Plants for outdoors from IPM Essen: Every January, the halls of the giant IPM Essen horticultural trade show are bursting with new plants. Everywhere you look, you can be tempted by something different! We try and get to the New Plant competition as quickly as possible, so we make sure we see these best-of-the-best submissions and can follow up on them as we walk around.
This year, it was noticeable that there is an increasing emphasis on breeding plants for smaller gardens, patios and balconies. There were several with a distinctly upright growth habit, ideal for adding height to a pot collection without taking up too much width. These included Thuja ‘Sunny Smaragd’ (bright golden yellow) and Thuja ‘Totem Smaragd’. Anyone who knows conifers will tell you that Thuja occidentalis ‘Smaragd’ has been around for years and is a good, reliable plant, so these are welcome new additions. By the way, the foliage of a Thuja has a delicious smell of candied orange peel when crushed.
Euonymus japonicus ‘White Spire’ also has a strong, upright habit, with pretty variegated foliage.
There are always new Hydrangeas to see, and this year was no exception. This one, Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Flame’ had a striking flower arrangement. Being forced into bloom for a January show does the colour no favours and we expect this one to be a better blue in its natural season. Few of the newest Hydrangeas are hardy and should only stand outdoors over the summer, so check the labels.
There were several stand-out container plants, including Osteospermum ecklonis ‘Purple Sun’
Nemesia hybride Fairy Kisses ‘Vanilla Berry’, a colourful and sweetly-scented plant for the patio or balcony container,
and Primula Belarina ‘Candy Frost’, which has rich purple flowers tipped with a white frosting. Bred and grown by Kerley & Co of Cambridge, this is definitely one to look out for.
Of the many shrubs on show, this holly really caught our attention with its striking dark purple foliage. The new growth comes through ruby-red and will look superb with the sun shining through it. Ilex meservae ‘Gentle’ (below) is slow-growing and ideal for a container.
These will, hopefully, make their way into our plant nurseries and garden centres during the coming year, so watch out for them.
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