A Whirlwind of Colour
I’ve been walking through the greenhouse looking over our plants and wondering what I could possibly write about. So many of our flowers are well known classics a little too well known. Sometimes it feels like everyone knows everything already about Calibrachoa and Verbena. What else is there that could possibly peak interest? I love to bring insight to plants people may not consider at first to spark an interest into some of the not well known plants. And boy is there some beauties amongst those over looked varieties. In my last blog I touched on annual salvia that is simply glorious and, in my opinion, needs to be in every garden immediately. Now I have found another plant that has peaked my interest that I wanted to spotlight. This plant is new to our stock this year so I personally have never heard of it before. When our greenhouse manager showed me the plants I was pretty underwhelmed. They were sprawling and thick with very uniquely shaped leaves. But that was all they had to show for themselves at the time. I was surprised that our greenhouse manager would show me this plant of all the others; she was very excited about this one. So I asked her to tell me about it, I try not to judge a book by its cover, but even I had to admit there was little to be desired at the moment when looking at those very green, very gangly plants. So here is what I found out and why I am now a huge fan of this plant. It is called a Fan Flower, specifically the Whirlwind variety.
Now the first thing I always look for in plants is the blooming time. We all want something that can give us colour from spring until fall, but that is so hard to find. And most things that can bloom until fall require a copious amount of deadheading and trimming that it often doesn’t feel worth it. I’m looking at you Petunias. And so enters the Fan Flower. This lovely plant blooms from spring straight till the hard frosts! The flowers are crescent shaped with many little petals and cover long branches giving this plant such a stunning look! It comes in the delightful colours of yellow, purple, and a baby pink, that one’s my personal favorite. Just imagine it! Full, long trailing branches enveloped in baby pink blooms. Just stunning! Aside from its gorgeous and exotic looks this plant is also self-deadheading and VERY easy maintenance. Absolutely no deadheading required for those season long blooms! The fan flower is also very easy care, they are drought tolerant and heat tolerant. If you have a spot in your yard that everything just seems to fry or burn out, this is the plant for that spot! Though for the watering care we do always recommend even moisture, this one will give you a little more grace if you forget once or twice. Some of you may be worried though; I mentioned that the branching is long, does it take over gardens? Is it scraggly? The answer, no to both! This lovely plant is a spreader but not an aggressive one. The largest it will typically get is around 24” in spread and only 8” – 14” in height. If you look at pictures of it fully grown it is more of a mounding and trailing plant than just trailing. So you will get this glorious mound of colour all year round once this annual is established. No scraggly branching, no aggressive take overs, just lovely looking plants. Someone fan me, I’m swooning!
I know you must be thinking though, “this sounds too good to be true. What’s the downside?” I suppose the only downside for this plant is that it’s an annual. So unfortunately every year you will have to say goodbye to your plant. But I think this is one that is worth replanting year after year!