Plant Select announced the newest picks for their high plains and intermountain region palette. Plant Select helps seasoned gardeners and neophytes alike make informed decisions and better investments in rigorously tested perennials, shrubs, trees, vines and more. Chosen by experts from Denver Botanic Gardens, Colorado State University and regional growers, Plant Select’s palette can be at home in Idaho, Utah, southern Montana, northern New Mexico and northern Texas.
The new Plant Select picks include “two new and improved ice plants, a super cold-hardy compact viburnum, two new selections of native plants, three super cute Petites and a new turf grass,” according to Pat Hayward, Plant Select’s director. “Our plants are trialed and tested at Denver Botanic Gardens and CSU,” Hayward said. “Basically we like to say, ‘We’ve done the homework for you.’”
The new Plant Select picks are as follows:
Two new ice plants are hot.
Alan’s Apricot ice plant (Delosperma ‘Alan’s Apricot’PPAF) Touted as Plant Select’s hardiest and longest-blooming ice plant, this plant needs only moderate water and will go xeric once established in full sun to part shade. Ice plants make ideal groundcovers and also work well in containers, rock gardens and walls. Large, showy blooms cover the foliage nearly all summer long and attract pollinators, according to Hayward. “The flower color changes seasonally from a true orangey-apricot to soft orangey-pink and then back again,” Hayward said. This plant will tolerate poor soil – even clay or sand.
Red Mountain® Flame ice plant (Delosperma ‘PWWG02S’). One of many Plant Select picks originating from South African, this ice plant is cold-hardy and evergreen. Hayward praised the plant’s superior flower size: “large, blazing orange-red flowers with white center in late spring and early summer.”
Sage repels deer but attracts pollinators.
Autumn Sapphire™ sage (Salvia reptans ‘P016S’), commonly known as West Texas grass sage, a Southwestern U.S. native plant. “The species S. reptans blooms very late in the season on plants up to four feet tall,” Hayward said. “After years of trials and selections, this superior form was chosen for its compact and consistent growth habit. Glossy green, willowy leaves all season long are topped with clouds of small, sapphire-blue flowers through autumn.” An excellent addition to water-wise gardens, this plant wants full sun and is drought-tolerant, even xeric in well drained soil. Late blooms provide pollinators with nectar after many flowers have faded.
‘Standing Ovation’ grass brings down the house.
Schizachyrium scoparium ‘Standing Ovation’PP25,202: “This patented selection of native plant deserves a big round of applause,” Hayward said. “A warm-season grass that does well in poor, dry soils, this selection keeps a tight habit throughout the entire growing season. Spikey bluish-green leaves transition to a brilliant display of shades of red changing to deep purple in the autumn. Seed heads remain upright through winter and provide winter interest and food for birds.” Hayward recommends the grasses in mass plantings or meadow gardens.
Mini shrub delivers big impact year round.
Mini Man™ dwarf Manchurian viburnum (Viburnum burejaeticum ‘P017S’) is a compact viburnum introduced by Fort Collins Wholesale Nursery. This easy-to-grow shrub native to Russia and northern China holds appeal for all seasons. “Medium green felted leaves in summer, clusters of white flowers in spring, persistent red to blue-black fruit and red fall color but with a very compact growth habit,” Hayward said, describing the shrub. This viburnum grows four to six feet tall and wide and will thrive in full sun to part shade. Hayward also emphasized the viburnum’s deer resistant, drought tolerant, useful in mixed borders and foundation plantings.
Keep on the grass.
For high traffic turf, this xeric alternative lawn grass derives its name — Dog Tuff™ grass – from what Hayward calls “exceptional durability in yards with dogs.” Yes, with Cynodon ‘PWIN04S’ it’s possible to have a pooch and a lawn. Rover and Fido tend to be tough on turf not only due to paw traffic, but also dog urine. “A sterile hybrid African form that spreads via runners, this grass similar to American buffalo grass but more resilient to wear and tear,” said Hayward. “Once established, it is highly weed- resistant, deep rooted and provides a soft, cushioned feel for bare feet. A warm-season grass, Dog Tuff™ turns green in late spring and goes dormant in mid-autumn.” Dog Tuff grass also helps prevent erosion.
For more details about these newest picks log on to Plant Select’s helpful, cross-referenced, searchable website.
Plant Select officially launched in 1997, as the brain child of Dr. Jim Klett, a horticulture professor at CSU. “He felt we needed a more diverse tree palette for the region. He conducts the tree and shrub trials at four locations around the state of Colorado and many of the woody plants in Plant Select have come from those trials,” said Hayward.
Another Plant Select founder, Al Gerace — who heads Welby Gardens, Hardy Boy and Country Fair Garden Centers — wanted an official avenue for new and unusual perennials and ground covers flourishing at Denver Botanic Gardens. Gerace cultivated relationships between local and regional growers and garden centers bringing the plants to market so that home and professional gardeners would have access to a wider selection of adaptable plants.
“They are selected to be adaptable to areas with tough soils low in organic matter and high in pH, low humidity, scant rainfall in summer, high winds and higher altitudes,” said Hayward. “The plants are found at local independent garden centers that make a point of carrying only plants known to do well locally.”
Plant Select’s official statement” “By refining the art and science of discovering and selecting plants to thrive in the dramatically changing environments of the Rocky Mountain region, Plant Select plants offer gardeners the right plants for the right places that are adaptable, durable, water-wise and provide more beauty with less work so gardeners of all levels can have smart, stunning and successful gardens and landscapes using fewer resources and with a positive environmental impact.”