I like to close every year with a look back at plants that were some of the solid performers and those that were surprises in my landscape and garden.
I’ve shared most, if not all, of these plant observations with the Southern Gardening Nation in the hope that my experience gives you some great choices for your home landscape.
So, without further ado, here are my top landscape performers for 2021. They are in no particular order, but there may been a color theme.
Vista Bubblegum Supertunia
I grew these in hanging baskets this year and was very pleased with their performance. With the mild winter we’ve had so far — no frosts in my coastal home garden yet — my Vista Bubblegum baskets are still blooming.
Pollypetite Rose of Sharon
I’ve started to grow and appreciate smaller-stature landscape plants, and Pollypetite fits that bill. It produces a plant with a rounded form.
I’ve had this Rose of Sharon for about 4 years, and it is only about 18 tall and 8 inches wide. It is covered with flowers that are an unusual lavender pink with a small, white center.
Vinca Cora Cascade
I love annual vinca, especially Cora Cascade, growing as a ground cover in my big citrus containers. This plant has a trailing growth habit and creates a nice, colorful mass 8 inches tall and up to 36 inches wide.
Annual vinca needs to be planted later in the spring when soil temperatures have started to rise.
Zinnia Raggedy Anne
This zinnia is an heirloom-type selection. They are called cactus-flowered zinnias, and they resemble fancy chrysanthemums.
I love their flower size — up to 5 inches across — with curved and twisted petals. The flowers are held on long, sturdy stems that are perfect for cutting. The flower colors can range from white to orange to bright pinks.
If there was one landscape plant that created a social media stir this year, it was confederate rose. Every time I posted images, my email was flooded with questions. It’s really a hibiscus rather than a rose.
In the fall, this plant produces a display of pretty pink flowers that change color throughout the day. The flowers begin to open very pale pink, turning pink and then dark pink to almost red by the end of the day. On a typical day, there will be loads of flowers in varying shades of white, pink and dark pink.
I was successful in rooting stems using the pass-along technique of simply putting stems in a bucket of water.
Take time to take stock of what landscape and garden plants you liked, didn’t like and wished you had grown in 2021. Then start planning, and get ready for a great garden in 2022.
Gary Bachman is an Extension and research professor of horticulture at the Mississippi State University Coastal Research and Extension Center in Biloxi. Contact him at [email protected]