Flowers are a lovely gift. I love getting all kinds of flowers. Even a basket full of annuals or perennials delivered by a friend, significant other, or family makes any day, not just Valentine's Day, shine. A flower arrangement sent on Valentine's Day is exciting, but so is a container or bed planted with live flowering plants.
The color pink is trending for 2022. Hot, vibrant pink is energizing and radiates joy and positive vibes. Pink flowers in the garden are perfect for planting for Valentine's Day. Installing flowers for your valentine provides an opportunity to spend time together enjoying the company, the gardening and the life-affirming act of planting. The new plants will bloom longer than cut flowers, and your valentine will think of you every time they see the blooms. Whether you are planting for another person or for the simple delight of flowers in your garden, think pink!
Wonderful new plant selections are trialed and judged by All-American Selections (https://all-americaselections.org). AAS is a nonprofit organization that tests new varieties for home gardens. All-American Selections are judged in test gardens throughout the U.S., including Florida. The winners are selected based on superior performance in many trial garden locations. There are lovely pink AAS winners that will win the heart of your valentine.
Celosia Kelos Candela Pink is a 2021 AAS winner. Its hot pink blooms glow, and it performs well in warm-season gardens. The plants grow 25 to 30 inches tall and produce 10- to 15-inch pink flower spikes that hold their color all season long. The bloom spikes cut beautifully.
Celosia is an excellent choice for late spring and summer gardens on the Treasure Coast. The best time to plant Celosia along the Treasure Coast is when the danger of frost passes; be sure to protect the seedlings and plants from late-season cold snaps. Mulch well to suppress weeds and moderate the temperature around the roots. Celosia responds well to fertile, moist growing conditions.
Cuphea FloriGlory Diana is a 2018 AAS winner. Cuphea is also known as Mexican heather and is often planted in Treasure Coast gardens and landscapes. The variety FloriGlory Diana produces a massive number of intensely colored magenta flowers. It is weather tolerant, long-blooming and compact in size.
Use Mexican heather in locations with partial shade, though it will survive full sun; full shade will reduce flowering. The soil should be well drained; this plant doesn't like wet feet. However, flowering and growth will be better when irrigated regularly during the dry season. Use the tender perennial in beds, as a border, or in mass plantings for a soft, lacy look full of tiny dark pink blooms. Mexican heather is fabulous in containers and hanging baskets.
Visit https://all-americaselections.org to find out where to purchase these and other winning varieties. This Valentine's Day, delight your valentine with pink.
Carol Cloud Bailey is a landscape counselor and horticulturist. Send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.yard-doc.com for more information.
This article originally appeared on Treasure Coast Newspapers: Florida gardening: Plant pink flowers for Valentine's Day