The 2005 Way Hot 100: Collector's Choice

I Love This Plant

The 2005 Way Hot 100: Collector's Choice

March 17, 2005


  • Lachenalia Namakwa® and Rupert® Oddity plants that have been highly collectible for years, Lachenalia aloides hybrids are now into commercial production, and these two, thanks to FloraStar, will be available this year. Purple polka-dotted foliage, lots of colorful blooms, easy to grow. Zones 10 to 11.
  • Manfreda Variegata 'Macho Mocha' If the name doesn't grab you, first sight will draw you closer. "A truly unbelievable plant that stops everyone in their tracks and begs for comment." It suits warm, dry gardens, but in cooler locations it would make an amazing pot plant. "What makes this plant so unbelievable are the huge succulent leaves that are washed in lavender with a peppering of chocolate-brown spots." (CS) Zones 8 to 10.
  • Veltheimia Bracteata (Forest Lily) You see it and you want it. "A member of the hyacinth family, this bulb is decorative in its own right." (DW). Glossy leaves and long-lasting flowers in February to early April. Summer dormant. Good for container growing. Coral-pink flowers look like short red-hot pokers. Zones 9 to11.
  • Camassia Quamash (Camas) Bulb native to western North America. Lovely violet or white starlike flowers on 2- to 3-foot stalks in early summer fill the gap between the blooming of spring bulbs and summer perennials. Zones 4 to 8.
  • Arisaema Candidissimum Elegant member of the arum family with a faintly fragrant, pink-and-white-striped spathe that glows in the woodland garden. Flowers emerge in mid- to late spring, just before the three-parted leaves unfurl. Probably the most sought-after arisaema. It prefers cool, moist, acidic soil in semishade. Zones 6 to 9.
  • Caladium 'Thai Beauty' Stunning rose-pink leaves are like stained glass, with a delicate tracery of cream and green veining. Foliage looks great no matter how hot and humid the weather and has a thick, waxy texture. Probably the most popular hybrid in Thailand (its Thai name is 'Honglong'), where caladium breeding has produced amazing leaf shapes and colors. These summer bulbs make compact plants 20 inches tall and up to 2 feet wide?great for containers. Zones 9 and 10.
  • Heucherella 'Stoplight' Vibrant yellow foliage with a dark-red blotch has traffic-stopping power in the spring shade garden. Leaves are larger and have stronger colors than 'Sunspot'. Dainty flowers are 6-inch spikes of white. Zones 4 to 9.
  • Cuphea Micropetala Unlike most cupheas, which have a delicate texture, this subshrub is big and bold. Narrow dark green leaves line 3- to 5-foot, deep red stems. Large tubular flowers are candy-corn orange and yellow?and are irresistible to hummingbirds. Blooms mid- to late summer. Zones 9 to 10.
  • Clematis integrifolia 'Aljonushka' Like its sister vines, this compact, shrubby form is often coupled with roses, but it functions as a ground cover, not a climber. It can assume a pillar form in containers, too. Zones 3 to 9.
  • Spigelia Marilandica (Indian pink) Bearing red and yellow flowers in the shade, this is among the top hummingbird plants around. Even the Brits have discovered this Southeastern native?new variety 'Wisley Jester' was exhibited at the Chelsea Flower Show 2004. Zones 5 to 9. 
  • Cypripedium 'Ulla Silkens' (Lady slipper) Orchids are not just houseplants: Now you can have native orchids in your garden. Sold as mature plants, they are easy to grow?just watch as the world catches on. Zone 3 and 6.
  • Angelica Gigas A biennial or short-lived perennial, this sophisticated showstopper assumes a stark, almost surreal presence with its unusual red-violet flower buds and 6-foot stalk. Blooming from summer to frost, it generally reseeds profusely. Zones 6 to 8.
  • Paeonia Suffruticosa 'Hana-daijin' Actually 3- to 5-foot-tall woody shrubs, tree peonies are virtually worshipped in China and Japan. No one knows why they're not better-known here?they are easy to grow, and this one bears huge and remarkable semidouble violet-purple flowers. Zones 5 to 9.
  • Magnolia Black Tulip TM Deep burgundy tulip-shaped flowers that appear before the foliage in very early spring?who could resist? This remarkable new magnolia, exclusive to Monrovia, makes an excellent small specimen tree. Zones 5 to 9.
  • Digitalis Purpurea Camelot Series Foxgloves are biennials, i.e, they grow leaves one year and flower the next. Well, no longer. These hybrids produce huge flower spikes of white, cream, lavender or rose the year they are sown. Zones 4 to 8.
  • Clematis Versailles TM Raymond Evison, renowned British clematis breeder, introduces his Patio Clematis Collection this year, starring Cezanne TM , Picardy TM and wine-red Versailles TM , which blooms from May to September. The vine reaches only 4 to 6 feet but is covered in flowers. Zones 4 to 7.
  • Calceolaria Arachnoidea Spotted last summer at Hedgerows Nursery in McMinnville, Oregon, this to-die-for gray-leaved ugly/beautiful alpine from Chile has distinctive purple-red pocket flowers and instant adopt-me appeal. Show it off in a pot or crevice garden. Zone 9.

    These Collector's plants didn't make it into the April issue of Garden Design, but we think you'll enjoy them:

    • Black BacarraTM Rose French rose breeders House of Meilland responded to the demand for a mythical black rose with Black BacarraTM . The vermilion red velvet petals command a premium in the cut-flower trade. Now available in limited quantities to gardeners who require the ultimate in all things. Very trendy. Zones 5a to 7.
    • Geranium 'Philippe Vapelle' Everyone who loves hardy geraniums grows 'Rozanne', so if you have to be different, try 'Philippe Vapelle', a beautiful misty, purplish-blue flower with dark-purple veins. This class act, encountered at Hedgerows Nursery in Oregon, has the most subtle gray-green rounded leaves and forms a neat mound. Zones 5 to 8.
    • Barry Glick's Hellebores Mr. Glick, the collector's collector, has hellebores so rarified they only have numbers (although he does plan to name them). These multipetaled winter bloomers with refined freckles range from white to darkest maroon and are dangerously addictive. Zones 4 to 9.