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Versatile for Shade

Delilah Onofrey
Photographs Suntory

Stumped on what you can plant in the shade? With Downy Mildew plaguing America’s go-to shade annual, Impatiens walleriana, gardeners are searching for alternatives that will bring lasting color to shady spots. One widely recommended group of annuals to consider is Summer Wave torenia from Suntory Flowers.

Summer Wave was the very first vigorous, vegetatively propagated torenia series. Older torenias that were bred as bedding plants from seed are no comparison. Torenias are also commonly known as wishbone flower because in the throat of the flower their anthers create what looks like a wishbone from a bird.

While the original Summer Waves in shades of amethyst, blue, and silver have a lush trailing habit, the newer Summer Wave Bouquet series has a more controlled growth habit and wider color range spanning shades of blue, cream, yellow, white, and rose. Original Summer Wave grows to a height of 6-10 inches with a spread of more than 30 inches. The Summer Wave Bouquets reach a height of 6-8 inches with a spread of up to 20 inches.

Summer Wave torenias flower all season, thrive in summer heat, and can tolerate dry soil. They are easy to grow and maintain, self-cleaning and well branching. They require very little maintenance. Plant in partial sun/semi shade conditions, not full shade, for best results. Plant as a bedding border, in hanging baskets, patio pots, and window boxes. Try mixing with other annuals in mixed baskets and containers.

Summer Wave torenias continue to demonstrate their summer landscape performance. Last summer, ‘Summer Wave Large Amethyst’ was named Best Torenia at Colorado State University. Large Violet was named a Top Winner at Michigan State University and Bouquet Cream Yellow was recognized as a Prairie Star Winner at Kansas State University. Although used as an annual in most environments, plants will bloom year round in mild climates.

Posted May 10, 2013

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GardenSMART Featured Article

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

The Pantone color of the year is Viva Magenta. Pantone describes it as a “brave and fearless, pulsating color whose exuberance promotes a joyous and optimistic celebration…” For a list of woody ornamentals that show off this outstanding color, click here .

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