Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Bad Boys and Girls of the Plant World

We hope none of our readers take offense to this post...since we are always reading about great plants we wanted to a post about the bad boys (and girls) of the plant world. Since we gardeners can be very opinionated we know some may not agree and we welcome your comments and will take nothing personally.

We are going to talk about the plants that we call "shouldn't plant plants". First but, not the worst is Helianthemum nummularium 'Sunrose'. It is a woody looking plant that doesn't bloom much, gets mildew, rots easily with too much water and is short-lived.

Next on the shouldn't plant list is Polygala dalmaisiana 'Multiflora'. This new sweet pea shrub has bigger flowers, but the foliage turns yellow and falls off all year long making the plant look sick and diseased.

Third on our list is Dietes vegeta. This Fortnight lily takes a huge amount of space and produces few flowers add to that suckering and self-sowing you have a flowering weed. (Just our opinion.)

Next Scabiosa columbaria 'Butterfly Blue'. The pretty flowers go well with constant mildewed foliage. This picture tells all. This is what it looks like most of the year.

Another not so favorite of ours is Pennisetum setaceum 'Rubrum'. Looks great for half the year then proceeds to dry up and go dormat leaving a mass of tall brown weeds. It's only saving grace is that this variety does not set seed like its green brother.

This is the worst of the bad boys Lavandula stoechas 'Otto Quast'. It has no fragrance, short spiked flowers which age quickly and needs constant dead-heading. It gets woody fast and is not very winter hardy in our Zone 9. Why do they call this a lavender?

Arctotis hybrids ...there are a few good varieties, but there are some real bad boys like 'Sun Spot' and . They don't flower much, tend to flop all over the ground and the foliage turns brown. Treat these as annuals everywhere because they only bloom their best the first year. In the defense of arctotis though there are a few that stay short and bloom from spring through winter with the most intense colour in the cold weather such as "Pumpkin Pie'

Enough of the bad and ugly. It's time for the Good Girls (and boys). On our every changing list at this time is Aubrieta hybrida 'Axcent series'. This new Rock Cress has bigger flowers and more flowers is less likely to rot out in the center. We are giving it a test right now, but it looks like it will be a perfect early Spring, part-shade performer. A perfect companion for your impatiens later in the season.

Some fun new primroses are out and blooming thier little hearts out right now. One is Primula acaulis 'Hethor Tagetes' and the other is a double petaled. The yellow ones tend to have the most fragrance and the flowers look like little rose buds. These are sometimes called 'Sweet heart Primroses'. I was able to find these available in jumbo packs for the first time ever this year. Keep your eyes open for both of these they are looking quite hardy even with our wet, cold weather.

Looking for something to plant around your bulbs this year? For fun I stuck some lettuces and violas around some in pots and they have a really fun look AND the violas and lettuce are edible. So there you have it our fun tip of the day!

Enjoy all you plants, the good the bad and the ugly...just have a little fun in the garden and experiment a lot then share your wealth of information with a fellow gardener.


Crafty Gardener said...

Very interesting reading. I found my way here from a message you left on my blog.

GardenJoy4 said...

Hi Fern
Thank you for leaving a nice long post on my blog !
I really like all the information you two have on yours .. if we were the same zone (5b .. Crafty Gardener and I are in some what the same area) .. that would have been great ! LOL
I like hearing about other gardener's opinions on plants .. I think it is a good source of free info !
My main gripe is powdery mildew and aphids .. I see a lot of the "bad" plants are victims of that too.
Yes .. you guys are really having wicked weather there .. not that we don't have our share ..
It is a Canadian thing ? haha
Thanks for stopping by !

Barbee' said...

Thank you for giving us the info and update on these bad and good characters. I am in central Kentucky and powdery mildew is a huge problem.

Kylene said...

Keep up the good work.