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2013 U of MN Top Ten Performing Annuals

I love annuals! Interspersed with perennial plants, they fill my garden with bright colors and interesting textures all season long. Each year, hundreds of cultivars are trialed at the University of Minnesota West Central Research and Outreach Center, Horticulture Display Garden in Morris, MN. The Garden is open to the public for self-guided tours throughout the growing season and provides a unique opportunity to compare the performance of bedding plant cultivars under our region's growing conditions. Each of the cultivars is evaluated on plant height, width and uniformity, flower size, flower and plant quality characteristics, and disease resistance. The top ten for 2013 were consistently the best performing annuals in the trials. If you are interested in including some new varieties in your garden this year, consider these:

  • Begonia boliviensis Santa Cruz Sunset: is super heat tolerant! It thrives in well-drained soil and can handle moderate drought. Fiery red-orange blooms cover the plant from late spring until frost.
  • Big Falls Dark Blue Bacopa: This beautiful trailing plant has large blue blooms and superb branching.
  • Coleus Mastermind: Distinctive burgundy-red foliage with chartreuse tipped margins. Sun & shade tolerant.
  • Geranium Inter-specific Boldly Dark Red: Interspecifics combine the heat tolerance of zonal geraniums with the superior performance of ivy-leafed geraniums.
  • Petunia Burgundy Starlight: "fuses" two petunia varieties (Easy WaveTM Burgundy Star and Dreams Burgundy) They spread and mound into a dense floriferous cover over a long blooming season in a sunny bed or border.
  • Portulaca Purslane Soleil Yellow: These vibrant, large blooms thrive in hot and arid conditions. Use these plants with full trailing habits in landscapes, baskets or mixed containers.
  • Scaevola Paper Doll Top Model: is compact and floriferous all summer long. Performs great in the heat. Mounded trailing habit spills over containers and hanging baskets.
  • Thunbergia Lemon A-Peel (Black-Eyed Susan Vine): is a fast growing vine that grows easily in full sun and makes a great alternative to Morning Glories.
  • Verbena Temari Cherry Red: This vigorous, sun loving trailer is ideal for hanging baskets, patio containers and mixed landscapes.
  • Vinca Cora Cascade Strawberry: Cascading summer annual with single pink blooms with rose center over glossy green foliage from late spring to frost.

View photos of the top ten annual plants.


Robin Trott
Extension Educator, Horticulture
(320) 762-3890
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