29
July
2019

Lobularia ‘Frosty Knight’

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Lobularia ‘Frosty Knight’—bright variegated foliage makes it stand out in a bed

A treat that we are offering this autumn is ‘Frosty Knight’, a Lobularia with several unusual features. Brightly variegated foliage makes it stand out in a bed, and this combined with other key characteristics turns it into a useful tool for autumn design work. ‘Frosty Knight’ plays the Lobularia game in a different way, so let’s take a closer look at it.

COMPARED TO ‘SNOW PRINCESS’

Most people know Lobularia from the ever-present ‘Snow Princess’, and ‘Frosty Knight’ shares many similar features. For example, it grows low but very wide. A single plant raises a fluffy carpet only four or five inches high, but spreads over 20 inches of soil. In containers, Lobularia usually serves in the spiller role, the faithful sidekick serving under more flashy floral presentations above it.

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Notice the variegation on the cover of each bud in this flower cluster

From this point, ‘Frosty Knight’ changes things up a bit. First of course is the creamy-white variegation that edges the long, lance-like leaves. It elevates the foliage from backdrop to a compelling part of the presentation itself. Crucially, the plant moves aside some of its flowers to let more of the leaves show through, so the variegation is not a hidden feature. If you look closely you can see it even in the smallest details, like the tiny covers found on the buds of the florets in each flower cluster.

Also, the brightness of the variegation lends itself nicely to patio planters and beds where the luster of the foliage can be enjoyed in the evening, along with the fragrant blooms.

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Enjoy the brightness of the variegation and fragrant blooms in the evening

BETTER FOR AUTUMN

A second important innovation, especially for late summer and early fall, is improved heat tolerance. ‘Snow Princess’ is known as a creature of early spring and spring, but ‘Frosty Knight’ has a little canariensis thrown in so it looks good in the midst of higher temperatures and humidity. This means we can have a pure white Lobularia look during the autumn decor season when higher temperatures are still an occasional concern. ‘Frosty Knight’ handles those temperature spikes better.

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Tall, dark, and handsome plants contrast with low, spreading ‘Frosty Knight’

IN THE GARDEN

White Lobularia is the reliable counterpoint to dark-hued companions, and ‘Frosty Knight’ is bright. When teaming it up with another variety select tall, dark, and handsome plants like deep red Geraniums, tall blue Salvia, or dark and moody Millet. In short, we need plants that go up to pair with ‘Frosty Knight’s’ desire to spread. Lobularia can be used to trace out the border of an irregular garden bed, or it can simply serve as a skirt to cover the soil.

White itself is an important color in garden design because it serves either as a bridge between colors or as a base to support other colors. Think of it as glue, used to fill in the empty spaces between the bright components. Lobularia fills that role particularly well close to the soil, and ‘Frosty Knight’ reinterprets it.

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Variegated foliage means more focal points when designing 360° containers

IN CONTAINERS

‘Frosty Knight’ serves the traditional spiller role in containers, but brings some flash along. Its variegated foliage forms an additional point of attention. This is a handy feature when designing a 360° container that needs more of those focal points than one with a defined front. ‘Frosty Knight’ also helps to lighten containers heavily populated with darker ingredients like deeply blue Verbena or heavily purple Petunias. Those blossoms become easier to see when their edges are traced by the bright white of ‘Frosty Knight’.

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‘Frosty Knight’ puts a spin on the white theme

This is where a secondary feature of ‘Frosty Knight’ kicks in: medium vigor or, as we prefer to call it, balanced growth. If a plant has vigorous growth, a basket becomes a monoculture whether we like it or not because that one single plant swallows up the others. Using several vigorous plants is not the answer because it results in a basket that is overgrown, leggy, and messy. Balanced growth is the trick, where several plants of moderate vigor are blended to make an interesting single presentation. ‘Frosty Knight’ is a plant that knows how to do this job correctly.

Still, it has its place as a simple specimen pot. White is a popular color in event decor, for weddings and openings especially, where it is the overwhelming choice. ‘Frosty Knight’ falls right in with that core theme of white but offers a different spin—it’s simple and classy.

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Color comes back down to the soil for a tidy, tucked in look

CULTURE AND CARE

Lobularia likes full sun or partial shade. Its soil and water requirements are not remarkable in any extreme: typical good garden soil and decent water. It suffers at the extremes. No deadheading is required and it doesn’t dirty up as it ages. Plants do fluff color above the soil, and that color comes down to the soil for a tidy, tucked in look.

Lobularia makes attractive botanical mulch to cover the soil of new plantings quickly, but it’s also loose enough not to choke off anything valuable in the process. It plays well with other plantings in containers and pulls its weight by adding a new attraction to the mix.

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