Gardening column: Patriotic flowers for Memorial Day | Columnists

Audrey J. Powers

Standard Memorial Working day flower shows get in touch with for purple, white and violet-blue petunias, violet-blue being the closest to blue a petunia flower can be. I believe this mix originated in the Midwest, exactly where Memorial Day is the risk-free frost-free day to set out tender annuals like petunias.

Petunias and their kin

Petunias have been a favored summer time yearly since the late 19th century. I visualize Victorian gardeners adored them for the identical cause we do — large flowers in a wide variety of brilliant colors and continuous bloom if deadheaded.

As The New Southern Dwelling Garden Reserve (Oxmoor House, 2015) states, standard petunias are not warmth-tolerant ample for the Southern summer. Plant breeders, on the other hand, adapted and enhanced petunias. The resulting Wave and Supertunia petunias are vigorous, spreading and heat tolerant.

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The only downside to these two spreaders is their dimensions. Each versions expand 3 to 4 toes in diameter, too big for mixed pots or tiny spaces. Thankfully, Supertunia now comes in a dwarf edition. Supertunia Mini Vista vegetation mature only 18 to 24 inches broad. 1 plant fits flawlessly in a standard 10-inch hanging basket. Shock Wave is a smaller sized model of Wave that spreads 20 to 30 inches.

Supertunia Mini Vista White is the only color that matches an American Memorial Day coloration scheme. A quite comparable glance can be had by using calibrachoa, earlier named million bells, the name of the first cultivar accessible. Calibrachoa is intently related to petunia, as each are native to central South The usa. Like petunia, calibrachoa come in many shades of red and violet, but not accurate blue.

Most calibrachoa now available are trailers or “spillers,” the vegetation that hold more than the edge of a pot, because they need to be grown in perfectly-drained potting soil in pots or hanging baskets relatively than in the ground. Common watering is also a have to since drought-stressed plants bring in aphids.

Elusive blue

As a substitute of building do with violet petunias, two other blue or blueish annuals, evolvulus and scaevola, are offered to comprehensive a red-white-blue planting. Equally are spreaders whose stems are inclined to increase straight rather than hold in excess of the edge of a pot or hanging basket. In a pot they do the job as “filler plants,” the plants in the middle sizing-smart. 

Evolvulus, from time to time referred to as blue daze, the identify of the frequent cultivar, is a trailer with deep sky-blue flowers. Sadly, bouquets do not open absolutely on cloudy times. This frost-delicate annual can be grown in the ground or in pots.

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Flowers of scaevola, or supporter flower, slide into the blue-violet class, even nevertheless cultivars are named Whirlwind Blue, Blue Admirer and Blue Ponder. Enthusiast flower grows improved in pots than in the floor because it desires very well-drained potting soil. It is hardy to 30 degrees, so it could be very easily overwintered in the Lowcountry.

Gardeners should not be tempted to choose lobelia as a blue flower this time of calendar year. Lobelia is a interesting-season annual that will not endure the heat and humidity of summer time.

Salvias, on the other hand, are pretty warmth tolerant, and a number of diverse forms bloom profusely in shades of deep blue. Mealycup sage (Salvia farinacea) is a trusted yearly or shorter-lived perennial if planted in typical to effectively-drained soil or pots. It would get the job done as the blue “thriller,” the tallest plant in a pot, mixed with petunia or calibrachoa. White cultivars also are out there.

Crossing mealycup sage with Salvia longispicata yields greater perennial salvias with the identical deep blue flowers on for a longer period spikes. Some of the most well known cultivars, in get of premier to smallest, are “Indigo Spires,” “Mystic Spires,” “Playin’ the Blues” and “Mysty.” The latter two are a appropriate dimensions for pots and look to do substantially much better there than in the floor.

“Hot Lips” salvia delivers gardeners a short-minimize for a purple-white-blue planting simply because its flowers are red, white or purple-and-white all at the exact same time. This substantial salvia is chilly hardy in most of South Carolina (USDA increasing zone 8).

Ukrainian assistance


Yellow Crystal zinnia is a new dwarf cultivar of trailing Mexican zinnia. Equally types are a lot more heat tolerant than prevalent zinnia. Anthony Keinath/Furnished

Gardeners who want to clearly show their assist for Ukraine can plant bouquets in the blue and yellow of the Ukrainian flag that symbolize the sky and the wheat fields of the Ukrainian steppe (plains).

I planted solid yellow marigolds in entrance of my “Mystic Spires” salvia. A much more heat-tolerant selection is the new dwarf Mexican zinnia (Zinnia angustifolia) “Yellow Crystal.” The vegetation are lined with 1-inch-vast golden yellow bouquets with a lighter yellow stripe down the center of each and every flower.

Irrespective of whether you choose red, white and blue or yellow and blue, both of those coloration strategies are a common and eye-captivating way to organize a flower mattress.

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