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Warm Season Wrap Up: Our 8 Favorite Annuals of 2021

Warm Season Wrap Up: Our 8 Favorite Annuals of 2021

Wed, October 6, 2021 by Lucy Contreras, Assistant Manager of Plant Collections | in Botanical Gardens

As the cooler weather begins to slowly (oh, so very slowly) creep in, we are starting to switch over the gardens from our warm-season plantings to our cool-season plantings. Since we are so fortunate to have two great planting seasons in coastal South Carolina, we can enjoy annual color all year round! As we wind down the summer and turn our sights to a crisp, beautiful fall, let’s take a look back at some of our favorite warm-season annuals and tender perennials (perennials that won’t survive the winter) from this year!

1) Madagascar Periwinkle (Catharanthus roseus 'PAS551759' (Mediterranean XP Peach))
If you’re looking for a groundcover or that perfect spiller in your containers, look no further than Mediterranean XP Peach Madagascar periwinkle! We planted ours throughout the gardens, including in the Upper Left Wing and at the Atrium in the Wall Building, our administration building. We loved the vibrant colors, nonstop flowering, and how beautifully it spread!

Catharanthus roseus 'PAS551759' (Mediterranean XP Peach) flowering habit

2) Cuphea (Cuphea ramosissima 'PAS1303307' (Pink Shimmer))
Sometimes in the garden, you need a plant that is a solid filler. You need something that’s attractive, but not so attractive that it takes away from your true highlights in the garden. Pink Shimmer cuphea was a great plant to fit the bill. With delicate, pink-purple flowers, it created a purple mist that wonderfully filled its space, without detracting from the rest of the landscape. Some of our plantings were in the Poetry Garden and Children’s Garden.

Cuphea ramosissima 'PAS1303307' (Pink Shimmer) flowering habit

3) Common Globe Amaranth (Gomphrena globosa (Audray™ Series Mixture))
Who doesn’t love a plant that’s low maintenance and looks amazing? We found the Audray Mix of globe amaranth to be a home run with non-stop flowers all season long! The fun, round flowers in bold colors were a great addition throughout the grounds, including in the wall beds in the Upper Left Wing and outside of Harvest Restaurant.

Gomphrena globosa (Audray™ Series Mixture) flowers

4) Sweet Potato Vine (Ipomoea batatas 'Balsolabart' (SolarPower™ Black Heart))
Another easy and lush groundcover that we adored was the SolarPower™ Black Heart sweet potato vine. With rich, dark purple leaves that sprawled across the ground or over the sides of pots, it was hard not to take notice. This isn’t our first time using this plant and it likely won’t be our last! You may have spotted some growing as you drove into Brookgreen Gardens at The Fighting Stallions or in the Lower Left Wing.

Ipomoea batatas 'Balsolabart' (SolarPower™ Black Heart) foliage

5) Golden Shrimp Plant (Pachystachys lutea)
I love saying this plant’s botanical name (Pachystachys) almost as much as I love looking at it (looking at it just narrowly wins out!). This non-stop bloomer with its funky flower was on display at Orpheus outside of Harvest Restaurant. You may have noticed the golden shrimp plant if you were seated by the back windows. This lush display of shrimp-looking flowers required next to no maintenance, had no problems, and could not get enough of that full, blazing sun it was in. We love an easy plant that looks great and this one certainly checked off all the boxes!

Pachystachys lutea flowers

6) Coleus (Plectranthus scutellarioides 'UF0843' (Wasabi))
Coleus will always be a staple for us. You can’t go wrong with a plant that has such a wide range of colors, is easy to grow, and, depending on the cultivar (cultivated variety), can grow in sun or shade. That’s a plant with versatility! One of our favorites is Wasabi coleus. This lime-green coleus practically glows, it’s so bright! We love how it fills up a space, and that it doesn’t seem to be picky as to whether or not it’s in full sun or full shade. You too may have been swooning over this plant when you saw it at the Welcome Center Plaza or perhaps in the Children’s Garden.

7) Sage (Salvia ‘Roman Red’)
Sages are known for their long flowering period and ‘Roman Red’ was no exception. We loved the bright red flowers that burst out of a tidy mound of green leaves. You may have noticed ours growing at the Admission Plaza as you came in, or in the Upper Left Wing.

Salvia 'Roman Red' flowering habit

8) Zinnia (Zinnia 'Profusion Red Yellow Bicolor')
Another plant we can’t get enough of in our warm season displays is zinnia. They’re gorgeous, flower continually, and don’t have many problems. While I could sing the praises of most zinnia any day, the ‘Profusion Red Yellow Bicolor’ had me picking up my jaw from the ground. This zinnia displayed multiple flower colors at once, on the same plant. I was floored! ‘Profusion Red Yellow Bicolor’ has easily become my new favorite. Not only was this like no zinnia I had seen before, but it was also very low maintenance (no deadheading!) and filled out perfectly without ever looking tired or tattered. Now that’s a plant worth going on about! You may have seen these in the Poetry Garden or in the Old Kitchen.

Zinnia 'Profusion Red Yellow Bicolor' flowers

With so many amazing annuals out there, it can be hard to narrow down the very best. We were glad to have so many great plants to share with you, our Brookgreen Gardens guests. While we like to mix things up and incorporate new plants into the gardens, don’t be surprised if you glimpse some of these favorites in future years too.

See you in the Gardens!

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1931 Brookgreen Drive

Murrells Inlet, SC 29576

Off US Highway 17 Bypass, between Murrells Inlet and Pawleys Island

on South Carolina's Hammock Coast