Sometimes it is amazing the combinations of colors you may find in a flower. There are even a few flowers that may have different flowers on the same plant. One of the first ones I think of is Zebrina (Mallow sylvestris), a combination of white flowers with purple streaks coming out from the center. Many people call them Dwarf Hollyhocks. They grow about 3 feet tall and reseed by the hundreds if you don’t deadhead. Every fall I cut the maturing heads into a pan in case I want them in a different place. Seeds are big and easy to handle but so are the volunteer plants that come up. I just take the trowel of soil and plant while they are quite small and they never even hesitate. They have a very sturdy stem so never need staking and once they are seeded in area, you can cut the early ones down after blooming and a new crop will come up. They ignore the first frosts so may bloom quite late.
Lantana is another favorite that I have talked about for Humming
Birds. A shrub down South, it gets about 3 feet here in
A good example of a shorter flower is the Gaillardia species that grow very well for me in the sidewalk strip with their combinations of red and yellow (goblin), orange and yellow (oranges and lemons). There are annuals, biennials, and perennials in these flowers. Sometimes called Blanket Flower or Indian Blanket, mine do well with less water than many plants. None of them live for a number of years but all do have some seeds. There are pure red and pure yellow ones as well. Even the perennials may bloom the first year from seed if you start them early. I plan on adding a plant or two each Spring to fill in the blanks.
Several years ago an
This spring I found a Begonia whose foliage was eye catching. Its name was Marmaduke with off beat arrangement of green, yellow, and brown in big bold leaves. Blooms were mild compared to the leaves.
Day Lilies (Hemerocallis species) have any number of color combinations. A number of them have dark centers with lighter or different color outer edges. They will grow almost anywhere, enlarge their clumps fairly fast, and can be moved or divided at any time. They do best in good soil, a fair amount of moisture, come in sizes from 12 inches to 15 inches all the way to 3 feet. They store energy in little white bumps along the roots which adds to their hardiness. I started a new colony of short ones (18 to 20 inches tall) on the parkway with dark centers of different colors. They immediately started putting out new leaves. I assume they will bloom this summer.
Dahlias also have a reputation for several colors in one flower.
The plants come in all sizes from 12 inches to 5 feet with the
bloom size matching. They are not hardy here so have to be dug in the fall
soon after the first frost kills their leaves.
The bulbs (tubers) are about six inches down but care must be taken
not to break them off the main stem as the new “baby” is right there
where the two join. One plant
may give you 6 to 7 new tubers in a good year.
Dahlia “Bold Accent” is lavender with white centers in the
petals. One of my catalogs
this Spring has a collection of about 6 colors with different streaks or
contrasting edges. “Show and Tell” is red with yellow tips, and “
The little 12-18 inch Dahlias make an excellent edging. I usually start these from seed and they bloom the first summer. All Dahlias appreciate plenty of water but not wet feet.