03
September
2018

Field Day 2018 Winning Plants

HAM Lime Sizzler
It turns out Hamelia ‘Lime Sizzler’ makes a great groundcover for Cincinnati

Competition was much tighter for the most popular plant of Field Day this year. Results have been tabulated, and since it was such a close race we decided to share with everyone the top three winners of the day. You can see from the photos why each plant became a crowd pleaser.

HAM Lime Sizzler 02
Bright fire tips form the signature feature of ‘Lime Sizzler’

In first place we have Hamelia ‘Lime Sizzler’. This is the Firebush discovered down in Florida in 2014. Initial publicity touted it as a low-growing bush. When we grew it out for Field Day we discovered that it grows very low in the Cincinnati area, and it turns into a great groundcover with a beautiful golden glow, green variegation within the leaves, and unique bright fire tips.

IMP SunPatiens Compact Tropical Rose
Impatiens ‘Sunpatiens Compact Tropical Rose’ was also very popular

Winning plant #2 is Impatiens ‘SunPatiens Compact Tropical Rose’ with its beautiful variegated foliage. Attendees will remember this plant as anchor to the highly successful Office Garden from last year. This year, we tried it out in our hottest spot—the Long Garden in front of House 10—to see if it would melt in the sun. As you can see, it held up like a champion.

A key appeal, on top of its great looks, is the plant’s versatility. We’ve planted it everywhere from full sun to full shade and it stays in an elegant neat and tidy mound. Flowers appear up until frost, but the unusual varigation—especially for an Impatiens—is what sells the planting. To highlight the glow we surrounded it with Dusty Miller ‘Silverdust’ to the side and Coleus ‘Vino’ in the back.

IMP SunPatiens Compact Tropical Rose 02
‘SunPatiens Compact Tropical Rose’ in a bed combo with Dusty Miller and a Coleus

And in third place…we have a three-way tie.

Salvia ‘Black and Blue’ is striking all the way around so it always gets noticed. This plant is tall, waving its distinctive flowers well above the others around it, and grows waist high in our gardens. The flowers are simply funky. We like the self-contrast of the brilliant deep blue juxtaposed with the dark, near black of the sepals. It’s intense. Pairing it with chartreuse foliage—like the ‘Pineapple Splash’ Coleus we used in the Display Beds—makes it pop.

SAL Black & Blue
Salvia ‘Black and Blue’—oversized florets, deep black collars, and elongated “jaws” 

Celosia ‘Dracula’ brings the drama of course, with that one huge blood red bloom. Some people call it a blood brain, so it definitely has holiday appeal as well. Deep red is a difficult color to find with any consistency when it comes to annuals but ‘Dracula’ has always come through for us. We find that the color is stronger with more light but even in part shade the leaves are dark maroon-burgundy and the comb is dark blood red. In the Display Bed we surrounded ‘Dracula’ with Pentas ‘Butterfly Red’, Begonia ‘Whopper Red’, and Coleus ‘Vino’ to compare and contrast the red shades.

CEL Dracula
Celosia ‘Dracula’—or are these brain-shaped aliens rambling on their leafy legs?

Cuphea ‘Bat Face’ is the last of our top three (total of five!) winners and it’s not surprising. We’ve yet to find someone who can pass by these devilsh little faces without taking a second glance. Orange petals and purple spikes are pointed ears, a purple knob is the face, and little stamens form the eyes and fanged mouth.

CUP Batface
Look closely and you’ll see the ‘Bat Face’ in these two Cuphea flowers

Ordinarily we would call this one a novelty, but pull back and you’ll discover the plant’s real strength—the pointed texture of the leaves and the long trumpet necks of the flowers. Red and purple scattered through the green is eye-catching and rewards visitors in a walk-by garden. Better yet, we found we could match that red-orange to several other red-orange plants to build a truly interesting garden.

CUP Batface 02
Pull back to see the fun flower-and-foliage texture that Cuphea ‘Bat Face’ offers

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Diefenbacher Greenhouses is a supplier of annuals and creative green goods. We sell directly to Garden Centers and Landscapers in the Cincinnati Area. 

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