The 2005 Way Hot 100: Blockbusters and Prize Winners

I Love This Plant

The 2005 Way Hot 100: Blockbusters and Prize Winners

March 17, 2005


  • Bracteantha bracteata 'Wallaby White' (Outback paper daisy) Plants from Oz are taking over?they make a lot of sense for hot, exposed positions, particularly in containers, which have extreme microclimates. Selected by Ecke Ranch to live up to the fresh-as-a-daisy standard, even in summer heat. "Make good cut flowers, too." (FM)
  • Calibrachoa 'Crackling Fire' (Million Bells®) This blazing-orange color break was a shoo-in for the cover of Jackson & Perkins' 2005 catalog?orange was hot in interior design; now it has reached hanging baskets. 'Crackling Fire' forms a mounding cascade of small petunia-like flowers that are self-cleaning, i.e., no deadheading.
  • KongTM Coleus What's the betting these huge velvety leaves patterned in jungle prints will be a monster hit this summer? The craze for coleus shows no signs of slowing, and for pots they're unbeatable. Four colors from Simply Beautiful, none of them subtle.
  • Torenia Summer WaveTM series Heat tolerant, disease resistant and long flowering, these hanging-basket stars seemed to come out of nowhere. "Torenias were a nothing plant, but what Suntory (the breeders) are good at is taking a very obscure species and removing the bad habits. It grows huge in one season and looks great in containers." (LA)
  • Senecio 'Kilimanjaro' and 'Himalaya' These senecios, from Fides North America, create a striking mass of succulent foliage for borders or pots; the elegant tactile leaves come in gray ('Kilimanjaro') or green ('Himalaya'). Use in pots or as ground cover in hot, dry locations.



  • Euphorbia 'Efanthia' and 'Kalipso' Euphorbias are outstanding garden plants; these two are new from Proven Winners. The low-growing 'Kalipso' forms a tight ball of moss-green foliage; 'Efanthia' has a compact habit and foliage in shades of moody smoke and burgundy as the weather cools. Zones 4 to 11.
  • Pulmonaria Gaelic TM Sunset and GaelicTM Magic A deer-resistant pulmonaria? What a huge leap forward. Fresh out of the box from renowned foliage fancier Dan Heims of Terra Nova Nurseries and exclusively from Proven Winners, they make great companions for hostas. Zones 4 to 8.
  • Tricyrtis 'Taipei Silk' The strange allure of toad lilies is spreading slowly but surely from in-crowd gardens in Seattle and England to heartland, USA, thanks in this case to perennials specialist Blooms of Bressingham. Purple flowers highlighted in pale mauve and white with reddish freckles. Zones 6 to 9.
  • Calluna Garden Girls Series  Grower Monrovia puts these bud-blooming heathers at the leading edge of a new trend for fall and winter gardens. "With the growth in the popularity of gardening, all the botanical gardens are redesigning areas for fall and winter." (NS) Great in containers. Zones 5 to 7.
  • Calla lily 'Plum Pretty' Exotic container plantings are a trend with legs: "The popularity of colored callas has been growing for 10 years, to rival cannas and caladiums." (JVB) Perennial in Zones 9 to 11, treat as an annual or a summer bulb elsewhere.



  • Double Knock Out® rose First there was Knock Out TM ; now Novalis brings us Double Knock Out®. This time around you get more flowers for your money?and more cherry-red petals on each. This is a proven landscape rose with great disease resistance and nonstop blooms. Zones 5 to 10.
  • Hydrangea macrophylla 'Lady in Red' Hot hydrangea of the moment is 'Lady in Red', selected by woody-plant guru Dr. Michael Dirr. McCorkle Nurseries is poised to blitz the nation with 500,000 plants, so watch for lush pink lacecaps that mature red, rich fall foliage and distinctive red stems. Zones 6 to 9.
  • Physocarpus Summer Wine TM As with cars, so with plants?this is an upgrade on last year's model from Spring Meadow Nursery: "I crossed Diabolo® with 'Nana', a dwarf form. Summer WineTM foliage is finer, and it is not as tall as Diabolo®, so it fits into the residential landscape better." (TW) Zones 3 to 7.


Plants That Win Prizes

Check out some of the 2005 winners from top regional and industry plant pick programs:

  • Salvia greggii 'Wild Thing' Aromatic mounds of dark, semievergreen foliage are covered with flushes of hot-pink flowers for much of the season. Needs full sun to partial shade and perfectly drained soil. Zones 5b to 10. Plant Select®,
  • Syringa patula 'Miss Kim' (Korean lilac) Ideal for the smaller garden, 'Miss Kim' has an upright form and light purple fragrant flowers that appear May through June, later than common lilac. The leaves turn a deep, rich burgundy in the fall. Zones 4 to 7. The Cary Award,
  • DayDream TM Rose A low-growing (to 2 feet), long-flowering fuchsia-pink single rose with a light scent from Bailey Nurseries of Minnesota. Hardy to Zone 4.  All-America Rose Selections,

The following Blockbuster plants didn't make it into the April issue of Garden Design for reasons of space, but all of them come highly recommended:

Good for Containers

  • Big Roo and Kanga Kangaroo Paw Australian natives with fuzzy "paws" in vivid colors, Anizoganthos flavidus hybrids usually prefer drier soils than are generally found in the United States, which makes them susceptible to root disease. However, Big Roo and Kanga Series from Bodger Botanicals are the result of breeding to suit the North American market: "An Oz breeder used three different species from northern Oz where soils are wetter and came up with Kangas?they're more disease-tolerant and grow to 18 inches tall. The Big Roos reach 5 feet tall and make a specimen or container plant." (SJ). Perennial in Zone 8. Annual or conservatory specimen in cooler states.
  • Strawberry Lemonade® variegated mandevilla One for the Southern states, this mandevilla with single deep pink flowers with yellow throats was discovered at a Monrovia nursery. Excellent for containers as it's a slow grower and therefore easy to manage, compared with the rampant climbers that love sunny places. "To die for in a colorful glazed pot." (NS) Zones 10 to 11.
  • Iresine herbstii (Bloodleaf) An heirloom plant from Proven Winners that's poised to hit the big time. "The bright red leaves are a surefire hit in mixed containers," because attention-grabbing foliage "is the glue that holds a container together." (JS) Prefers part shade. Zones 10 to 11.
  • Hibiscus TradeWinds Series The country's biggest horticulture trade show in Columbus, Ohio, last year was overrun with  new hibiscus. Trade Winds hibiscus from Yoder sport saucer-size flowers in shades of pink, red, orange and yellow.

More Plants That Won Prizes

  • Baptisia minor (Dwarf blue false indigo) This Great Plains native has attractive foliage, beautiful lupinelike flowers that attract bees, and seedpods that hold their own into winter. From Great Plants for the Great Plains,
  • Salvia pachyphylla (Mojave sage) Aromatic evergreen foliage. Silver-green leaves set off persistent mauve bracts. This shrubby perennial grows to about 3 feet. Zones 5 to 10. From Plant Select®
  • Rhododendron 'Gibraltar' Awarded honors in both the mid-Atlantic and Midwestern regions of the United States, deciduous rhodo 'Gibraltar' has vivid orange flowers from deep crimson-orange buds, blooms midseason and a compact form that grows to 6 feet in 10 years. One of the best and most reliable deciduous hybrids. Zones 5a to 8a. American Rhododendron Society,
  • Calycanthus floridus 'Michael Lindsey' (Carolina allspice) A native deciduous shrub with neat, attractive foliage. Green in spring and summer, it turns a striking yellow in fall. Distinct, very fragrant flowers bloom in May and June with a fruit scent from its reddish-brown 2-inch flowers. Adaptable to many soils and all light conditions. Grows to about 7 feet. Zones 4 to 9. Pennsylvania Horticultural Society Gold Medal,