Proven Winners has introduced so many fabulous container plants over the past few years. Some favorites that I now consider “must haves” include Diamond Frost euphorbia, Sedona coleus, Vanilla Butterfly argyranthemum, Toffee Twist carex, Rubrum pennisetum and Angelina sedum.

They’ve done it again for 2008, and here are a few of the new varieties I’ll be looking for when I hit my local nursery this spring:

Angelonia ‘Angel Face Dark Violet’: in the photographs I’ve seen, the color of these flowers looks more burgundy than violet. If that’s a fact, I’ll be sure to give it a try.

Calibrachoa ‘Dreamsicle’ and ‘Scarlet’: The first is a terrific bright orange and the second a bright red. These clear, hot colors are difficult to find and so valuable for creating flashy color combinations.

Lantana ‘Luscious Lemonade’: Hot colors are fun, but I’m not a fan of bright yellow. This new lantana is a pale shade of buttery yellow.

Coleus: There are two new varieties that caught my eye. Lemon Sunsation has narrow, chartreuse leaves with lacy edges that have a whisper of burgundy along the edge. Lancelot Velvet Mocha also has finely-cut leaves but is a sultry bronze-burgundy. Both are on the tall side (2 to 3 feet), which will make them good for anchoring the back of a container. There are not that many good “thriller” plants for containers, and these two sound like good candidates.

Pennisetum ‘Prince’: I’m already a huge fan of Rubrum, so I’ll be taking a close look at this new variety, which is supposed to be even deeper in color, with foliage that looks more black/purple than burgundy.

Acalypha ‘Sizzle Scissors’: With such an unfriendly Latin name, this plant’s common name will probably be the one that sticks: copperleaf plant. It looks like it could be a good filler with raggedy, jaggedy foliage in mottled tones of cream and bronze. 24” H.

Proven Winners is also introducing a bunch of interesting echeverias and agaves, but unfortunately, these heat-lovers rarely appear in our northern New England garden centers. If you live in a warmer part of the country, keep your eyes open for some of these terrific new succulents.

Happy shopping!

-Kathy LaLiberte, Director of Gardening