Jimmy Turner is an accomplished horticulturist who has led public gardens in the challenging climates of Dallas, Texas; Sydney, Australia; and Salt Lake City, Utah. In an interview with Scott Beuerlein for Horticulture, he remarked:
"I love annuals. Now that over-the-top Victorian design full of annuals? That’s for public display gardens. To do that in your own garden, no. But a couple of flower pots dispersed here and there spices up your garden and gives you that little bit of change. They’re the throw pillows of the plant world and I think people like that. It’s a simple and interesting color form that’s changeable."
Drawing on his personal and professional experience, Jimmy recommended the following annuals as vigorous performers in hot, humid, dry summers:
1. Supertunia "I swear this plant is part kudzu, because Supertunias grow huge almost overnight," said Jimmy. "Unlike other petunias, they stood up to the heat and humidity of Sydney and Dallas."
2. Lobularia Snow Princess "It covers the garden in fragrant, soft white flowers. It does equally well in baskets, pots or the ground. This isn’t your grandmother’s alyssum!"
3. Petchoa SuperCal series "The best of both parents (petunia and calibrachoa)!" He observed. "These plants handled the alkalinity of Dallas soil and they were among my favorites for containers."
4. Echinacea Double Scoop series "Bright colors, big flowers and tough as nails," Jimmy said. "What isn’t to love?"
5. Celosia argentea Intenz He described this having "glow-in-the-dark bright cerise flowers appear right up until frost, on plants that hold up to extreme heat and humidity."
6. Salvia Mystic Spires Blue "One of the best blue flowers on the market that anyone can grow," said Jimmy. "Like a magnet to pollinators, too."
7. Sunpatiens "These are the only impatiens that hold up in the heat of Texas and Sydney. They need a lot of water but can’t be beat for flower power."
Image credits: Supertunia/Lobularia combo courtesy of Proven Winners. All others courtesy of Ball Horticultural Company.