Garden News: Outstanding landscape plants highlighted

With the arrival of spring, the LSU AgCenter has begun announcing the season’s Louisiana Super Plants selections.

The AgCenter started the Louisiana Super Plant program in 2010 to highlight outstanding landscape plants for Louisiana.

The first Super Plant for this spring is the Kauai torenia, or wishbone flower.

Landscape professionals and home gardeners are always on the lookout for great shade-loving bedding plants for the warm season, says AgCenter horticulturist Allen Owings. One that has great potential is the wishbone flower, also called torenia. And one of the best of the wishbone flowers is the Kauai series from PanAmerican Seed, he says.

These torenias are gaining in popularity and have been proven performers in three years of trials at the LSU AgCenter.

“We need additional shade plant options due to problems with downy mildew on impatiens in Louisiana landscapes the past two years,” Owings says. “These would be great companion plants for begonias, impatiens, caladiums and other shade-type bedding plants. They do well in a lightly sunny or lightly to partially shaded areas.”

Flower colors include blue and white, lemon drop, deep blue, rose, burgundy, white and the unique magenta. You can also buy mixed colors of Kauai flowers. These flowers perform great in our hot and humid Louisiana climates, Owings says. They’re short, mounding and compact — only 8 inches tall. Plant individual plants 8-12 inches apart. These plants bloom constantly from midspring through fall. Deadheading is not needed.

The Louisiana Super Plants program is an educational and marketing campaign of the LSU AgCenter that highlights tough and beautiful plants that perform well in Louisiana landscapes. To see a list of nurseries participating in the Louisiana Super Plants program, go to lsuagcenter.com/superplants.

Got a gardening question? Write to GardenNews@agcenter.lsu.edu.