Our 2021 plant sale will again be virtual, with pick-up either at Gary Geister’s for main sale plants or Kirky Otto’s for native plants. New this year, to make the process easier, we’ll have an online ordering site with one order form for all plants (no email or phone orders). Look for the site to open for browsing at the beginning of March. 

Plant sale dates
March 1st Online site open for browsing
April 9-30th 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.