The Southern Living Plant Collection was first introduced last spring, and Plant Development Services Incorporated (PDSI) and Southern Living recently unveiled new shrubs, bulbs and annuals for spring 2009. New plants in the collection, like the 2008 introductions, are still designed to solve specific challenges in the landscape.
The six new annuals in the Southern Living Plant Collection are from the Athens Select plant collection and were selected to be heat and humidity tolerant by Dr. Allan Armitage in his trials at the University of Georgia.
Two shrubs–’Yewtopia’ plum yew and ‘Emerald Snow’ loropetalum–were added to the collection. Both add texture and color to the category. ‘Yewtopia’ is a vase-shaped evergreen conifer that does well in part shade or full sun, and ‘Emerald Snow’ has leathery, shiny green foliage that is a great contrast to the vivid purple loropetalums in the collection.
A pair of lilies–’Pink Rain’ lily and ‘Dwarf Philippine’ lily–join three bulb varieties that were introduced for this fall.
PDSI and Southern Living also introduced six annuals for spring 2009: Begonia ‘Bonita Shea,’ ruellia ‘Rajin Cajun,’ scaevola ‘Cajun Blue,’ setcreacea ‘Blue Sue,’ cuphea ‘Plum Mist’ and heliotrope ‘Azure Skies.’
Begonia ‘Bonita Shea’ is compact and mound shaped with dainty white-to-pink flowers borne over curled, reddish green leaves with red undersides. Ruellia Rajin Cajun has vivid red flowers and a low growth habit. It’s a tough little plant that’s easy to grow and holds up well through heat and humidity. Scaevola ‘Cajun Blue’ is more compact and earlier blooming than other varieties.
Setcreacea ‘Blue Sue’ displays distinctive blue-tinged foliage with a handsome purple margin and pink flowers. Cuphea ‘Plum Mist,’ an exceptionally free-flowering, low-growing plant, offers two-tone flowers in light and dark lavender. Incredibly heat tolerant, heliotrope ‘Azure Skies’ is a low-growing, spreading American native with light lavender flower clusters.