Nov 19, 2013
Super Plants at LSUBy Jasmina Dolce

As you’ve probably noticed by now, I’ve been concentrating on university trials the past month or so – and I’m going to continue the series today.

Are you familiar with Louisiana State University’s Super Plant Program? According to LSU’s Ag Center website (, it’s an educational and marketing campaign that highlights reliable and beautiful plants that are selected for superior performance under Louisiana growing conditions. These plants have a proven track record having gone through several years of univeristy evaluations and observations. Louisiana Super Plants are “university tested and industry approved.”

Each spring and fall, the LSU AgCenter announces a new list of Louisiana Super Plants.

Here are the spring 2013 Super Plants:

‘Little Ruby’ alternanthera

This low-maintenance warm-season bedding plant offers an alternative to traditional blooming bedding plants. The burgundy and purple foliage adds rich color to the landscape and is consistently attractive throughout the season. It requires no deadheading and boasts excellent compact growth.

Bandana lantana series

Bandana lantanas have a compact mounding habit without the lankiness of traditional lantana. Although smaller in size, they are still as heat, humidity and drought tolerant as other lantana. Butterflies and hummingbirds are attracted to this plant, but deer are resistant to feeding on lantana.

‘Aphrodite’ althea

This vigorous grower can reach up to 8 to 10 feet in height and makes a great informal hedge or specimen bloomer. What makes ‘Aphrodite’ outstanding is its blooms – very large, rosy-red, single-ruffled blooms with magenta throats cover the plant from late spring through midsummer. It growers more upright and denser than other altheas.

And here are the fall 2013 Super Plants:

‘Diamonds Blue’ delphinium

‘Diamonds Blue’ features electric-blue flowers that cover the plant from winter through spring. The blue color is vivid and stands out in the garden. Beautiful, fine-textured foliage is a great background for the blue flowers. This delphinium is compact growing and does not need staking.

Drift rose

These roses are almost everblooming, disease resistant and winter hardy. This series of low-maintenance roses fit a special niche in the shrub rose market. The low, spreading habit makes them perfect for small gardens and combination plants. They come in a multitude of colors and can be used in the landscape from April through October.

Willow oak

While oaks are popular in the South, most don’t have room for such a large tree. This oak is a fast-growing native that fits in urban landscapes better than live oak. Willow oak is a deciduous tree that has an upright, oval growth habit. It provides excellent shade and has a fast rate of growth.

If you’re a Southeastern grower, have you grown any of these Super Plants? Have they been successful for you? Are there any other varieties you think should be added to the list? Shoot me an e-mail at [email protected], and let me know!

– Jasmina

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Jasmina Dolce

Jasmina Dolce is managing editor of GPN magazine. She can be reached at [email protected]

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