Jason VanderMey here, bringing you all of the drama and excitement from the Top Ten Annuals - Plant Awards!! I've been searching high and low, throughout our garden centre, as well as other growers around BC, to find the best annuals for you this year. It was a tough task, but I've put together the ultimate ten plants that have won my heart and a place in my garden. Join me on the red carpet as we reveal the winners!
1. Sallyfun Blue Emotion
I have to award Best Performer to Sallyfun, as her bright blue blooms (and I do mean bright blue) and bold colour have created quite the buzz in the garden this year. Of course, she also attracts all the bees, hummingbirds and other pollinators as well, really pulling in the crowds.
Sallyfun is the perfect Salvia to be at the centre of all the action, so plant her in the middle of your container gardens to add height and colour. She loves the attention, she's quite the starlet! This Salvia can also stand out in the garden, especially as a background border plant. Try adding in contrasting colours around her to really make her shine, like yellows, oranges or whites.
2. Empress Flare White Verbena
Always perfect for a big splash, the Empress's giant flower umbels are pure white. She continues to flower prolifically throughout the summer, so make sure to add her into container gardens and hanging baskets! A bit of a diva, the Empress doesn't like having wet feet, so keep her out of the garden beds unless they are very well draining. A showstopper, this Verbena will always catch your attention, and loves to be complimented.
3. Petunia Night Sky
A celebrity that loves the night scene, the Petunia Night Sky is dazzling with a galaxy of white stars glittering across its dark purple colouring. I've been watching this star for years and it's still one of my favourites! Winner in every drama category, this amazing annual never gets old. Unlike many stars, this petunia gets along with other plants (as long as they don't show her up!) like fountain grass, bacopa or verbena.
4. Fiber Optic Grass
In my opinion this amazing annual should be in every container garden ever made, I can't get enough of him. Don't underestimate his performance, as almost everyone that sees him will want to reach out and touch his cool looking tendrils. I add him to container gardens and hanging baskets, knowing he will spice things up and thrill viewers.
For the best performance, Fiber Optic Grass loves water, so make sure to keep him moist and not let him dry out. He's a tender perennial so he can survive temperatures of -3 to -4 for short periods of time. A hardy winner!
5. Marine heliotrope
(Heliotropium arborescens 'Marine')
One of the most charismatic winners of this year's annuals, the Marine heliotrope attracts all the butterflies and other pollinators to your garden! (The most beautiful groupies ever.) A charmer, she smells like vanilla and is super fragrant every time you walk past. Her bright violet prolific blooms make you fall in love with her again and again. To keep her looking her best, a bit of primping is needed, as you should deadhead the spent blooms to make way for new ones.
6. Fuchsia 'Autumnale'
Constantly in the spotlight, and for good reason, this bright annual is especially vigourous! Rather than being known for showy flowers, he's instead gotten himself a name for his vibrant foliage! He loves to be in the shade, so don't try to plant him in full sun. Especially beautiful in container gardens and hanging baskets, where his long branches can spread out and cause a sensation.
7. Coleus Vino
As a coleus connoisseur, I've seen them all! At West Coast Gardens we grow over 30 varieties, which makes it hard to decide who deserves to be singled out among all the fantastic stars. It took some serious study and hard choices but Coleus Vino stood out from all the others as my favourite. The dark burgundy colour, along with a surprising serrated lime green edge, creates a melodramatic performance not to be missed! Match him with pink and purples for a beautiful colour design.
8. Sedum Lemon Ball
A crowd favourite, Lemon Ball's bright lime colour and attractive texture make him a perfect choice for any supporting role in the garden or container garden. He loves to spread out, or turn into a trailing plant, and it always fun to work with. Lemon Ball will become quite yellow in the full sun, but turn back to it's natural lime green when given some shade. Keep him moist, and avoid letting him dry out.
9. Begonia First Kiss
Always the perfect choice for a romantic tale or summer love story, this hybrid begonia blooms and blooms all summer long. The bright pink flowers and dark leaves create natural drama, and look fantastic in any container garden or hanging basket. You can also use her in raised garden beds, especially as a show stopping border plant. With her punchy pink colour, this sturdy hybrid will capture your heart!
10. New Guinea Impatiens Divine White
The final award goes to this beautiful white impatiens, with her neat and tidy appearance highlighted by elegant flowers. An all around stunning annual, who is also versatile and can be paired with almost any other plant. She loves the shade, rather than sun, and will flower all summer long. In cooler weather the blooms may turn blush pink, but she'll become white again when the warm temperature returns.
Every year there are a ton of new gorgeous annuals that arrive on the market for us to try out in our gardens, and it gets harder and harder to choose our favourites! Don't be afraid to jump in and try something new, you never know what you'll find. Thanks for joining me for the Top Ten Annuals - Plant Awards, see you next year!