Seed industry stays up to date with current styles, trends

By Bev Johnson

Master Gardener

Growers have bred, tested and trialed new introductions for 2024. They are the horticulture  industry’s best efforts to follow fashions and trends and present plants that are more disease and pest free and up to the challenge of the changing climate. 

New plant is a bit of a misnomer. They may be new to the U.S. and common in the original country. New to the grower, an improved variety that blooms earlier, has larger blooms, a better shape or an even just a different color or color combination. 

Scabiosa is an heirloom annual but this year, it comes in a different color. Dark Knight is a deep purple. It attracts pollinators and butterflies, especially Monarchs, fritillary and skippers. It can be air dried for winter bouquets.  

Another common annual, the nasturtium, normally an orange or yellow flower is going to be available in purple. Purple Emperor, a trailing variety has deeply veined petals in shades of purple that fade to lavender and dusty rose. This would be a spectacular hanging basket against a white house. 

If you have a dry corner, look for an Angelonia. They will thrive in extreme heat, drought and humidity and there is a new color for her too. Ruby Sangria has glossy dark green foliage and bright red flowers. The spikey shape makes for a great accent plant. 

For warm colors in the shade, look for Heart to Heart caladium. She has large bronze/pink leaves with soft pink speckles and black veining and good sun and heat tolerance. She stands 20 inches tall and just begs for attention. 

Another common shade plant is the coleus. Ball Seed is introducing a new variety in their Volcania series. The leaves are deep red with a lighter red flowing from the center veins. The edge is fringed and outlined in a bright yellow. Quite an eye catcher.  Solar Flare is another variety to look for. The colors are most dramatic in the shade. The article doesn’t mention what the colors are. Guess we’ll just have to go looking for that one. 

The list of the Plants Of the Year is out. Here are some to look for in our local nurseries. BigEEZE pink Batik geranium, a pink splotched bloom. Pink Jewel inpatients, Sam Gold marigold, a petunia/calibrachoa hybrid called EnViva Pink, and a white petunia called Sure Shot.  

Burpees is bringing back a Native American heirloom spud called Makah Ozette.  It was grown by the Makah tribe in Washing ton state. They are long and knobby with light yellow, nutty flesh and thin flavorful skin. Dig a few at 10 weeks for new potatoes or leave them for 15 weeks to maturity.

Bunkey is planting that new yellow day lily. If it has ugly leaves, watch for fireworks on their block.