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Superbena Whiteout verbena heads the list of great new white flowers

Superbena Whiteout verbena produces enormous flowers. (James Winter/TNS)
Superbena Whiteout verbena produces enormous flowers. (James Winter/TNS)
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Each year my color-design guru son orders plants for use at his client’s homes, shopping centers, apartment communities, and office complexes. Though he is now way better than his dad, I always reserve the right to ask, have you got plenty of blue.

The answer is always, of course, but the question has now been turned to the dad, as he asks me, do I have white in my plantings. Guilty as charged, that is the last color I think about. 2019 looks to be a banner year for new white flowers. One of the most shocking in performance so far is the new Superbena Whiteout verbena. Great Scott, the flowers are huge making you do a double take when you first see them.

Superbenas have always been a favorite of mine since they made their debut about 16 years ago; I predict the Whiteout will quickly go to must-have plant status. Organic-rich, well-drained soil and plenty of sunshine will give you the green thumb. If you have heavy soil, then you will rejoice when using them in mixed containers where the conditions are more favorable.

If you haven’t tried Superbena verbenas, the name is most appropriate. Fertile, organic-rich well-drained soil may very well give a spring-return in zones 8-10. I assure you though, they are worth every penny spent even growing them as an annual.

Calliope has become the geraniums in which all others are compared to when considered for bloom and rugged perseverance, in the hot humid south. When white showed in the market this year, a lot of designers, son included, were high fiving.

There is so much you can do with a white geranium including opening the door to the most beautiful red, white, and blue gardens that will sizzle not just during Memorial Day and July 4, but all summer.

If you are a begonia lover, then it’s time to celebrate as Tophat White is new to the market. This begonia is amazing from size-of-plant to the size-of-flowers and it’s the first white selection in the XL begonia class. I would say seeing is believing but I still look at them with disbelief. These really are the largest flowers you’ll see in a landscape begonia. I say that, but you’ll want them for containers, too. Tophat begonias are green-leafed and will reach 16 to 20 inches tall and 20 to 24 inches wide with flowers that are 20% larger.

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When spring arrives every year with all of its glorious colors — purples, pinks, yellows, and reds, the color guaranteed to catch your eye every time is white.

Of course, a scientist would most likely say white is not a color, it absorbs no other color or wavelength and is pure.

This goes in hand with the bride wearing a white dress, or the nurse wearing a white uniform. It’s like the morning you wake and see the pure white snow on the ground that hasn’t been violated in any way.

White flowers not only give definition to those shadier areas of the landscape but also offer a sense of cleanliness and purity. They also give a feeling of planning and precision. In other words, the gardener knew what he was doing by carefully planting white.

Notice, I said carefully. While it can be argued that every other color looks its best partnered with white, they can also be overwhelmed. White is so flashy and bright it can steal the promise or potential of its companions.

Superbena Whiteout falling over the rim of a container, however, will be loved as much as a string of white pearls. It is the reflective capacities of white that make it so outstanding. White is the last color to disappear as the sun sets in the evening. If it is a moonlit night then they will reflect this light all night. As purple salvias disappear at dusk the companions of Calliope White geraniums will still be glistening and noticed as visitors pass by.

2019 is a banner year to shop at your local garden center, so I need to challenge you as you shop. Don’t forget the white!

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