By Dan Heims, President, Terra Nova Nurseries
Photographs courtesy of Terra Nova Nurseries
In the midst of a pandemic, gardeners are on the hunt for low-care plants that give full-season color. Following the breeding and continued production of the wildly popular Agastache KUDOS series,Terra Nova Nurseries began producing another agastache series that, despite being diminutive, is a flower factory. The breeders at Terra Nova were able to create enough of a color range for these smaller but mass-flowering plants to launch the Agastache POQUITO series, which continues to generate record sales.
Terra Nova’s Agastache are some of the best “filler” plants in containers and beds because of their deer-and drought-resistance. They are rarely affected by insects or downy mildew that can sometimes be the demise of similar offerings from competitors. Terra Nova’s Agastache POQUITO series has certainly built a fan club of pollinators and hummingbirds, but gardeners admire them equally for the plants’ statement-making abilities in a green landscape. Members of the horticulture industry have noted the showiness of varieties in the Agastache POQUITO series as well. This is especially true for Agastache POQUITO Butter Yellow, with its strong yellow flowers spikes at 13” tall. At the University of Georgia’s trial gardens, a member of its staff said, “While many hyssops tend to blend into their surroundings due to wispy stems and leaves, this plant did not. Despite it being the shortest of the seven cultivars we trialed this year, 'Butter Yellow' stood out from the rest of the cultivars due to its bold visual appeal.”
The final plant described in our “Mighty Minis” list is Heuchera LITTLE CUTIES ‘Shimmer’. This plant, similar to Agastache POQUITO varieties, packs a punch for its size, and wows gardeners with its blooming abilities and striking silver-green foliage.
Agastache POQUITO Butter Yellow
This plant creates showy, dense heads of butter yellow flowers from spring to fall. With its low, compact, bushy habit, Agastache POQUITO Butter Yellow can be used as a great border perennial, container color spotand in mixed beds. It is an excellent pollinator plant and drought tolerant once established. This beautiful plant received the “Classic City Award” from the Trial Gardens at University of Georgia, amid hot and humid conditions, on September 20, 2019. This prestigious award was given to the top 13 varieties in the trial gardens, and the staff made their determinations based on year-round performance and eye-catching beauty. Agastache POQUITO Butter Yellow’s U.S.D.A. Hardiness Zones are 5-10, and it performs best in full sun containers and garden beds.
This amethyst gem amazes gardeners with its size and flower power! It has beautiful blue flowers in large spikes all summer, and the plant creates a compact, low, bushy habit. Drought tolerant once established, Agastache POQUITO Dark Blue blooms from June to frost. Not to mention, blue is a very attractive color to pollinators, and it is truly loved by hummingbirds. Moreover, the dark blue color featured on Agastache POQUITO Dark Blue is rare in horticulture, and it contrasts quite nicely in mass plantings with both Agastache POQUITO Butter Yellow and Agastache POQUITO Orange. This plant, and the entire POQUITO series, has compatible hardiness within U.S.D.A. Zones 5-10. Deer dislike the minty-scented foliage of Agastache POQUITO Dark Blue, and they will often eat around them.
Agastache POQUITO Lavender famously compliments orange echinacea and its sibling Agastache POQUITO Orange. This variety’s showy, large spikes of bright, lavender-pink flowers glow above bright green foliage from summer to fall. Agastache POQUITO Lavender has a dwarf, bushy habit that performs equally well in the sunny border, container or mixed bed. Adored by pollinators and hummingbirds, this plant performs best in U.S.D.A. Hardiness Zones 5-10, and it is drought tolerant once established. This variety will mature in its first year to 15” wide by 14” tall, and it can be sheared in spring when new growth is visible. However, these plants should not be sheared too aggressively in fall, though they can be lightly trimmed.
Orange agastache used to be a fickle lot- more like annuals. The bloom season was not too long, and the plants were gaunt and spindly. Enter the lovely and fresh-looking Agastache POQUITO Orange. This plant has a dense, bushy habit (15” by 15”) and long-blooming, clear-orange flowers that emerge in big flushes from May to frost. Beautiful and long-lived, Agastache POQUITO Orange was much adored in Terra Nova field trials, as they were completely visible even from a distance. Hummingbirds became absolutely infatuated by Agastache POQUITO Orange, and Terra Nova’s breeding team equally enjoyed the plant. U.S.D.A. Hardiness Zones for Agastache POQUITO Orange are 5-10, and the plant likes full, warm sun. It is great in containers, with gold echinacea, or en masse in the garden.
The Terra Nova LITTLE CUTIES Heuchera club is an exclusive one! In order for a heuchera to be granted entry into the club, it must satisfy several criteria.
First, the heuchera must be compact with many leaves, so it never appears gangly in the garden. Second, its leaves need to shine, and the striking silver and green leaves of Heuchera LITTLE CUTIES ‘Shimmer’ do just that! Finally, it must have multiple crowns that fill the pots and produce scads of luscious flowers. Heuchera LITTLE CUTIES ‘Shimmer’ satisfies all the criteria, and creates pink, 15” high flowers that bloom over and over again in the pot. Heuchera LITTLE CUTIES ‘Shimmer’ is wonderful in borders, mixed beds or as a house plant. This U.S.D.A. Zone 4 perennial blooms from April to November, and it will take shade or partial shade.
Dan Heims is a published author of two books and lectures around the world. In 2003 he won the Reginald Cory Memorial Cup from the Royal Horticultural Society. He was awarded the Award of Merit by the Perennial Plant Association in 2019, and the Luther Burbank Award by the American Horticultural Society in 2020.
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