Published on: March 10, 2015

With the anticipation of getting into our gardens this spring, we asked Botanic Garden staff to share some of the plants from last year that stood out in their minds and why. 


Dr. Todd Lasseigne   Dr. F. Todd Lasseigne, Garden President and CEO
Every plantsperson like me goes through phases – the hydrangea phase of the 1990s, an heirloom camellia cultivar phase I would have now if I lived further south,…  In the world of tropical plants, I’m currently in a Mussaenda phase – a WHAT phase you might ask?  Well, Mussaenda is a genus of nearly 200 species of tropical shrubs and trees, related to gardenias and coffee.  Last summer, we were able to acquire the beautiful double-flowered cultivar Mussaenda philippica ‘Dona Aurora’, which looked like white-flowered mop head hydrangea in full bloom.  They do need good drainage in our soils, but with their love of sunshine and hot weather, and their bright white, pink and red flowers, we think that the Mussaenda’s will be a big hit in future tropical summer plantings. Stay tuned! 
Jenn Smith   Jenn Smith, Horticulturist
Stachytarpheta frantzii - Purple Porterweed

Justicia brandegeeana

Stachytarpheta frantzii 

The butterflies were all over these blooms like grease on bacon-  Constant activity fluttering around!

Justicia brandegeeana  

This plant has super cool blooms and performed well in the heat.

Pavonia multiflora

photo:Almost Eden

Pavonia multiflora

I loved the exotic blooms. 

Rotheca incisa ‘Sauti’

I loved the intricate music note blooms. 

   Jenny Mangan, Plant Acquisition Coordinator  

I found a couple of combinations of plants very pleasing:

Alternanthera brasiliana LITTLE RUBY (Joseph’s coat) with Allamanda blanchettii ‘Cherries Jubilee’ made for a great pink and purple combination,

while Bed 15 had Justicia betonica with Cleome  SENORITA ROSALITA providing a pretty sage green and lavender pairing.

These four plants looked good all summer and into the fall.