By Delilah Onofrey, Suntory Flowers
Photographs courtesy of Suntory Flowers
While everything may be merry and bright this month leading into Christmas, January and February can bring on the doldrums in the plant world. Vibrant, cold tolerant Senetti plants are the perfect choice to chase the winter blues away!
Bred by Suntory Flowers in Japan, Senetti is a collection of pericallis hybrids, which were obtained by cross breeding members of the Compositae and Asteraceae families. Before reclassification, Senetti was known as a cineraria hybrid, but Senettis are nothing like seed-grown cineraria grown as a houseplant. Their large, daisy-like flowers bloom from early spring until summer. Bloom count can be as high as 200 on a plant grown in a 10-inch pot.
As soon as the weather starts to break, it's Senetti season. Plants like the same cooler conditions as pansies, osteospermums and nemesia. Senetti will tolerate temperatures down to the mid 30s. In the South, they are a perfect choice for winter, with plants hitting the market in late January. In the North, timing is late March through April, perfect for Easter! Plants thrive in full sun to partial shade conditions.
After blooming has finished, cut back the old blooms by removing 50% of the height of the plant, and then repot into a larger container or into the landscape. Reblooming will start again from 3-4 weeks, provided temperatures during the day and night are kept as cool as possible. High summer temperatures (85-90°F) will stop the reblooming.
Top-selling Senetti colors are the magenta and blue bicolors and then the solid magenta and blue varieties. New for 2020 is Senetti White – pure white flowers with navy blue centers provide a striking contrast, as well as a versatile, cool neutral color for plantings.
But the coolest of the new colors is Senetti Magic Salmon! What makes these flowers magic? They change color as they open and age. Blooms start out a vibrant periwinkle blue, and as they open, the salmon pink centers expand, creating a tie-dyed or Easter egg effect!