Three years ago Snow Princess lobularia shocked the gardening world with a dazzling performance through the long hot summer. It became a plant that left many horticulturists scratching their heads in disbelief. Now, after more than 130 awards, Snow Princess appears to be blushing with all of that success.
You know where I am headed, right? In trials across the country there is the new Blushing Princess showing out with distinctive blushes of lavender, offering gardeners even more options, whether in the landscape, or combined with petunias and verbenas in containers.
The success of Snow Princess has not just led to the Proven Winners release of Blushing Princess but also to new introductions from other companies, many of which look impressive. Danzinger, a leading company from Israel, is introducing three new selections, White Stream, Summer Stream that has hints of golden yellow, and Lavender Stream.
If you are not familiar with these plants, they are like having a sweet alyssum that blooms incredibly all summer. The industry has chosen to refer to them as lobularia, which is probably good to help differentiate these rugged performers from the ones we use as pansy partners.
In 2009, when Snow Princess made its debut, everyone was skeptical that a lobularia could survive a summer in Florida — or anywhere else, for that matter, with torrid heat. At the time I was with Mississippi State University and we planted ours in raised beds that were rich and fertile and watered with a drip-type system.
The beds were out in full sun with absolutely zero shade. To make matters even more challenging the beds were surrounded with rocks, which no doubt gave off even more heat during the day and into the night. They established quickly, filling out their allotted space and creating a blanket of snow flakes all summer.
As great as they are in the landscape, know that they are unmatched in containers as well. It will take your breath away to see a blanket of white that seems suspended in air. But they have the ability to work wonderfully partnered with other plants.
One such partnership I recently saw was a mixed container featuring Bouquet Rose Magic dianthus, "Becky" shasta daisy and the hot new Blushing Princess. This was a dream of a mixed container featuring three award-winning plants.
I saw other containers where Blushing Princess was combined effectively with Pink Caliente geraniums and another with burgundy coleus. In each case it was the Blushing Princess that gave the finishing touch.
With new plants like these lobularia showing up every year there has never been a better time to be a gardener and to have fun creating mixed borders or containers.
Norman Winter is executive director of the Columbus Botanical Garden in Columbus, Ga., and author of "Tough-as-Nails Flowers for the South" (University of Mississippi Press).
Lobularia growing tips
Whether you choose Snow Princess, Blushing Princess or one of the Stream series, know that these new lobularia like plenty of light and fertile, well-drained soil. They will let you know when moisture is needed and usually respond rather quickly. At any time that you feel they have grown out of their boundary, just give them a trim with a good pair of scissors.