Hello Exotic Plant Lovers!

I was in Atlanta a few years ago at the end of July and I was astounded at what I saw in their gardens: everything that we would normally depend on for August, September and October colour was just finishing blooming! The hydrangeas were done and had lost all their colour without a rebloom in sight. The lilies and asters and black-eyed susans that normally bloom for us in September and October were finishing. The Japanese anemones were also done like dinner. Not only that, they all looked like they were about to fry to a crisp!

What were they going to do? Where was their colour going to come from for the rest of the summer and fall? The answer was actually right in front of me: hardy subtropicals. While all the flowering shrubs and perennials were finishing, the hardy subtropicals were just settling in to some nice size and stature perfectly ready to luxuriate in the Georgia heat and take those gardens from a riot of perennial colour into an extravaganza of foliage colour and exuberance.

This year, more than ever, this lesson I learned in Atlanta about the value of hardy subtropicals seems more valuable than ever.

Gardeners keep asking me what they are going to do to maintain colour in their gardens this season. We had a mild winter followed by a warm dry spring and now summer has started a month early in May rather than late June or July. Our perennials and shrubs have been weeks ahead of normal and remain so. With this current heat they will continue to bloom earlier and for shorter periods than normal.

My advice to you: focus on foliage. Build up the foliage contrast in your garden with different textures, colours, shapes, sizes. And get lots of this foliage interest from hardy subtropicals. They are dramatic, they are conversation-inducing, and they are hardy in our gardens with just a little careful siting and some winter mulch.

Below I've highlighted twelve possibilities for great subtropical foliage (and some flowers too). In addition to these, we have tons of other options at Phoenix. Come down and have a look!

Cheers, Gary and the Phoenicians

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Hydrangea 'Miss Saori'

2014 Chelsea Garden Show Plant of the Year

 

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Guarantee a Colourful Summer Garden with Twelve Hardy Subtropicals for Summer Sizzle and Style

Begonia 'Garden Angel Plum' - Hardy Begonia - This hardy begonia has pewter-silver palmate leaves with coal black veins and a warm, gorgeous, rich, plummy-red violet flush. 'Garden Angel Plum' will form a luscious clump of zone 7 hardy foliage in the shade garden or in shady containers. Best classified as a shrub begonia, it has a mounding, upright habit and flowers in late summer with small, single, pink flowers. Dyckia 'Pale Ryder' - Dyckia - Long, succulent, silver white leaves with fabulously ferocious teeth. Dyckias are the most cold tolerant of the Bromeliad family. They are drought tolerant but thrive on frequent watering during the active growing season. Keep plants on the dry side during cold weather.
Colocasia 'Mojito' - Taro - 'Mojito' is a taro or elephant's ear cultivar with huge, dramatic, arrow-shaped, speckled, black and green leaves. This colorful effect is matched with light green stems streaked with dark purple that fade to pink. .It can be grown as a marginal plant in ponds or in pots or beds with evenly moist soil. Yellowish-white spathes and spadixes may appear in summer but are usually hidden by the foliage. A houseplant in winter for most. Colocasia 'Gigantea'/Thailand Giant Strain - Taro - 'Gigantea' is a cultivar with HUGE, dramatic, arrow-shaped, green leaves. It can be grown as a marginal plant in ponds or in pots or beds with evenly moist soil. Yellowish-white spathes and spadixes may appear in summer but are usually hidden by the foliage. Though potentially hardy they are best brought in as a houseplant. A houseplant in winter for most but foliage can be chopped down to return in spring.
Colocasia 'Black Coral' - Taro - 'Black Magic' is a taro or elephant's ear cultivar with huge, dramatic, arrow-shaped, purplish-black leaves. It can be grown as a marginal plant in ponds or in pots or beds with evenly moist soil. Yellowish-white spathes and spadixes may appear in summer but are usually hidden by the foliage. Though potentially hardy they are best brought in as a houseplant.

Canna 'Intrigue' - Canna Lily - 'Intrigue' has peach coloured flowers with a hint of orange. The foliage is striking burgundy held on strong vertical stems. Virus indexed so these plants are clean and will produce beautiful foliage without the mottling and striations found in most other canna available in nurseries.

We have lots of other cultivars in stock.

Canna 'Pretoria'/'Bengal Tiger' - Canna Lily - Fantastic tropical foliage striped with green and gold and topped with firey orange flowers in summer. Great for adding that subtropical look to your garden. Hardy to zone 7 if planted in well-drained soil and given a little mulch. Our plants are virus indexed and clean.

We have lots of other cultivars in stock.

Musa sikkimensis 'Bengal Tiger' - Hardy Banana - This beautiful selection of hardy banana has much more burgundy than the species with burgundy stripes on top of the leaves and a burgundy flush underneath. Some claim this species is hardier than M. basjoo but I’ve found the opposite. Even well-wrapped the stems of my plant have died to the ground every winter since about 2001. Still, with good mulching it has been ground hardy like a herbaceous perennial and returns to a height of eight feet every season with its gorgeous leaves. Well worth it.

Schefflera taiwaniana 'Yuan Shan' - Hardy Umbrella Tree - This superlative shrub or small tree from Taiwan has gorgeous palmate foliage. This collection was made by Dan Hinkley from the highest altitude population. Like most members of the aralia family it blooms in fall. Numerous species from Asia are potentially hardy and some, like Schefflera taiwaniana have been bone hardy in the Pacific Northwest and BC through the armageddon winters of 2008/09 and 2010/2011.

We also have Schefflera hoi in stock!

Schefflera delavayi - Hardy Umbrella Tree - This intriguing shrub or small tree from high elevation areas of China and Vietnam has broad umbrellas of green leaves that emerge covered in silver or copper indumentum. Like most members of the aralia family it blooms in fall. Numerous species from Asia are potentially hardy and some, like Schefflera delavayi have been bone hardy in the Pacific Northwest and BC through the armageddon winters of 2008/09 and 2010/2011.
Fuchsia 'Delta's Sarah' - Hardy Fuchsia - The semi-double blooms have recurved, white sepals and a unique purple-blue corolla. Large, medium green leaves complete the picture of this tough, showy, hardy Fuchsia. Eucomis 'Reuben' - Pineapple Lily - This stately pineapple lily has glowing green foliage and tall spikes of reddish purple buds opening to lavender-pink flowers that together look like pineapples. Very easy to grow and perfeclty hardy even to zone 6 with a good mulch. Full sun for best foliage colour and stature. Grow in containers or the ground.

All these plants are available now. Come see them!

 


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Phoenix Perennials and Specialty Plants Ltd.
One of the largest and most exciting selections of perennials in Canada.

3380 No. 6 Road (Between Bridgeport and Cambie)
Richmond, BC | 604-270-4133 | www.phoenixperennials.com

Opening Dates and Hours
February 27th to November 1st, 2015
10am-5pm


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