Exciting New Annual Flowers

By Charlie Nardozzi

(left to right) <i>'Magellan Coral' zinnia, Gaillardia 'Arizona Sun', Coleus 'Kong Rose', and Rudbeckia 'Maya'</i>

While we all love to come upon a totally new plant we've never seen before, new variations on old favorites -- such as these six new flower introductions -- can be just as tempting.

'Magellan Coral' is the newest of the Magellan series of annual Zinnia elegans, which feature double flowers with exceptional color on 18-inch-tall, beefy plants. The coral color expands the lineup of varieties with pink, scarlet, orange, and yellow flowers, and is a 2005 All-America Selections winner.

Gaillardia 'Arizona Sun' is a dwarf (12 inches tall), mounded form of annual Gaillardia aristata that thrives in hot, dry conditions and produces 3-inch-diameter, yellow-tipped flowers the first year from planting and all season long. Not surprisingly, it's a 2005 All-America Selections winner.

'Kong Rose' is the latest introduction in the large-leaved (4 to 5 inches wide) Kong series of coleus, growing 14 to 16 inches tall with bright green leaf edges and rose-colored centers. Plant it in containers so you can enjoy it indoors for the winter.

Annual and perennial black-eyed Susans are easy-care, dependable plants, and they just got even better. Rudbeckia 'Maya' is the first dwarf, double-flowered rudbeckia, growing only 18 to 20 inches tall. Its sturdy stems hold up masses of 3- to 4-inch-wide, bright yellow flowers.

Check mail-order nurseries and local garden centers for these new annuals.

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