Plants of the Week – July 30

Plants of the Week – July 30

Canna Tropicanna® is creating a fabulous display right now lining the patio in the Scott Entrance Garden.  Cannas are known for their beautiful flowers and large glossy leaves, but Canna Tropicanna® in particular is very exotic looking, its leaves sporting incredibly vibrant colors. It is currently in bloom, displaying large orange tropical-looking flowers held on tall stalks above large thick leaves decorated with vibrant red, orange, and green stripes.  This is an immediate eye-catcher and a lovely addition to any garden.  It is relatively easy to care for, though prefers full to part sun in well-drained soil and it is hardy to Zone 7 but any farther north the rhizomes will have to be taken in for the winter. photo credit: J. Ahrweiler


Centaurea cineraria ‘Colchester White’, a dusty miller cultivar, is a superb plant, its silver and white deeply serrated leaves making a wonderful accent.  The leaves create a special display in the late afternoon when their silvery color reflects light and in the evening when they glow in the moonlight.  As a good accent plant it is great in a border or container.  It also takes sun, heat, and humidity well and even continues to look good through a drought.    Its elegant arching form never fails to catch my eye, standing out against the darker colored Capsicum annuum ‘Black Pearl’ it is paired with, as I walk through the gravel path above the Scott Entrance Garden. photo credit: J. Ahrweiler


Clethra alnifolia ‘Ruby Spice’ is one of my favorite Clethras in bloom right now.  Its terminal panicles of flowers are rosy pink and give off a pleasing fragrance.  Here, it lines the stairs to Trotter Hall in the John W. Nason Garden, making an excellent border.  It is also a useful shrub that will tolerate clay soil, wet soil, deep shade, and is low maintenance.  Due to these tolerances it is useful as a hedge, for erosion control, or in a rain garden.  Also, for those interested in attracting wildlife to the garden,  it attracts many pollinators, especially butterflies. photo credit: J. Ahrweiler


Firmiana simplex, an ornamental tree of the cacao, or chocolate family, is another tree which graces the summer with color.   It is a notable tree due to its green striated bark, large plumes of flowers, and large leaves which can reach up to two feet across casting deep shadows beneath the tree.  Other than its interesting features, the tree is also useful to us as it grows extremely fast, is easy to transplant and is a possible street tree.  The large panicles of light yellow flowers bloom from mid-June through beginning of July, followed by light green seed pods.  In fall, the large leaves turn yellow giving the tree nice fall color.  Its attractive green bark can be seen throughout the entire year.  This Firmiana simplex can be found reaching toward the bell tower in the John W. Nason Garden. photo credit: J. Ahrweiler

Jessica Ahrweiler
  • Steven Cirafesi
    Posted at 14:20h, 01 August Reply

    I believe the correct name for the Canna, is Canna ‘Phasion’

  • Josh Coceano
    Posted at 15:12h, 01 August Reply

    You are correct in that the cultivar name is Canna ‘Phasion’. The blog lists the registered trademark name. Canna Tropicanna® is one selection in the Tropicanna® series released by Monrovia. We have found that most catalogs and vendors list the series name. In the future we will attempt to include both names. Thanks for checking out the blog.

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