Plants that thrive in Cobb County
Angelonia aka Summer Snapdragon is an annual I can safely depend on all summer long. It requires full sun but it blooms constantly. There are several shades of pink and purple, as well as white, and I usually get one of each and contrast them with each other. It needs a good supply of water but a couple of doses of slow release fertilizer keeps it blooming from April through October.
Torrenia comes in pink and purple. It gets 2 feet across even in a small pot with regular watering, and that is really the key. Torrenia likes water. Planted in the ground, in shade, it doesn’t need as much. Ever since impatiens developed a disease and can’t be used much anymore, torrenia has taken its place in shady spots.
Million Bells – Callibrachoa is one of my favorite plants. I never get tired of looking at them. They need adquate water and a good slow-release fertilizer but they bloom in flushes all summer long when given enough of each. They come in several different colors and all of the colors look good together.
Blue Daze is just a gorgeous annual. It can get 2 feet around (this is one plant) and spills over the side of its pot, but never gets more than 1 foot tall. Here’s the thing, though. If you put it in a smaller pot, it will stay small, but you have to water it every day or the leaves dry out. If you put it in a large pot, it gets three times as big, but you don’t have to water as often. It needs full sun and benefits from fertilizer. Slow release fertilizer twice during the summer will do fine.
Fairy Tale Cinderella Portulaca – what makes this so unusual is the bright, deep pink set against the bright, deep yellow. This requires full sun, but not a lot of water. The flowers go to bed at night – when the sun goes down, they close up but come out in full array in the morning.
Orange Marmalade Crossandra – What I love about this is the bright green, glossy leaves that never look bad, ever. And the beautiful flowers are a bonus. I kept mine in afternoon shade during the summer, and in September moved it to full sun. This needs Miracle Gro or slow-release fertilizer to produce blooms. Doesn’t have to be watered every day.
Melampodium blooms constantly throughout the summer and never lets up. What I found in my garden, though, is that it has to be planted in fairly deep soil for the roots to thrive, or else it just shrivels up and dies. But in full sun, in good soil, it provides 7 months of non-stop color. Here it is next to purple Gomphrena, which tends to die when over-watered, so they need excellent drainage.
Red Fountain Grass is so pretty when back-lit by the rising or setting sun! It gets 4 feet tall and 3 feet wide in one season, and then sadly dies at first frost, so I buy a new one every year. Needs no special care!
Sunpatiens – I developed a theory about Sunpatiens that they really cannot handle full sun or they wither. So I placed mine under another plant that shaded it and that did the trick. Then one day I passed Mount Paran Church of God on Allgood Road and lo and behold, they have lots of very healthy Sunpatiens in FULL SUN, so go figure! All I know is, this needs slow-release fertilizer and lots of water to look good. It is stunning!
I love Red Lantana because it blooms all summer and is so striking. But, it does get really big – 4 feet across. I’ve noticed that if I put Nelson’s Color Star slow-release fertilizer on it in April and July, I can allow it to grow big and it never stops blooming all summer! But in a smaller space, you can cut it back in July and September and the blooms come right back in a few days. I’ve never seen a plant drink water like lantana. You can give it 10 gallons and it still wants more.
Dahlberg Daisies are lovely, sunny little flowers with bright green foliage. They stay small, and don’t need a lot of water. They add a healthy dose of cheerfulness wherever they are placed.
In the past, much as I love Petunias, I was always disappointed that by mid-July they were on the wane no matter how much Miracle Gro I fed them. But this year, I put slow-release Nelson’s Color-Star on them in April and July, and they lasted all the way through mid-September before finally dying off. They need water regularly, and full sun, to thrive.
I had really bad luck with Tropical Hibiscus until I researched and found that they die when given fertilizer with a high middle number. Phosphorus kills hibiscus. But they really need potassium, the third number. I finally ordered fertilizer from Hidden Valley online, and that produced great blooms and helped the plants stay healthy. I have also found that they do much better in the ground than in pots.
Vinca is a workhorse annual. It doesn’t need babying, it can fill a space, and it blooms constantly. I do find, though, that they drink a lot of water when you provide it, but they can go 2-3 days without water. If you don’t want to water them too much, put them in a very large pot.
Mexican Heather is another workhorse. It just blooms constantly from April till November and you don’t have to fuss over it. But all annuals like fertilizer from time to time – either Miracle Gro sprayed on with the hose, or slow-release sprinkled into the dirt. This is a full sun annual.
Dragon Wing Begonias are another workhorse annual. I put four all along my pool in afternoon shade and morning sun and they bloom from April through November non-stop. They don’t need a lot of fertilizer or water, although they seem to do better when they get enough water. Because I like to put them out full grown, I overwinter mine in the garage on a trolley.
Lantana Gold is a great performer. In the past, I found that it would die back for 2-3 weeks and then produce new blooms. But with Nelson’s Color Star, it bloomed non-stop all summer long. Here it is in October, still producing new flowers (see far left in this photo).
Begonias are a great plant for pots because they can handle sun or part shade and don’t need a lot of water. These are very happy on my back steps.
Jerry French Landscaping – serving Cobb County since 1994