New ‘must-have’ flowers to plant this season

By A Contributor

Seed catalogs and garden magazines are out in full force promoting new must have plants. They come out during the season I refer to as the “anticipation” season. I would be a liar if I didn’t admit to getting caught up in the newness. Endless Summer Hydrangea, Razzmatazz coneflower, and Swizzle Zinnia all got planted in my landscape when they first came out. For some reason, none performed as hoped.

None of these new plants made any recommendation lists to grow in Kansas. It is fun to discover a new plant to try, just be prepared for it to not always grow well. K-State research identifies plants that do succeed.

New annual flowers to try in your garden that have been researched by K-State can be obtained from the office and at

There are 25 new annuals that you may want in your flower beds this year. Some plants grow best in a container. The container list includes 11 new recommended plants. These new ones go along with the previous recommended annual flowers.

Several of the new recommend annuals are grasses. Master Gardeners planted Pennisetum ‘White Lancer’ in the demonstration bed at the courthouse plaza last summer. It has an upright appearance that gets 55 inches tall. The flower is a tight white spike and forms quickly.

Pennisetum ‘Fireworks’ and ‘Vertigo’ have the sought out burgundy color foliage. Vertigo is a larger grass grown for just the foliage since no flowers are formed. Fireworks produce the bushy foxtail like flowers. It actually has a variegated leaf with the margins pink compared to the burgundy midvein.

I’m personally excited to see another Torenia added to the list. The common name is wishbone flower. ‘Catalina Pink’ joins ‘Catalina Blue’ for an annual that does great on my front steps in containers. It gets just a couple of hours of direct sunlight. Deep shade and full sun causes poor performance.

Remember the “Prairie Star Flowers” list as you look at the photo enhanced flower pictures during this anticipation season.

You can find out more information on this and other horticulture topics by going to the Riley County, K-State Research and Extension website at And you can contact Gregg Eyestone at the Riley County office of K-State Research and Extension at 110 Courthouse Plaza in Manhattan, by calling 785-537-6350 or e-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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