A recent introduction to the North American horticulture market, centradenia is making waves with its exuberant production of magenta flowers. They blanket this sprawling annual from late spring through fall in cool regions and year-round in frost-free areas. Centradenia grows just 1 to 2 feet tall but spreads to form a 4-foot-wide mat of vibrant color. Often used as a groundcover in Zones 9 and 10 where it is winter hardy, centradenia is prized for its burgundy leaves as well as its blossoms.
Add centradenia to a container planting. Place it near the side of the pot where it can spill over the edge and create a cascade of flowers and foliage. Pair it with ornamental pepper, angelonia, and pentas (one of the best pollinator-attracting plants around) for a color-rich container combination.
Also called Spanish shawl, centradenia is a great rock garden plant. Watch it scramble over gravel and boulders, creating a carpet of color while adding soft texture to the landscape. Plant it near retaining walls where it can trail over the stones, bricks, railroad ties, or concrete blocks.
Centradenia Care Must-Knows
Centradenia grows best in full sun or part shade and moist, well-drained soil. This plant tolerates dry conditions as long as it has established a strong root system. Transplants are often difficult to find at local garden centers, so you may want to search for an online source. After transplanting, cover the soil near the base of the plant with a 2-inch-thick layer of mulch to help prevent the loss of soil moisture. Water regularly for the first few months after planting.
Control the spread of centradenia, if needed, by pinching back the soft stems. In regions where it is hardy, cut the plant back to 5 inches tall in late winter. It will quickly regrow, producing vigorous new growth and bushels of blooms.
Plant Centradenia With:
Heat up your garden with ornamental peppers! Much like hot peppers you would grow in the veggie garden, ornamental peppers produce colorful little fruits that are round or pointed. But these are so attractive in their own right that they can be grown just for show -- not eating. The peppers are indeed edible, but usually their flavor is lacking compared to peppers grown for the table.Depending on the variety, the peppers appear in shades of white, purple, red, orange, and yellow -- often with multiple colors on the same plant. They like rich, well-drained soil that is evenly moist.Shown above: Calico pepper
Angelonia is also called summer snapdragon, and once you get a good look at it, you'll know why. It has salvia-like flower spires that reach a foot or 2 high, but they're studded with fascinating snapdragon-like flowers with beautiful colorations in purple, white, or pink. It's the perfect plant for adding bright color to hot, sunny spaces. This tough plant blooms all summer long with spirelike spikes of blooms. While all varieties are beautiful, keep an eye out for the sweetly scented selections. While most gardeners treat angelonia as an annual, it is a tough perennial in Zones 9-10. Or, if you have a bright, sunny spot indoors, you can even keep it flowering all winter.
Pentas is one of the best butterfly-attracting plants around. It blooms all summer long, even during the hottest weather, with large clusters of starry blooms that attract butterflies by the dozens as well as hummingbirds. The plant grows well in containers and in the ground -- and it can even make a good houseplant if you have enough light. It does best in full sun and moist, well-drained soil. Pentas is grown as an annual in most parts of the country, but it's hardy in Zones 10-11. Plant it outdoors after all danger of frost has passed.