The first summer flowers were installed about 6 weeks ago, so our crews are starting to pinch back some of the more vigorous growers to keep them in check. For Teaching Tuesday, we reviewed these three superstar performers for hot summers. All three perform well in both flower beds and containers.
Angelonia (Angelonia angustifolia)
A tall, vigorous annual, angelonia looks great in the back row of a flower border, or the center of a container. It is heat and drought tolerant, and does not need pruning except trimming back from walkways or other fixtures as needed. The blooms range in color from blue and purple to pink and even white, and they keep blooming all season.
Wax Begonia (Begonia semperflorens)
Compact annual plant with fleshy leaves and stems. Leaves come in green or bronze color, and the flower colors range from white to pink to deep red. Wax begonias are mildly drought tolerant and are deer resistant.
Lantana (Lantana camara)
Lantana is technically a tropical shrub, and will grow back in warmer climates, such as the NC coastal plain, SC and GA. The cultivar 'Miss Huff' is cold hardy even in the piedmont of NC! It is very salt tolerant, deer resistant, and will attract butterflies and other pollinators. Colors range from white/yellow to orange, pink and red. Small berries may form after flowering, which can be pruned off to encourage more blooms. The berries are toxic and may cause vomiting, diarrhea, dilated pupils, and/or labored respiration if ingested. The leaves are rough, and there are tiny spines on the stems, so you may want to wear gloves and long sleeves when planting or pruning these plants. Exposure to bare skin may cause minor contact dermatitis, which usually lasts less than an hour.