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Easy-Care Shrubs That Will Make You Exclaim Viva Magenta!

Easy-Care Shrubs That Will Make You Exclaim 'Viva Magenta!'

By Natalie Carmolli, Proven Winners® ColorChoice® shrubs
Photographs courtesy of Proven Winners® ColorChoice® shrubs

If you eagerly await the announcement of the Pantone® Color of the Year, you already know it’s Viva Magenta 18-1750. Pantone describes it as a “brave and fearless, pulsating color whose exuberance promotes a joyous and optimistic celebration, writing a new narrative.”

They also state that Viva Magenta “vibrates with vim and vigor” and is “a shade rooted in nature descending from the red family and expressive of a new signal of strength.”

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I’d agree! Nature gives us plenty of majestic magenta examples. From the diminutive Magenta-Throated Woodstars (hummingbirds) to magenta stones and crystals, to the deep magenta tone of a sliced beet, you’ll be seeing red in plenty of places once you start to look.

Perhaps the easiest place to find the racy red of Viva Magenta is in the flower garden. Annuals like Supertunia® Royal Magenta® and SunPatiens® Compact Royal Magenta will add that flashy deep red to your baskets and planters, but flowering shrubs will give you the bright magenta flowers you seek this season and will rebloom year after year.

If you’re interested in adding a touch, or even a whole drift of magenta to your permanent garden collection, here is a list of woody ornamentals that best show off their Viva Magenta blooms.

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‘Aphrodite’ sweetshrub boasts large, deeply pigmented blooms that appear on its 5-10’ habit in midsummer and rebloom for weeks on end. It’s a beautiful shrub with thick, glossy foliage that can be used in a mixed border or as a striking specimen. Blooms can be used in cut flower arrangements or enjoyed in the garden without worry, as deer are uninterested in this shrub. Hardy in USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 5-9, sweetshrub should be sited in full sun.

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The emerging buds of Invincibelle® Ruby smooth hydrangea are dark magenta and open to a two-toned combination of ruby red and silvery pink petals. This is a native cultivar that blooms exclusively on new wood, so it’s as dependable as it is beautiful. Try Invincibelle® Ruby hydrangea in borders or containers. This beauty is hardy down to zone 3, and it will mature to 3-4’ tall and 2-3’ wide.

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Another easy-care shrub with magenta blooms is Double Play® Red spirea. Spring foliage emerges dark burgundy red, then matures to dark green. Then, early-summer deep red flowers appear. This variety has a darker, deeper color palette than other spirea, making it a useful addition to the garden designer’s low-maintenance plant palette. Double Play® Red spirea is super hardy, down to zone 3, and will grow to 2-3’ tall and wide.

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Those living in a warmer climate can grow the fabulous Jazz Hands Bold® Chinese fringe flower. Its flowers and foliage are larger than other varieties, making it a very showy addition to landscapes and an excellent alternative to red barberry shrubs. Deer and drought resistant, it will mature to 5-6’ tall and wide and is hardy in zones 7b-9.

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Speaking of hummingbirds, they love the hot pink-magenta flowers of Spilled Wine® weigela! Blooms are set against stunning black foliage on a compact habit that is wider (3-4') than tall (2-3'). This magnificent magenta shrub is most comfortable in cooler climates (zones 4-8) and is adaptable to alkaline and clay soil – plus, it’s deer resistant!

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Finally, a list of magenta-flowered woody ornamentals would not be complete without the explosion of color that Show Time™ crabapple brings to landscapes each spring. Large, densely clustered fuchsia-red flowers turn the branches into columns of lush, magenta color. Deep green foliage has red tones of its own, especially as it emerges. Red fall fruits extend the ornamental season. Its oval, upright habit lends a touch of formality as a specimen or street tree. Hardy in zones 4-8, Show Time™ crabapple will reach 25' tall with a 15-20' canopy.

This lineup of shrubs definitely does “vibrate with vim and vigor!” Hopefully, they put you in a celebratory mood, and throughout the upcoming season your neighbors will hear you optimistically exclaim “Viva Magenta!” every time you step into your garden.  

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