Looking back at new plants I tried this year and how these plants did in my garden, I can mention at least five: the pocketbook plant (Calceolaria sp.), Diamond Delight (Euphorbia hypericifolia), purple hyacinth bean (Dolichos lablab), African daisy (Gazania rigens), and the popcorn plant (Senna didymobotrya).
All of these were grown in containers either in combination with others or alone.
Earlier I had an article dedicated entirely to the popcorn plant; thus I will only say that it grew very tall and flowered through the entire season.
As it started getting cold, growth slowed down considerably and the newest branches did not develop; hence a complex candelabra branching pattern was not established as I was looking forward to see. Well, after all it is a tropical plant that we grow as a summer annual.
The pocketbook plant (see photo) has orchid-like flowers and, as a cool-weather loving plant, it bloomed profusely during spring. With some deadheading to encourage re-blooming, it produced flowers into late June.
The flowers hang from long peduncles (stem that holds many flowers) above dark green leaves, and the flowers last many days. I used it as filler in my seasonal pots; the orange and yellow flowers really stood out nicely against the white flowers of Diamond Delight, which was another filler in that pot.
Diamond Delight, is a Euphorbia the produces many tiny flowers which provide great visual impact. Even though the plant looks very dainty — it has tiny leaves and flowers — it is really a tough one.
It is a heat-tolerant summer annual and is deer-resistant. It bloomed continuously throughout the entire growing season.
Next year I will like to use this combination again; once the pocketbook plant was done, the Diamond Delight covered its space in the container.
The African daisy I grew alone in smaller shallow pots that were placed at the base of larger pots. These were very easy to grow and required almost no care.
I liked the vibrant orange flowers and these closed at night. Flowers do not last very long, but since there is always one or two in bloom, it always provides an interest.
For next year I would like to get other colors and maybe use it in combination with other plants, maybe even with the Euphorbia mentioned above.
The purple hyacinth bean vine has a striking purple stem and dark green leaves with purple venation; it was this color combination that caught my eye and the reason I bought the plant.
Now, even though the plant had a vigorous growth and looked healthy, it did not bloom.
I was disappointed because the other attractive feature of this plant is the colorful seedpods, which are reddish-purple. Probably I will not grow this vine again.
It seems that the abundant rain we had this growing season favored the nice growth I observed in all my seasonal containers, which I use to add interest and color to some corners around the yard.