I always forget how fortunate I am to work for a company that uses a variety of flowers in our summer annual beds. It has really given me a unique opportunity to monitor these flowers for several years and to judge them based on their performances in our Alaskan summers. I am highlighting a few of the more unique plants that I have found to be worth their weight in flower gold!
Fancy Geraniums – These geraniums are actually known for their foliage not their blooms. I have used them in shade and sun and they hold up well in our rain. Just pick the leaf shape and color you prefer most and enjoy!
Bishops Children Dahlia – This dahlia not only has beautiful daisy like blooms that vary in color from yellow, pink, red and orange), it also has striking burgundy red foliage. The plants generally reach almost 3’ tall. Staking and sun are a must for this plant.
Nasturtiums – These really are amazing performers up here. The trailing varieties in full sun can overtake any flower bed. If you fertilize the plant the foliage is stunning but if you prefer the flowers avoid fertilizers.
Cosmos – These are probably not as unique as some of the other plants listed but I couldn’t leave them out! They are great annual plants that come in a variety of colors and the foliage has a unique texture. These prefer sun and may not last the entire season if it has been particularly rainy but overall they are still a great pick!
Argyranthemum Marguerite Daisy – These plants have never let me down. They come in a variety of colors and are profuse bloomers. With fertilizer and deadheading these plants still look amazing in October!
Osteospermum – These flowers are truly beautiful and unique! I suggest avoiding the yellow and orange shades as they seem to need a hotter summer than Anchorage provides. The light and dark purple are tough plants that have never disappointed me.
Salvia – Salvia is an annual that we have been using for several years. Last year P & M came out with a new variety that really knocked my socks off. It is the Marble Arch series. While these are unassuming plants in the spring, by July, August and September they are strong bloomers with tons of color!
Bacopa – Bacopa is able to fill a unique niche. It is a tough trailing plant with lots of flowers that lives in the shade! (It also does well in the sun.) This plant requires very little care outside of fertilizer and water. There is no staking or deadheading required to keep this plant looking great though the season.