Nov 21, 2017
Bring on the Heat By Jasmina Dolce

While most of the country is wearing winter coats and preparing for snow (if it hasn’t hit already), now is still a great time to talk about heat! Heat-loving plants, that is.

While summer seems so far away right now, you are probably already thinking about next year’s production and what plants you’ll be including in your lineup. And while it’s best to carry varieties that do well for various regions, one characteristic that is highly desired especially in the middle of summer is heat tolerance.

Consumers want plants that will survive and even thrive past past July and hopefully into fall. They want low-maintenance plants that can take the heat and don’t require much water.

In the November issue of GPN, regular contributor Vaughn Fletcher discusses the top performers that survived the heat and humidity in the landscape beds at the Dallas Arboretum.

“I have visited this arboretum since the inception of the trial gardens and look forward every year to visiting in midsummer to evaluate perennials and annuals for summer performance,” he says. “The temperatures in the Dallas area are extreme, with average highs of 95° F and lows of 74° F during June, July and August with excessive humidity.”

The plants he focused on in his article, “Some Like It Hot,” have been trialed and have performed exceptionally for at least three years in various locations in Texas. These plants are not necessarily new for 2018, but they all share one significant attribute: performance!

Here are some of Vaughn’s top picks. To read the full article, click here.

Alternanthera ‘Little Ruby’

This vegetative variety is a Texas Superstar plant that is used as a ground cover or a spiller in full sun. It produces rich shades of burgundy and purple foliage on a compact habit.

Celosia ‘Fresh Look Red’

This 2004 All-America Selections winner has stood the test of time and continues to perform with a strong upright habit, large inflorescence, uniformity, and heat and drought tolerance. The rose-red plumes boast that “wow” factor that is necessary in landscape plantings.

Coleus ‘Campfire’
Ball FloraPlant

This coleus variety was stunning in full sun and is an excellent plant for high impact, low maintenance and vivid color. The eye-catching reddish orange color is nonfading, and the plant is bold in the landscape and later to flower.

Evolvulus ‘Blue My Mind’
Proven Winners

This large-flowering, true blue evolvulus is one of the most heat-tolerant plants in the Proven Winners collection. It has proven success in the south for many of its attributes, including vibrant flowers, short internodes, cleanliness, uniformity, heat and drought tolerance, and prolific flowering.

Portulaca ‘Cupcake Yellow Chrome’
Dümmen Orange

The Dallas Arboretum used this variety in large sweeping beds this year, and the color was stunning. It has excellent branching and is incredibly floriferous. The Cupcake series is comprised of five colors and a new upright compact series will be introduced for 2018 production.

Torenia Summer Wave series

This plant was used in many areas at the arboretum in containers and beds. The five colors can be planted in sun or shade, and the tubular flowers provide strong color and continue to flower throughout the summer. This early-blooming series is trailing, vigorous and self cleaning.

Are you growing any of the above heat lovers? What are some of your tried and true summer performers that keep your customers coming back?

Shoot me an email and let me know; I’d love to hear from you.

— Jasmina


Jasmina Dolce

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

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