Do you love it when a passerby stops to look at your garden and says, “Wow, what is that?” Here are three flowers and one plant to introduce to your garden this Summer that are guaranteed to grab some attention.
Spider Flowers (Cleome hasslerana) are large, spiky flowers that sit atop stems up to four feet tall. Sometimes they will lean over and weep when at full height. The color varieties are shades of white, and pink to pale lilac. Spider flowers thrive in full sun to part shade (Annual Gardening) and they can’t be missed when in full bloom. People seem to either love them or hate them, but they always notice them.
“Giant Maroon” Hibiscus (Malvaceae) are sometimes referred to as “dinner plate” hibiscus because that is how big the flowers can get. They are grown as annuals in northern parts of the U.S., and the Missouri Botanical Garden recommends placing them in full sun to moderate shade with moist conditions. My neighbor planted these in her front yard one year and they stopped traffic!
Moonflowers (Ipomoea Alba) are aptly named and notable because their beautiful trumpet shaped flowers bloom in the evening. This is a vine that will climb a trellis or house and can grow to ten feet tall. It is a perennial in the tropics, although it has been known to reseed and winter over even here at the Jersey Shore. This night bloomer has been passed around my small town and garners much attention when the flowers and their powerful scent “pop” at dusk. Fair warning—this plant is poisonous(Annual Gardening).
Elephant Ear (Xanthosoma) plants are actually a source of food in some tropical parts of the world, but are often grown in the U.S. for their large, showy foliage. The huge leaves branch out and give a lush, tropical look to any garden. You may find elephant ear plants already started in a pot, or you can start them yourself from the coco yam tuber. Cool Tropical Plants advises that when planted in cooler(non-tropical) climates they prefer full sun. When a local gardener grows an elephant ear plant in our neighborhood, tourists stop to gawk and marvel.
There you have it—three flowers and one plant that will get people talking and give your garden that “over the top” punch.
Sources: Annual Gardening,compiled by the Missouri Botanical Garden, by June Hutson and Brian Ward with Ruth Rogers Clausen, Pantheon Books, Knopf Publishing Group, New York, 1995
The Missouri Botanical Garden Kemper Center for Home Gardening