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10 Great Landscape Plants - Senorita Rosalita

This article covers plants great for landscape plantings.

Contributors: Kerry Meyer

I really wanted to call this series of articles "10 Plants Every Gardener Should Try in the Landscape," but this seemed a bit long for a title. Whatever you call them these,10 plants should be great in landscapes in almost any climate. They were chosen to be heat tolerant, to need limited to no supplemental water and to be easy to care for with no deadheading needed. I've grown them all (most of them repeatedly) and love them!

  1. Artist® Blue Ageratum
  2. Lo & Behold® 'Blue Chip' Buddleia
  3. Senorita Rosalita® Cleome
  4. Graceful Grasses® King Tut® Cyperus
  5. Diamond Frost® Euphorbia
  6. Dolce® Heuchera
  7. Illusion® Midnight Lace Ipomoea
  8. Luscious® Citrus Blend Lantana
  9. Snow Princess® Lobularia
  10. Supertunia® Vista Bubblegum Petunia

Many Proven Winners® plants are medium or short growing plants that are great at the front or in the middle of your garden beds or perfect to spill over the sides of containers. A relatively small number of our plants are great for adding height to the garden or container. At two to four feet tall, Senorita Rosalita® Cleome is one of those plants.

Cleome is one of those old-fashioned plants you may remember from years ago.  However, you may also remember Cleome having a few issues! If you've grown Cleome in the past you can probably recite them with me, all together now... They are smelly, sticky and spiny, their foliage tends to look light green, they get "bare knees" (the lower foliage drops off), they bloom only on the top of the plant and they have a tendency to reseed like crazy in your garden. I often think, old-fashioned Cleome is bent on world domination and is using our gardens to start the takeover.

Senorita Rosalita® solves all of these issues. She isn't smelly, sticky or spiny, has medium to dark green foliage, the lower foliage doesn't fall off the plant - so no bare knees, blooms all over the plant - not just on top and she is sterile so she won't set seed and use your garden as a launching pad for world domination. In fact, in many ways Senorita Rosalita® acts almost like a shrub in the landscape, although she is an annual and will have to be replanted each spring.

The only issue I've ever heard is that peacocks like to nibble on her flowers, given the chance. I know, it's an odd thing to know about a plant and you might be wondering how I came across this information. No, I do not have peacocks wandering around our property. I do know Steve Foltz, the Director of Horticulture at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens.

Steve uses many of our plants at the zoo and I try to stop by to visit every year. Last year, as we were walking around looking at the garden beds (only a plant geek would go to the zoo and spend most of her time looking at plants!) he mentioned that he had a problem with Senorita Rosalita® early in the season. It seems that before the plants at the front of the beds filled in and created a barrier, the peacocks would eat all the flowers off the front of Senorita Rosalita®. After the other plants filled in, the peacocks could no longer get to Senorita Rosalita®. They were in full bloom when I visited in July, except for where Senorita Rosalita® bordered the sidewalk and then there were no flowers on the front of the plants. Steve said, "Senorita Rosalita takes Cleome to a new level in the landscape. It now has the staying power to last throughout the season and is a low-maintenance, long blooming annual that will be showy the entire season."

Other than peacocks, Senorita Rosalita® has few pest problems, although Cleome Stem Borer can be problematic in South Florida. The insect lives inside the stem of the plant and eventually kills it entirely; symptoms include wilt and death of the plant.  At this time the specific insect involved hasn't been identified, so treatment options are unknown. Cleome Stem Borer problems do seem to be limited to South Florida.

Senorita Rosalita® loves sun and will do best with a minimum of six hours of direct sun a day. She is heat tolerant and should be well adapted to gardens throughout the US and Canada. She doesn't need deadheading to continue to bloom, although you can deadhead, if you prefer. She should also maintain her shape throughout the season. Supplemental water shouldn't be necessary unless very dry conditions prevail. An application of a well-balanced controlled-release fertilizer or use of compost should be sufficient for nutritional needs.

Senorita Rosalita® is also great as the 'thriller" item in combination containers and also works as a mono-crop container. Since Senorita Rosalita® is a relatively large plant, I would not use a pot smaller than 16-inches for combinations.

Senorita Rosalita® has also won numerous awards in trials across the country. She performed well in a wide variety of environments. Despite her stellar performance in the garden, she isn't always easy to find. If you don't see her in your local garden centers, ask! If the garden center doesn't know you are looking, they won't know to grow or find a wholesale source for her. If we keep asking, garden centers will start selling her.

Vital Stats:
Sun/Shade:It prefers full sun - a minimum of 6 hours of direct sun a day
Height:Tall, 24 to 48 inches
Spacing:20 to 24 inches apart

Habit:Upright, Thriller - Used either in the back or middle of a container - Usually a taller item that adds height and drama to the container

Bloom Time:Planting to frost
Uses:Use in landscapes and containers, but not in hanging baskets

Artist® Blue Ageratum hybrid 'Agsantis' USPP15,289, Can. 2050; Lo & Behold® 'Blue Chip' Buddleia hybrid USPP19,991, CPBRAF; Senorita Rosalita® Cleome hybrid 'Inncleosr' USPP19,733, Can. 3290; Diamond Frost® Euphorbia 'Inneuphdia' USPP17,567, Can. 2830; Illusion Midnight Lace Ipomoea batatas 'NCORNSP-011MDNTLC' USPPAF, CPBRAF; Luscious® Citrus Blend Lantana camara '2003.301' USPP19,706; Snow Princess Lobularia hybrid 'Inlbusnopr' USPPAF, CPBRAF; Supertunia® Vista Bubblegum Petunia hybrid 'USTUNI6001' USPP17,730, Can. 2871

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