Get it growing: LA super plants

By Dan Gill, LSU AgCenter Horticulturist

In October, the LSU AgCenter presents its new plant promotion program called Louisiana Super Plants. The Louisiana Super Plants program is an educational and marketing campaign that highlights tough and beautiful plants that perform well in Louisiana landscapes. New selections will be announced and promoted each spring and fall.

Louisiana Super Plants have a proven track record of several years of university evaluations and/or observations by industry professionals. Home gardeners and professional horticulturists alike can benefit from using Louisiana Super Plants. Louisiana’s summer heat and humidity are tough on plants, and most plants recommended for other parts of the United States will not always perform well here. Funding for this project was provided through the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry with U.S. Department of Agriculture Specialty Crop Block Grant Program funds.

The program
The Louisiana Super Plants program is specific to Louisiana. To ensure that Louisiana Super Plants selections are available at retail nurseries and garden centers, a selection committee works closely with Louisiana wholesale growers to ensure they produce plenty of the selected plants. At the same time, retail sellers are kept informed of the selections and are encouraged to carry them. In addition, signs showing the logo, pictures of the plants and growing information will be placed in garden centers to help shoppers find the plants

What does it take to become a Louisiana Super Plant?
It’s tough to be a Louisiana Super Plant. Each Super Plant must have at least two years of rigorous evaluations and have a proven track record under north and south Louisiana growing conditions. Super Plants must prove hardy across the state and be easily produced and available for all industry wholesalers and retailers to market and sell.

Louisiana Super Plants for fall 2010
Two cool-season bedding plants: dianthus Amazon series and foxglove Camelot series, and one fall-flowering shrub: ShiShi Gashira camellia, have been chosen as Louisiana Super Plants for fall 2010. Dianthus Amazon series comes in three varieties, Rose Magic, Neon Purple and Neon Cherry. Foxglove Camelot series includes Cream, Rose, White and Lavender.

ShiShi Gashira camellia is a low-growing shrub that produces semi-double rose-pink flower from October to early January.


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