Variety Shorts

Variety Shorts

Sweet Perennials

The new Darwin Plants perennials trade catalog for 2007 is now being distributed in the United States. Here are some highlights:

‘Heart and Soul’ astilbe features large, fully fluffed plumes of light lavender-pink flowers set off with a subtle blue sheen that creates an appealing effect. Large petals contribute to the visibility of the sheen, as do low light angles at the start and end of the day. It has more robust qualities than many others, including increased tolerance for heat, humidity and sun. It also holds up better in transport.

‘Sweet Heidy’ is a new hybrid hardy geranium from Dutch breeder Marco van Noort. The flowers have distinct, white centers surrounded by pink, which fuses into blue, with an overlay of dramatic dark veins completing the look. The variety is the result of several crossings, including G. wallichianum, which is responsible for giving it an exceptionally long blooming season. A part-sprawling habit makes it a good plant for border fronts, hanging baskets and other containers.

Phlox ‘Sherbet Cocktail’ is the first perennial phlox to show yellow in its petals. It’s a bit of a chameleon, forming yellow buds encased in chocolate-maroon bracts that open to reveal flowers with a yellow-green edge and centers that may be either white or pink. The flowers have a slightly waxy appearance, making one instantly think of hydrangea. It boasts large, tight flower clusters and crowning upright stems.

‘Citronelle’ and ‘Mocha’ are the latest heucheras vying for attention in the fashion stakes of this popular genus. Bred by French plantsman Thierry Delabroye, they join his 2006 introductions ‘Brownies’ and ‘Caramel’ as being the first examples where color doesn’t come at the expense of strength. This is due to a high proportion of genes from the H. villosa species, making them large, robust, reliable garden plants with large leaves and a late-season (August to October) blooming time with cream flowers. For more information, visit

New Additions

Supported by the Simply Beautiful brand’s comprehensive marketing campaign, Veranda scutellaria, ‘Cabaret Hot Pink’ calibrachoa and ‘Aztec Light Pink’ verbena are all new additions to the program.

Veranda scutellaria is a heat loving plant featuring glossy, dark-green foliage and blue-purple bicolor flowers. This new variety looks great in hanging baskets and mixed containers and is a great component in red, white and blue combinations. While veranda is best grown warm and bright in production, it likes shady spots in the garden and grows 10 inches (25 cm) tall with a 10- to 12-inch (25- to 30-cm) garden spread.

New ‘Cabaret Hot Pink’ calibrachoa has large flowers in a non-fading, hot strawberry-pink color. These free-flowering plants add dramatic flair to gardens, hanging baskets and mixed containers. Cabaret varieties are great for early season sales, as they are early-flowering under short days. ‘Cabaret Hot Pink’ fills in fast and full and grows to a height of 6 to 10 inches (15 to 25 cm) with a spread of 12 to 14 inches. (30 to 35 cm).

Free flowering ‘Aztec Light Pink’ verbena is perfect for late spring and summer programs. The beautiful light-pink flowers with delicate white centers grow to a height of 8 to 10 inches (25 to 30 cm) and a spread of 12 to 18 inches (30 to 45 cm). ‘Aztec Light Pink’ is well branched with a mounded, trailing habit and will look beautiful in containers, baskets, landscapes and mixed garden borders.

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