By Delilah Onofrey, Suntory Flowers
Photographs courtesy of Suntory Flowers
For decades vinca has been a top summer bedding plant that thrives in heat and humidity. This is Catharanthus roseus, not to be confused with the groundcover periwinkle, vinca minor. Before Sunpatiens, it was the full-sun substitute for impatiens, offering much of the same color range.
Much of the early breeding focused on cool temperature tolerance for spring markets and closing the gaps in flower petals to create more of a circle than a pinwheel. Seed varieties were also selected for growth habits – compact upright or spreading/trailing. Today’s most modern hybrids are selected for disease resistance, specifically phytophthora.
Suntory Flowers has three catharanthus lines under its Soiree brand that offer new colors, flower forms and outstanding garden performance.
Soiree Kawaii: Tiny, but Terrific!
Spanning seven colors, Soiree Kawaii varieties are loaded with mini vinca flowers. The word “kawaii” means cute in Japanese. Plants create tidy mounds of color that last through the summer until frost. They make fantastic borders in the landscape. Year after year, Soiree Kawaii varieties earn top landscape performance awards in the deep South and far North, from the University of Georgia and Louisiana State to Penn State and Colorado State universities. Soiree Kawaii Coral has been a landscape superstar and White Peppermint is a top seller. Both are top choices for phytophthora resistance, along with Coral Reef.
Soiree Kawaii are also fantastic in hanging baskets and container plantings, mixed together or with other heat loving annuals for summer combos. The Soiree Kawaii Lady Liberty Suntory Mixer blends three red, white and blue varieties – Red Shades, White Peppermint and Blueberry Kiss. We also like to surround the base of a mandevilla with Soiree Kawaii. Red and white are popular, but we also like Soiree Kawaii Blueberry Kiss or Lavender with Sun Parasol Original Sunbeam.
Double Your Pleasure With Soiree Doubles
Soiree Double varieties have unique double flowers that don’t really look like a vinca at all. Plants are more vigorous and upright with larger blooms and leaves. Pretty in decorative pots, baskets or landscape beds, Soiree Doubles come in a vibrant Pink, a bluish Orchid, and White which has hints of peachy apple blossom coloring.
Soiree Flamenco Joins the Dance
Soiree Flamenco varieties look as if you took your normal bedding plant vinca to a garden party! Flirty flowers have ruffled petals in fashionable bicolors. Senorita Pink is light pink with a sassy dark center. Cheeky Pink flowers are white with a pink edge. Pink Twist has a corkscrew, semi double form in bubblegum pink. And Salmon Glow has peachy salmon blooms with white centers.
Look for Soiree catharanthus varieties at your favorite garden retailer and keep the party going all summer! For more information, visit www.suntoryflowers.com.
All articles are copyrighted and remain the property of the author.
By Dan Heims, president of Terra Nova Nurseries
Photographs courtesy of Terra Nova Nurseries
Terra Nova Nurseries has been busy. Their Begonia Holiday series stands up to the rigors of plant survival and color compatibility for indoor use during the winter months.
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