slender, deep-burgundy foliage. Very disease resistant. Shorter & smaller than others making it great for tight spaces in the landscape or containers! Mature height 15 – 20” tall.
Pennisetum setaceum 'Fireworks' (Variegated Purple Fountain Grass) An exciting accent for the annual garden or container, with purple-red foliage that exhibits bands of burgundy green and white along with beautiful red-purple plumes. Measuring 4 - 5' tall and 2 - 4' in width.
Pilea microphylla ‘Prostrata’ (Waterfall Fern) – Creeping, succulent stems with tiny watery leaves create a unique ferny effect, ideal for softening the edges of hanging baskets or containers. It is also perfect as a terrarium carpet or as a houseplant. Due to waxy surfaced tiny leaves, it is the most tolerant of any finely lacy appearing plant of lower levels of humidity and of higher levels of direct sun.
Pilea microphylla ‘Variegata’ (Snow Tipped Artillery Fern) - Marvelous white tipped new tear drop leaves are highlighted by darker green foliage below. The "Snow Tipped Artillery Plant" produces received its common name from the ‘gun smoke-like’ pollen shots- ‘way’ cute! Light shade is ideal as it also makes an ideal indoor plant.
Phaseolus coccineus - Scarlet Runner Bean – What a great vine! Growing to over 10’ tall, the bright red flowers are ornamental all summer. The beans are good used as a snap, shell or dry bean. Used by native American Indians. See same under vegetables.
Plectranthus amboinicus ‘Ochre Flame’ – A light green margin with a rich avocado green center. A trailing plant, suitable for the edges of containers. Full sun to light shade.
Plectranthus amboinicus ‘Green Heart’ (Plectranthus) – Light green splashes in the center of the aromatic leaves provide a nice contrast to the dark green margin. This is a trailing plant, suitable for edging a border or trailing over a container. The plants are very easy to grow; tolerant of full sun to light shade, average to dry soil conditions.
Plectranthus discolor ‘Green and Gold’ – Bright yellow (gold) foliage with green splashes and lines in the center of the leaves allows this plant to provide great background color for flowers. A trailing plant, it is easy to grow in a variety of soil and light conditions
Plectranthus madagascariensis ‘Variegata’ – Relatively large white margined leaves provide a wonderful clean brilliance to this plant. This species has a trailing habit and does very well in lightly shaded locations.
Ricinus communis (Castor Bean) – A sensational texture plant for the back of the mixed or annual border. Plants can reach up to 8-10’ in height in one season, with the large purple palmate leaves reaching up to 1’ across! Plant in full sun in soil that is enriched with organic matter. Please note: the plant is poisonous if eaten.
Ruellia brittoniana ‘Chichi Pink’ – Similar to that below but the flowers are an attractive light pink.
Ruellia brittoniana ‘Ferguson Purple’ (Mexican Petunia) – Particularly large, purple/blue flowers appear all summer and into the fall on this 24-30” tall plants. Foliage is very linear and attractive, up to 10” long. Plants flower best in full sun, but are tolerant of light shade.
Salvias Here is a fantastic group of plants that many people have yet to discover, or they merely consider Salvias to be short and red! Culturally, they only request full sun and a soil that is not excessively wet. In return, they will provide you with a long period of bloom, beautifully shaped flowers, often good height and stature, and attractive foliage!
Salvia argentea (Silver Salvia) – A biennial, this plant produces tremendous silver rosettes of foliage during its first year, and attractive white flowers on 2-4’ stems during the second year. If the flowers are deadheaded and seeding is prevented, it will often live for more than 2 years.
Salvia coccinea ‘Lady in Red’ – Growing to 18” tall, the brilliant red flowers appear on sturdy stems from June to frost. A plant that looks great right up to a hard frost.
Salvia coccinea ‘Hummingbird White’ – Similar to the above but the flowers are white.
Salvia elegans (Pineapple Sage) – The wonderful pineapple scented foliage is great used fresh or dry as seasoning, especially in fish or chicken dishes. In late September, scarlet red flowers are produced that are truly stunning for fall color.
Salvia guaranitica ‘Argentine Skies’ – Growing to 5’ tall, Argentine Skies produces light blue flowers from late June to frost. The foliage is a light green, and can easily work with either yellows or blues in the garden.
Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’ – Dwarf form of S. guaranitica with a black calyx and the typical gentian blue flower.
Salvia x ‘Indigo Spires’ – Up to 18” long flower spikes atop 4-6’ tall plants! Wow! Deep violet blue flowers from mid summer to frost, with the color of the flowers deepening with the cooler nights.
Salvia interrupta ‘Waverly’ – Beautiful lavender pink flowers that are ‘fuzzy’ appear on this 4’ tall plant from June to frost.
Salvia leucantha – Beginning to bloom in September, the wait is well worth your time! The plant produces violet rose-colored flowers with a complimentary purple colored calyx or base. Each plant produces well over 100 flower stalks, making it a standout for the late summer and autumn garden.
Salvia x macrophylla ‘Hot Lips’ – Found near Chiapas, Mexico, the flowers are typically white with a thin red edge, resembling red lipstick. During the heat of summer, all red and all white flowers can be produced, but the bicolor flowers return with autumn. Grows to 3’ tall and is ideal for the mixed border or containers.
Salvia mexicana ‘Tula’ – Growing to nearly 6’ tall, the plant produces deep gentian blue flowers with a glowing chartreuse base. Outrageous! Flowers from September to frost.
Salvia splendens ‘Louie’s Orange Delight’ – Blooming from June to frost, this plant produces brilliant orange red flowers from June to frost.
Stachytarpheta mutabilis (Snakeweed) It may initially sound scary, but this is a very cool plant! Snake-like salmon-red flowers bloom continuously on individual spikes. Incredible hummingbird magnet! A very unique plant. Mature height 4 - 6' tall!
Santolina virens ‘Lemon Fizz’ – Growing to a height of about 18” in one season ‘Lemon Fizz’ has all the same characteristics of the green or silver Santolina but is a delicious lemony yellow gold. Plant in full sun in well-drained soil. Hardy to zone 6
Satureja x ‘Supermint Pink Sensation’ (Satureja) – Whorls of tine, fragrant leaves compliment the pink flowers that are produced throughout the summer. Best grown in full sun or light shade.
Sedum burrito (Baby Burros Tail) – An unusual Sedum in that it develops long dangling or trailing stems to 1’ long or better. The stems are clothed in silver-gray succulent foliage, AND, in addition to a cool summer container plant, this plant also makes a great houseplant for the bright, southern window! Guaranteed not give you a hint of indigestion!
Sedum ‘Coco’ – Flat leaved and dark brown, the stems produce trailing needle-like chains which makes this plant very effective at the edge of planters or in window boxes. Full sun and well drained soils preferred.
Sedum nussbaumerananum - Attractive rust colored foliage.
Senecio amanuensis – A succulent with soft green elliptical foliage on upright stems with orange blossoms. Growing to 18”, this plant needs full sun and well drained soils to thrive.
Setaria palmifolia ‘Rubra’ (Palm Grass) – A tropical grass with a wonderful dark green pleated leaf blade. The leaves are attached to a deep burgundy stem that is segmented much like that of a bamboo. A great addition to containers or as a focal point in the garden.
Sinningia tubiflora (White Gloxinia) - Growing to 18" tall, the gray-green, felty foliage produces long stems tipped by large, fragrant white flowers. Attracts HUMMINGBIRDS! Full sun to light shade, drought tolerant.
Solanum purpureum – Easily growing to 3’ in one season, this plant always draws many “Wow!” and “What is that?” comments from visitors to Rutgers Gardens. The stems and undersides of the leaf are covered with dark purple thorns which makes the plant sound horrific, but it is really cool! Small yellow flowers give rise to ornamental orange fruits come the fall. Will self sow, but is certainly not weedy. Full sun, well-drained soils.
Solanum quitoense (Lulu) – Maturing to a height of 2-4’ in one season, this unusual annual is grown primarily for the foliage. The large, 18” long green leaves have interesting purple venation, which are studded with orange thorns! The orange fruit is eaten fresh in Peru and also made into beverages.
Solanum wendlandii ‘Giant Nightshade’ – A vining plant which clings to fences and other supports through the large spines that are located on the back of the leaves – a certain conversation piece! It produces attractive, 2 ½” lavender flowers all summer long. Provide full sun, well drained soils.
Streptacarpella saxorum ‘Blue Horizon’ (False African Violet) – Velvety green leaves adorn this African Violet relative which grows to 8” tall and 12” across. From the base of the leaves, slender, almost wiry, four inch long flower stems arise that terminate in three to five, 1” long flowers which gracefully float above the foliage. Best in light shade and it also makes a great and undemanding houseplant.
Strobilanthes dveranus (Persian Shield) – A shrubby plant growing to 3’, it has large purple leaves striped with metallic blue and silver. An effective foliage plant for borders and containers. Best planted in light shade or full sun.
Talinum paniculatum (Jewels of Opar) – A basal rosette of fleshy, chartreuse leaves gives rise to wiry thin stems and small pink flowers. The true show starts when the red bead-like fruits are produced and appear to float in mid air over the foliage. Best grown in mixed borders or the annual garden. Full sun, well drained soils.
Thunbergia alata (Black-Eyed Susan Vine) – Grown this past season (2009) on the Vegetable Garden fence, this easy to grow annual vine typically climbs to 8’ in a season. The dark green foliage acts as a backdrop to the attractive golden-yellow or white flowers that have a dark black center. Best grown in full sun.
‘Super Orange’ – More robust, deep orange flowers.
Tibouchina urvilleana (Princess Flower) – Very cool and exotic magenta purple flowers cover this 4-5’ tall tropical all summer until frost. The soft and fuzzy foliage provides a nice compliment.
Tibouchina grandifolia (Princess Flower) – Huge, soft green and densely pubescent leaves up to 9” long and 6” wide provide a dramatic textural quality to this shrubby plant. Reaching 4’ tall in one season, deep purple flower clusters appear in the late summer which nicely compliments the foliage. Full sun, well drained yet moist soils.
Tithonia rotundifolia ‘Torch’ (Mexican Sunflower) – An attractive, taller growing annual that reaches up to 6 feet tall over the course of the summer. The flowers are an orange red, dahlia-like flower, appearing in abundance from late June until frost. Makes a great cut flower. Best grown in full sun in hot, well drained locations.
Tradescantia palida ‘Purpurea’ – Deep purple leaves, 3-5” long on deep purple trailing stems. Light pink flowers appear throughout the season and contrast nicely with the foliage. Full sun.
Tradescantia palida ‘Variegata’ (Variegated Dayflower) – Similar shaped foliage and habit as the above. The foliage is deep purple, raspberry purple, and pale pink. A gorgeous color combination!
Tradescantia pendula ‘Quadricolor’ (Variegated Dayflower) – Lance shaped leaves appear borne along the stems are striped with pale pink, cream and green. To further accent the foliage, the undersides are a beautiful complimentary purple. A spreading plant, rarely growing taller than 6”, it is ideal for covering large areas in a bed or trailing over a container. Performs well in sun or shade.
Tradescantia sillamontana (Silver Dayflower) – Small 1” leaves are covered with soft white hairs, giving the plant an attractive, silvery appearance. A trailing plant, growing to 6” tall, it has attractive pink flowers which are never produced in abundance, but are appear all season long.
Tradescantia spathacea ‘Tricolor’ – A clump forming plant with upright sword like leaves up to 5” long and 1” wide. Each leaf is striped with pale pink, cream and green with the backside colored deep raspberry red.
Tradescantia spathacea ‘Tricolor’ (Variegated Dayflower) – Long slender leaves to 5” are striped with pale pink, cream and green. To further accent the foliage, the undersides are a beautiful complimentary purple. A spreading plant, it is ideal for covering large areas in a bed or trailing over a container. Performs well in sun or shade.
Verbenna bonariensis (Verbenna) - Plants produce airy stems, 18"-24" tall from June till frost that bear domes of purple flowers that open over a very prolongued period. A great plant for the front of the border as the stems are very transparent and easy to see through. Following warm winters, the plants will often resprout from the crowns. Otherwise, they will lightly self-sow.
Wedelia trilobata ‘Outebreath Gold’ – An underused and good trailing plant that produces yellow daisy flowers over green and gold splashed foliage. Plants will trail to 3’ in one season, it makes a great border plant or good for placing along the edge of a container, allowing it to trail over the edge. Best grown in full sun.
Xanthosoma sagittifolium ‘Chartreuse Giant’ – Arrow shaped leaves are vibrantly chartreuse and although they typically grow to 18”, with time, they can exceed 2’! Plants grow to 2-4’ tall and are best grown in soils that are moisture retentive and fertile in light shade to full sun.
This is just a smattering of the many types of annuals that will be available in 4” pots or flats.
Ageratum ‘Hawaii Blue’
Alyssum ‘Snow Crystals’
Ameranthus ‘Love Lies Bleeding’
Ammi visnaga (Green Mist Laceflower)
Angelonia ‘Alonia Pink’
‘Giant White Showers’
Brachycombe ‘Jumbo Mauve’
Calibrachoa ‘Colorburst Pro Blue’
‘Colorburst Pro Red’
‘Colorburst Pro White’
‘Million Bells Red’
‘Million Bells Trailing Blue’
Canna ‘Tropical Rose’
Cardiospermum halicacabum (Love in a Puff)
Catharanthus ‘Cooler Grape’
Celosia ‘Fresh Look Gold’
Cleome ‘Queen Pink’
Dahlia ‘Mystic Wallaby Yellow’
Dichondra ‘Silver Falls’
Eucalyptus ‘Silver Drop’ – small silvery green leaves, good in fresh or dry arrangements
Evolvulus ‘Blue Haze’
Geranium ‘Blizzard White’
Helichrysum petiolare ‘Lemon Licorice’
Impatien ‘Accent Pink’
‘Super Elfin Coral’
Impatien (New Guinea) ‘Harmony Magenta’
Ipomea alba (Moonflower)
Ipomea ‘Caroline Lime’
Lantana ‘Desert Sun’
Melampodium ‘Millica Gold’
Mirabilis jalapa ‘Limelight’ (Four O’Clock)
Nierembergia ‘Purple Robe’
‘Art Angel Orange’
‘Art Angel Raspberry’
Nicotiana ‘Saratoga Mix’
Nigella mamascena ‘Miss Jekyll Blue’ (Love in a Mist’)
Pentas ‘New Look Red’
Petunia ‘Wave Blue’
Phlox ‘Grammy Pink and White’
‘Twenty First Century Blue’
Portulaca ‘Sunseeker Mix’
Salvia ‘Black and Blue’
‘Lady in Red’
Scaevola ‘Purple Fan’
Torenia ‘Blue Moon’
Verbena ‘Homestead Purple’
Vinca major ‘Variegata’
Zinnia ‘Starlight Rose’