Four great annuals that you might not know about

Cuphea 'Vermillionaire' attracts hummingbirds. Photo courtesy Proven Winners
Cuphea ‘Vermillionaire’ attracts hummingbirds. Photo courtesy Proven Winners

by Connie Oswald Stofko

Whether you’re tired of using the same annuals every year or you’re new to gardening and don’t know where you start, here are some interesting suggestions for annuals from Lockwood’s Greenhouses, 4484 Clark St., Hamburg.

These plants all like sun.

Varieties of cuphea

“It’s a nice, reliable, good overall plant,” said Jill Kisker, grower at Lockwood’s, referring to different varieties of cuphea. It’s also known as cigar plant for the shape of its flowers.

“The hummingbirds go absolutely berserk over it,” she added.

Pictured is ‘Vermillionaire’, which gets 18 to 24 inches tall. A smaller cuphea is ‘Dynamite’, which gets about 12 inches tall. Cuphea Micropetala can get about 3 feet tall and has slightly bigger flowers.

They will tolerate a little shade, but for the best flowering, give them plenty of sun.

‘Pink Zazzle’ is like an old-fashioned gomphrena, but has larger flower heads. Photo courtesy Proven Winners

‘Pink Zazzle’

‘Pink Zazzle’ is a new variety of an old-fashioned annual called globe amaranth gomphrena. The old-fashioned plant had flowers that were about three-quarters of an inch. The flowers on ‘Pink Zazzle’ are two or three inches.

“It’s like the old gomphrena on steroids,” said Teresa Buchanan, general manager at Lockwood’s.

The pink flowers are round and look similar to thistle heads. They dry well and can be used in dried arrangements.

‘Pink Zazzle’ is drought tolerant and takes off in the heat.

“It’s something kind of fun,” Kisker said.

Tithonia rotundifolia 'Torch' or Mexican sunflower
Tithonia rotundifolia ‘Torch’ or Mexican sunflower may not be familiar to you, but it was an All-America Selections winner in 1951. Photo courtesy All-America Selections

Tithonia rotundifolia ‘Torch’ or Mexican sunflower

“It’s very orange and bright and fun,” said Kisker, referring to tithonia rotundifolia ‘Torch’, also called Mexican sunflower.

Mexican sunflower can add some drama to your garden. It can get four, five or six feet tall, and gets bushy– two or three feet wide. You can grow it in your garden or in a container, she said.

It flowers a lot, and the flowers are three or four inches in diameter.

While you might not be familiar with it, this plant has been around awhile. Diane Blazek, executive director of All-America Selections at the National Garden Bureau, noted that it’s an All-America Selections winner from 1951.

agastache Acapulco salmon and pink
Agastache ‘Acapulco’ salmon and pink has pink and salmon flowers on the same plant. Photo courtesy Green Fuse Botanicals

Agastache ‘Acapulco’

Agastache ‘Acapulco’ salmon and pink has a pretty smell and attracts pollinators.

It flowers all summer long. The flower color is unusual, getting both pink and salmon flowers on the same plant.

It’s actually a perennial, but it’s tender, so Lockwood’s sells it as an annual.

5 Comments on “Four great annuals that you might not know about

  1. Mary, whenever you want to know what garden centers have a particular plant in stock, it’s best to contact them directly. To find contact information, you can click on the ads here on the website or go to our Gardening Directory. I hope that helps.

  2. Thank you for such an informative email. Really quite helpful to me for some new shrubs in the garden. This spring I saw Mahonia in a few friends’ gardens.A pretty shrub with yellow flowers. Do you know any garden center that might have it?

    Thanks. Mary

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