Our 2021 plant sale is almost here! Find out the details.

Plant sale dates
Now-April 8, Preview the sale, Online site is open for browsing
April 9-30th, Online Sale
May 12th, Plant Pick-up

Below Gary, Kirky, and Carol feature plants for the upcoming sale

When we think of gardens, we often think flowers, flowers and more flowers. You can have a garden or a container with not a single bloom and it can be as stunning as one absolutely full of flowers. Non-flowering plants can make a great accent to your flowering plants adding color, texture, contrast,structure, filler and wonderful visual appeal. – Gary Geister

Non-flowering plants coming to our Annual Plant Sale in May 2021

Asparagus meyeri
Morocco begonia
Gryphon begonia
Coleus (7 varieties)
Sweet potato vines (4 varieties)
Wandering Jew, purple
Black pearl pepper
Succulents (many)
Vertigo grass
Fiber optic grass
Tricolor sage
Juncus -‘Spiralis’ and ‘Blue

Helichrysum italicum
Helichrysum petiolare ‘Limelight’
Plecthranthus argentatus and ‘ZuluWonder’
Castor bean
Artemesia ‘Silver Brocade’
Alternanthera – ‘Party Time’
Alternanthera ‘Raspberry Rum’
Senecio – ‘Angel Wings’
Cyperus – ‘King Tut’
Eupatorium – ‘Elegant Feathers’
Muehlenbeckia – wire vine

When you shop our next annual plant sale, why not try Cipolla’s Pride from our very own club member Larry Cipolla. The seeds are being sold through Johnny’s Selected Seeds in Winslow, Maine. – Gary Geister

Native Plants

Minnesota Wildflowers is a good web source for native plant information. They are funded by the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund and seem quite reliable.
-Kirky Otto

Rudbeckia ​fulgida​ and Rudbeckia ​hirta are native to Minnesota. They are both commonly called Black-eyed Susan, but R.​ hirta is the one that is actually labelled Black-Eyed Susan, while R. ​fulgida is labelled “Orange Coneflower”. ​Hirta ​means “hairy,” and the stems are much hairier than the ​fulgida. What matters more is that R. ​hirta​ is either an annual or a biennial depending on growing conditions. A true biennial forms a basal rosette the first year (from seed) and doesn’t bloom until the second year, but the plants we order should bloom the first year, and may or may not come back. Because they self-seed so heavily, they seem perennial.

R. ​fulgida (Orange Coneflower) translates roughly as “brilliant” or “flashing”. It is a true perennial and that can make a difference. It also self-seeds but primarily reproduces from the roots, which travel underground at will and send up new plants hither and yon. If you want a daisy-type flower that does not spread widely, deadhead either of these Rudbeckia before most seed heads form. Also, if you use perennial ​R. fulgida​, be prepared to dig out wandering plants that come up from the roots. Photos show small differences in the looks of the plants and the color of the foliage (R.​ hirta​ has paler leaves). Both appreciate full sun but tolerate some shade. R.​ fulgida takes normal to wet soil, while R.​ hirta​ (black-eyed Susan) is fine with normal to dry soil. Both top out at 1 ft. to 2 ft. R. ​fulgida b​looms from August through September, while R. ​hirta gives you an extra month on both ends of the season.

Gaillardia aristata ‘Blanketflower’
If you’d like a yellow daisy-type flower with some red/maroon on the petals surrounding the red/maroon eyes, Gaillardia is it. Gaillardia ​aristata​ is a genus in the sunflower (Asteraceae) family, as are the Rudbeckias. Commonly called ‘Blanket flower,’ it is perennial, native to Minnesota, and a plant of Special Concern status due to loss of prairie habitat. They need sun, but grow well in areas that are on the dry side. They flower May through September – earlier than the Rudbeckias – which is another reason to add them to your garden. Their ray petals have three lobes at the end, giving them a full, slightly ruffled look. Leaves are long and narrow, and shapes vary widely. A true perennial, height is commonly 24 in.
Minnesota Wildflowers is a good web source for native plant information. They are funded by the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund and seem quite reliable.
-Kirky Otto

Get acquainted with some more newcomers to our 2021 Plant Sale – Gary Geister

Kalanchoe daigremontianaMother of Thousands’ ‘Devil’s Backbone’
I bought this easy-to-grow succulent last summer. Each leaf edge has baby plants already attached to it with roots ready to be planted. Last fall I brought a couple of trays of baby kalanchoe into the basement and the babies are already having babies. You don’t need to save every baby that drops from the mother plant, but I did, and they all survived and grew. You can see why it is called ‘Mother of Thousands.’ 

Gaura ‘Whirling Butterflies’
Gaura gets its nickname because of its flexible stems that blow in the wind. We will have two varieties in the sale: ‘Sparkle White’ and ‘Stratosphere Pink Picotee.’ The photo shows my favorite container at Four Star Nursery in Michigan this last summer. The white gaura, I think, is spiller, filler and thriller all in one. It’s native to Louisiana and Texas but grown as an annual here (I have never had any survivors over winter). Attracts bees and butterflies and grows 1 ft. to 2 ft. high.

Ornamental Oregano ‘Drops of Jupiter’
New this year from Walters Gardens. The leaves can be used as an oregano but will not have as intense a flavor as the regular oregano herb. When planted in full sun, the chartreuse leaves are a great contrast with the mauve with purple calyxes. It blooms from mid-summer into fall attracting butterflies. Grows 2 ft. high and 2 ft. wide. Zone 4.

Ipomoea ‘Sweet Caroline Medusa™ Green’
This sweet potato vine has deeply cut, fingered chartreuse leaves in full sun or a deeper shade of green in shade. It’s a mounding sweet potato vine used in containers or as a ground cover. This plant looks great far away or close up.

Newcomers to the Native Plant Sale

Thanks to suggestions from club members and experience in the Lyndale Park native garden, we’ll offer several native plants for the first time at our club’s May sale.
-Kirky Otto

Dicentra cucullaria, Dutchman’s Breeches
We’ve tried to get these spring ephemerals in the past, but they are hard to germinate. We’re hopeful this year. The lovely white flowers draw early bumble bees as pollinators. They are less than 1 ft. tall, flowering in April and May. By midsummer the foliage is dying back, so taller plants that bloom later can be planted behind or around them.

Stylophorum diphyllum, Celandine Poppy or Wood Poppy
You may not have met this plant. Its attractive foliage and large, yellow flowers appear from April to June and occasionally later in the season. They bloom well in part to full shade and reach 12 to 18 in. in height. They like moisture, and they do well in the heavy soil of the native garden at Lyndale Park where they only get normal amounts of water in full shade. Great for a woodland setting. (To be clear, Stylophorum diphyllum is not the true Minnesota native, but similar. The Minnesota native, Chelidonium majus–also called Celandine poppy–is invasive and should not be planted here. S. diphyllum is native as far west as Wisconsin.)

Chelone glabra, Turtlehead
You may be familiar with the tall elegant plant that blooms later in the season, and a pink hybrid, Hot Lips, is a garden favorite. The native Minnesota turtlehead is Chelone glabra, and the blossoms are a creamy white. In the native and shade gardens at Lyndale Park we’ve kept the C.glabra on the native side of the path and moved the pink hybrids to the shade side. Both get enough water, which is important for them to thrive. In my personal garden they are planted together in a dry area, and the hybrid is overtaking the C.glabra, which needs more moisture. They bloom in August and September reaching 2 to 4 ft. in height. Plant in part shade to sun keeping in mind more sun will require more moisture.

Specialty Annuals

Begonia Viking™ XL ‘Red on Chocolate’  
A 2- to 3-ft. begonia with vibrant, intense red flowers on a backdrop of very dark wine “brownish“ leaves. Continues to bloom and looks great until the first frost. Stands out for its darker foliage. 2019 All-American Selections winner. (All-American Selections is a group of professional, independent and volunteer judges who grew them next to comparisons that are considered best-in-class.) Limited supply.

Petunia Headliner™ ‘Enchanted’
New this year by the same company that has ‘Night Sky’ and ‘Pink Sky’ petunias. Features pink-violet blooms with a white star pattern and white speckles. Very unique and first of its kind. Will not be widely available until 2022, so now is your chance. Limited supply.

Amaranthus Elephant Head
Grows 3 to 5 ft. tall producing a large, thick, maroon-deep red flower stack that looks like an upraised elephant trunk. The most commented-on plant at the Siskiyou Seed Farm. A very tall annual best planted in the back of the flower bed.

Salvia Rockin’® Fuchsia, Rockin’® Purple Deep
Both are Proven Winners brand that are great butterfly, hummingbird and bee attractors. Grows up to 3 ft. tall. Use in your flower garden or in containers as a thriller. Both have black calyxes.

Sunpatiens® ‘Compact Tropical Rose’
SunPatiens® ‘Vigorous Tropical Orange’ 
Sunpatiens® ‘Vigorous Tropical White’
All these grow in the sun, but mine have done better in partial shade as they tend not to dry out as fast and seemed to have more blooms. All have green and yellow variegated leaves.

Petunia SURPRISE® ‘Sparkle Red’
Looks very much like the ‘Night Sky’ and ‘Pink Sky’ petunia but from a different grower. 
A red petunia with specks of white.

More Native Minnesotans for our 2021 Plant Sale

How about trying some unusual native Minnesota plants this year? They may not be rare, but their appearance will pique the interest of garden viewers. Here are some suggestions. -Kirky Otto

Bouteloua curtipendula Side-oats Grama
This short and well-behaved native grassbears small flowers in the summer as well as interesting seed heads, Bouteloua curtipendula has a clue to the seed heads in its name: the seeds are pendulous. It grows 2 to 3 ft. tall and does well in either full sun or partial shade. The flowers and seed heads develop along one side of the stems. They and the grass have nice red-purple colors at various times of year.o get these spring ephemerals in the past, but they are hard to germinate. We’re hopeful this year. The lovely white flowers draw early bumble bees as pollinators. They are less than 1 ft. tall, flowering in April and May. By midsummer the foliage is dying back, so taller plants that bloom later can be planted behind or around them.

Eryngium yuccifolium Rattlesnake Master
This species name also hints about appearance. Rattlesnake master is shaped a lot like desert yucca plants with strappy,sword-like leaves. It gets 3 to 5 ft. tall (3 ft.in the Lyndale Park native garden) and blooms July through September. The flowers are 1-in. white balls with white bristles — unusual and attractive above the spikey, fibrous leaves. The plants spread to some degree, but are controlled if they are not given too much space among other plants. It needs at least a half-day of sun and can tolerate full sun. It’s also drought tolerant. A dramatic member of the carrot family, it attracts and supports many pollinators.

Opuntia humifusa Eastern Prickly Pear
How about a native Minnesota cactus? This short plant produces 3 in. yellow flowers, each blooming for a single day in June and July. It tolerates dry soil, so you wouldn’t want to put it in a damp area.Only 4 to 6 in. tall and requiring at least half a day of sun, it could be a ground cover in a dry, sandy area. It has thorny spikes and also finer ones which are difficult to remove, so always handle with leather or other heavy gloves. It is edible,but you must know how to clear the spikes first. The ‘pear’ or fruit just needs the thick skin removed. Fruits can be eaten as-is or made into jelly or syrup.

New England Aster, Aromatic Aster
Although these asters may look alike, their overall impression is very different. New England asters (top photo) tend to be nearly 4 ft. tall, with 1-1/2 in. blossoms,and an airy feel. Aromatic asters (which have no fragrance!) are shorter and bushier with lots of 1 in. blossoms in the late fall. Poor, dry soil is fine for aromatic asters.

Sand coreopsis
Sand coreopsis plants get about 2 ft. tall,with 2 in. bright yellow daisy-type flowers from May thru July. Deadhead for more blooms. Good cut flowers. Dry to medium poor soil is just fine. Attracts butterflies.

Zizia aurea, Golden Alexander
Blooms from April to June in sun to part shade. It’s 1-3 ft. tall, with the shorter heights in part shade. It likes medium to moist soil and does well in a partially shaded rain garden.

Royal Catchfly
Enjoy brilliant true-red flowers in July andAugust on 3 ft. plants, attractinghummingbirds. Dry to medium soil makesit happy.

Hoary Vervain
Purple blossoms bloom up the stem fromJune to September. The 2-3 ft. tall plantslook good in combination with nativeyarrow and coneflowers. Onceestablished, it prefers sunny, dry soil.

More Annuals

Statice Suworowii ‘Russian Statice’
Produces very interesting, long-lasting flowers for your flower arrangements.The pencil-thin stems have pinkish,rose-colored blooms. It needs full sun and reaches 2 to 2-1/2 ft. tall. Bestplanted in the garden, where it attracts butterflies.

Talinum paniculatum ‘Jewel of Opar ‘
The succulent-like leaves of this plant are lime green with very small, airy rose-pink blooms which turn to smallred seed heads which I have used in arrangements. Best in full sun to part shade. It is a low plant growing up to 2ft. tall when in bloom and can be used in containers.

Celosia (6 varieties)
‘Pampas Plume’ mix (pictured),‘Cristata Cockscomb’ mix, ‘Flamingo Feather,’ ‘Ruby Parfait,’ ‘Celway Terracotta’ and ‘Supercrest’ mix
All these are on the taller side and are great in flower arrangements. Like
zinnias, cutting the blooms produces more blooms. Plant all celosia in full sun in the garden.

Mangave (7 varieties)
‘Freckles and Speckles,’ ‘Inkblot,’‘Mission to Mars,’ ‘Navajo Princess,’‘Pineapple Express,’ ‘Praying Hands’(pictured) and ‘Purple People Eater’

A succulent that is a cross between an agave and manfreda. Grow in a container or in the garden. Not generally winter hardy, but you can give it a try. Full sun produces the greatest variation of leaf color. The largest is ‘Mission to Mars’ and the smallest is ‘Praying Hands.’
Four reasons to grow: softer, less lethal spines, fast grower, perfect focal point and interesting colors.

Rudbeckia ‘Sahara’
Rudbeckia ‘Green Eyes’

These annuals will sometimes surprise you by surviving the winter. ‘Sahara’ has a variety of coppery autumn colors and ‘Green Eyes’ is bright yellow with a green center. Both are great as cut flowers, or deadhead them in the garden for constant blooms through fall.Needs full sun and reaches 1-1/2 to 2 ft tall

Pumpkin on a Stick
Easter Egg Plant
Both are in the eggplant family but are not edible. They grow up to 2 ft. tall in full sun.Pumpkin on a Stick fruit looks like miniature pumpkins along the stem. It can also have sharp thorns on the leaves. Easter Egg Plant has cream-colored, egg-shaped fruit.

Salvia Grandstand™
Candy Apple 12 to 18in.
Rockin’® Fuchsia 24 to 36 in.
Rockin’® Deep Purple 30 to 40 in.
‘Black and Blue’ 36 to 48 in.

As you can see, salvias come in a wide range of heights. They are great for attracting bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. Some of the Grandstand Candy Apple are already blooming and like all salvia, should continue through fall. Best planted in full sun but can be planted in partial shade

Wandering Jew
Only a few inches tall and best in full to partial shade, this plant has great variegated leaves of silver-grey and purple. Plant at the edge of your containers to spill over trailing up to 2 ft.or use as an annual ground cover. A native of tropical rain forests, it loves heat and humidity.

Perennials we had hoped to have in our sale last year but were not able to – Gary Geister

Pulmonaria (lungwort) ‘Shrimps on the Barbie’
Shade perennial. A “wow” plant with deep pink flowers and green foliage with prominent white spots. Dead head to keep foliage attractive all season. Deer resistant.

Lobelia cardinalis Cardinal Flower
Three-ft. perennial for sun. Bright red flowers made it a standout at the “Evening in the Gardens” club event. Deer resistant, attracts butterflies and hummingbirds.

Penstemon (beardtongue) ‘Onyx and Pearls’
Tall 42 in. perennial. Nearly blackfoliage and soft lavender flower withwhite interior. Will be a standout allseason long. Likes sun.

Belamcanda ‘Hello Yellow’
For a number of years I have tried to get this plant but it was always sold out.This year: success. Although sometimes called blackberry lily, this plant has bright yellow flowers with long-lasting clusters of shiny black seeds in the fall. The sword-like leaves resemble iris. Grows up to 2 ft tall.

Phlox paniculata ‘Jeana’
This phlox, recommended by Kate Ladner, reaches 4 to 5 ft. tall producing large masses of small lavender-pink flowers from July through October. It has greater resistance to powdery mildew than any other phlox developed through breeding programs. Although a native of Tennessee, it is a zone 4 perennial. It’s very popular with butterflies and, unfortunately, also with deer.