My Top 10 All-Time Favorite Proven Winner Annuals

Video Transcript

Hey friends, welcome to Gardening with Creekside. Today, it may be the end, very end, of the year, the end of December. But I am going to share with you my top 10 all-time favorite Proven Winners annuals. Now, this is a very hard list, and if you press me super hard, then I probably could add another 10 to this list because there is no doubt, there is no question that I do adore the Proven Winners annuals. We have grown them here for many years at Creekside Nursery. I have used them in the gardens at the house, and I have used them in the gardens at the Garden Center. And they are just absolute Rockstar plants. And these top 10, I will have them somewhere in my gardens every single year.

Now, this is not in order of like, you know, number 10 to number one. I just, as I was thinking of them, I wrote them down. So without further ado, here we go. Because I'm going to pause for a moment. Sidebar, it is December. But before we know it, the spring gardening season is going to be upon us. And I am all about let's start thinking about and dreaming and planning of those warmer days. Clearly, I am quite chilly here. I've got my gloves. I've got my down coat. I have got multiple layers on. And I am already starting to kind of pine for warmer days where we can be out in the garden planting these plants.

So, all right, here we go. I absolutely adore the Color Blaze coleus from Proven Winners. It is no secret that these are great annuals because they can do sun or shade. But if I had to choose which would be my probably my favorite, this is the one I go to the absolute most, would be the Color Blaze Wicked Witch. This is a relatively new one on the market. And when I say relatively new, within the past probably four years, this is just an amazing coleus that has such beautiful color to it. It's almost, it's very, very deep. I don't know if you would call it a deep kind of a chocolate purple, and if that's even a color. But with a chartreuse edges on it and has a little bit of a ruffle to it. You remember this summer, I planted it at the end of the Privacy Berm on the house side. I planted it in mass, and it was beyond gorgeous. It clearly loved where it was because by the end of the season, it was nearly as tall as I am. It was every bit of 4 feet. Color Blaze Wicked Witch is very versatile because it does do the sun. It does do the shade. Mine at the berm got full sun until probably about 3:00 in the afternoon, and then it went the shade. I do think that helps hold and retain that color a little bit, but it does do the sun or the shade conditions. And then just is such a beautiful classic look to it that a lot of other colors of annuals or shrubs, perennials, will play off very nicely of it. So, if I had to choose one favorite coleus, it would be the Color Blaze Wicked Witch.

And then I adore the Rockin' series Salvia. These are just Rockstar performers. They bloom their heads off from the moment you put them in the ground till the time that the freeze finishes them off. For me, that is November. They are huge pollinator attractors, and the hummingbirds love them. They come in four different colors. But again, if I had to choose one, I would probably do the Rockin' Blue Suede Shoes because it has a true blue flower to it. And a lot of times with annuals in your garden, it is hard to get a true blue flower. This has a beautiful really kind of a, I don't even know how you would describe the bloom on it, but it is nice and open so that your pollinators can get in there. And the hummingbirds, my gosh, y'all, the hummingbirds love the Rockin' Blue Suede Shoes, even though it is blue, they adore it and come to it.

Now, this will get to be a nice size in your garden. It will get to have a nice substantial presence in the garden. So, if you're going to use it in a container, it is definitely going to be the thriller in your container. I would recommend that you put this in a large container because this plant gets quite large by the end of the season. Plant it as a specimen plant in your garden. So, you just plant one of them and then put some lower things around it or plant it in mass. When I say mass, I mean basically three or more of them together, especially if you have a big wide-open area, planting the same plant in large numbers really draws your eye to that area and makes a really nice impression in the garden. Of course, the Rock and Blue Suede Shoes, it, the pests do not like it. So, for me, my number one question is, do Japanese beetles like it? No, they do not. Score. Is it plagued by aphids? I have never had any issue of mine having aphids in the garden. Nothing chews on the plant because it is a Salvia, and so they tend to be more naturally resistant to pests and critters chewing on it because it is in that minty family and has a nice herbaceous mint smell to it when you crush the leaves. So, Rockin' Blue Suede Shoes is my favorite Salvia from Proven Winners in the annual category, especially for those full sun gardens.

Oh my gosh, you've got to have some Rockin' Blue Suede Shoes. Classic summertime annual, sunflowers. The problem, though, with sunflowers is they bloom once and then they are done. Well, Proven Winners a couple of years ago saw that problem with the Suncredible sunflower. This is a continuous reblooming sunflower. Obviously, it loves the sun, right? Because it is a sunflower, it loves the sun. And for us in North Carolina, in Zone 8A, by the end of the season, it is easily a 3 to 4 foot by 3 to 4 foot. So, it is this beautiful mounded shrub. It looks like a shrub. Of course, it's an annual, but it looks like a shrub because of the size of it and absolutely covered in these classic sunflower petals, right? And flowers. I can't even talk. I'm just so excited about it. I'm just dreaming of it again. So, it's just covered in these sunflowers. Now, they are going to be a little bit smaller than maybe you think of like a single star-shaped sunflower. The flower part of them is a little bit smaller. But it does not matter because there are literally going to be hundreds throughout the season on one plant. Great thing too about the Suncredible sunflower is that it does bloom from the time you put it in the ground till the time that the freeze comes. And they make great cut flowers. And the more you cut on this plant, the bushier, the thicker, and the more blooms you get. So, don't be afraid to cut on that Suncredible sunflower. This would be one that you're going to put in the back of your garden or the middle of your garden, depending if you have bigger shrubs in the back. Put this in the middle, again, in mass. It is phenomenal. We did not this summer but the summer before. Jerry wanted to do a mass planting of Suncredible sunflowers, and we did that. And it was spectacular. So, Suncredible sunflower, massive flower power. Of course, attracts the pollinators as well to your garden. So, I love this plant.

Here in the South, we have a very long growing season. And there, towards the end, it can get incredibly hot and incredibly humid. And it is no fun to be in the garden at the end of the summer when the heat and the humidity are cranking. However, the Luscious Lantana absolutely thrives in these conditions. Lantana is a great annual for us in the South. It is a rock star in the garden that requires very little maintenance, if any, from me as the gardener. My probably my favorite would be the Luscious Citron. Luscious Citron is a beautiful, nice, softer yellow. So, it can easily work with other colors in your garden. It is not too bright, is not too harsh. Citron has, I just can't describe it, is a nice soft buttery yellow. And it pairs, whether you want to use blues or pinks or whites with it, very adaptable. But of course, that Luscious Citron will go all the way through the fall for us and is just a great plant. You can use it in a container. I like to do it in mass planting in the landscape because it makes a nice pop of color. I adore having my hummingbirds. I call them my Hummers. The Hummers have returned. I look forward to April every year when the Hummers return to our North Carolina garden. And I always have Vermillionaire waiting on them. Vermillionaire is, in my opinion, one of the number one annuals that you can put in your garden to attract and keep your hummingbirds. Vermillionaire is a very upright kind of has an arching habit to it. And it is absolutely covered in these bright orange tubular flowers. When you look at it, you think, well, gosh, that, you know, is not a big, it's not a big huge showy flower. The flowers themselves are relatively on the smaller side. That does not matter because the hummingbirds see in this like UV color, and that orange is absolutely electric to them and draws them to the plant. I tell people when, the kids were little, we had an above-ground pool. And I still had containers around the pool. And I would always have Vermillionaire, and at least one pot around the pool. Those hummingbirds would bypass my hummingbird feeder, go to the Vermillionaire plant that was right on the edge of the pool with three crazy kids splashing around in a pool. They could care less about those kids because they love this plant so much. It also attracts your bumblebees and your honeybees a lot too. Vermillionaire is a classic. I will forever always have it in my garden because the hummingbirds and the pollinators absolutely adore this plant.

Now, you cannot talk about Proven Winners annuals without talking about a Supertunia. Proven Winners is known for their Supertunias, and I love a ton of them. There are a lot of them that I use religiously in my garden. But if I had to choose one, the one I always turn to, the one I will always be in my garden, is the Supertunia Mini Vista White. This is a rock star in my garden. I planted in mass at the patio. I have done that this year especially, and I will probably forever do it. I planted it right along the edges of the raised beds within the confines of the patio, and they just performed magnificently well. This is a pure white flower that really stands out, whether you use it in a hanging basket, whether you use it in a mixed container, or you're like me and you use it in the landscape. I like Supertunia Mini Vista White because it is more restrained in how it spreads. Now, does it spread and does it fill in and trail over? Absolutely. But it is not as vigorous, say, as Vista Snowdrift. Still a beautiful pure white, still trails over, but it's not as aggressive. So, if you have areas like me along in a tight spot in a flower bed or say along a sidewalk, then that Mini Vista White might be a great option for you. And again, of course, white it pairs with just about everything out there in your garden. So, I will always have Supertunia Mini Vista White. One that doesn't get a whole lot of recognition in the annual world is Cleome. Cleome is an old-timey plant. It's as, I say, it's a grandmother plant because your Grandmama probably had Cleome in her garden. I love Senorita Rosalita because this is a sterile, so no seeds, it will not spread, thornless, will not poke you, and it does not have quite the odor, the fragrance, which is a good thing when you're talking about Cleome in the garden that the traditional seed varieties have.

Senorita Rosalita is one of those that continuously blooms because it is sterile, it is continuously trying to produce something. So, it is producing flowers throughout the entire growing season. Remember how I talked about that we had the Wicked Witch in the berm? I also had that Cleome in the berm also with the Wicked Witch. Senorita Rosalita, however, is a beautiful, nice pink. It is a soft pink. And it will get some nice height in your garden. I used it in The Cottage Garden two years ago and absolutely adored it. In fact, I was looking back at my pictures just today, and I was like, man, that is gorgeous. So, guess what's going to be in The Cottage Garden this coming year? Yep, Senorita Rosalita. Brings your height to your garden. It brings height to a container. Beautiful, continuous flowers again. Pests do not like it. Japanese beetles don't like it. Stay off of it, and it's just a really beautiful, attractive plant in the landscape and your containers.

Next, because we are in North Carolina, and we talk about the heat and the humidity of the South because that is what I am most concerned about, is the summertime heat. Not like the winter cold, blew my mind. Euphorbia Blue My Mind. Euphorbia Blue My Mind is, was the original Euphorbia with Proven Winners. They have now introduced the Blue My Mind XL, extra large because the plant's a little bit bigger, and your flowers are going to be a little bit bigger as well. So, go big or go home, right? So, we choose the XL. This is a beautiful plant. Again, has true blue flowers on it. Extremely drought-tolerant. And when I say it is drought-tolerant can you plant it in the spring? Watch it for the first, I would say, two weeks. Make sure it has adequate water. Then you can literally walk away from it for the rest of the summer, and I never have to put water on it. This is one of those plants that I use up at my mailbox, which is quite a far distance away from any source of water. So other than the rain that the good Lord gives it, it does not get watered by me, and it blooms and blooms and blooms and blooms until hard freeze.

Now, this is a nice low-growing, perfect ground cover annual that you can use in your garden. True blue flowers that open and close with the sun. So at night, first thing in the morning, they're going to be closed. They get some sun, and they open up and will stay open all day long. Love this plant.

Now, all of the annuals that I've listed so far are going to be for your full sun to part sun gardens. For shade, there are beautiful shade annuals that are available as well. There are two that I will always have in my shade gardens. The number one, and I can say this for sure, the number one is my favorite shade annual, is Endless Illumination Browallia. Endless Illumination Browallia is a nice mounded annual that does not need pruning. You don't have to trim it. You don't have to deadhead it. It does benefit from an occasional water-soluble fertilizer. And when I say occasional, if you can do it once a month, awesome. Now, if you can do it more than that, go for it. Sometimes this gardener just can't get her act together and be out there every week watering and fertilizing those annuals. But the Endless Illumination is very tough. And again, it does those beautiful flowers. I wouldn't say they're true blue. They're a little bit more on the purple side, like a star-shaped flower, a nice thick star-shaped flower to it. But when you have it in your shade garden mixed in with your hostas and your heucheras, maybe something that is a dark foliage like Evening Gown Heuchera, right? Have it mixed in with that, ferns, hellebores, all sorts of those great shade perennials, and maybe some other shade annuals that we love. This Endless Illumination just is a rock star. Like I said, nice mound-rounded habit to it that blooms continuously again from spring all the way till November. Adore this plant. We'll always have it in my shade garden.

And then one other one that is perfect for the shade garden are the Rockapulco Impatiens. Now, the Rockapulco series, there's quite a plethora of colors in this series. Now, probably my all-time favorite is going to be Coral Reef. And again, I had a hard time saying that Coral Reef is my favorite color. But when I am thinking about a shade garden, Rockapulco Coral Reef, with its really bright, bright flowers, stands out in that shade garden. And it pairs perfectly with Endless Illumination. You have that blue and then that really kind of that hot pink coral color, stunning. When people see the Rockapulco Impatiens for the very first time, especially if it's in a container, what we call a monoculture, where there's more than one plant in a container, but it's just that same, like maybe there's three Rockapulco Coral Reefs in one container, makes a huge impact. People would think that they're almost like miniature roses, like little tea roses. They're not. They are impatiens. Great thing about impatiens is they don't like fertilizer. Maybe you fertilize it twice during the season or three times during the season. You can give them that Proven Winners continuous release fertilizer, and they are good to go. So they are not fertilizer hogs. So you're not going to be out there maintaining them a lot. If you need to prune them, you can. They can handle being pruned very well. But I have found that once I get them in the landscape, I really do not have to touch them. A great benefit, though, too, about they respond to being pruned. Is if you have small children or maybe you have teenagers or maybe you have a dog, maybe you have, who knows, life, right? And those plants get broken, don't worry, they will bounce back. It'll take a little bit of time, but they will come back nice and strong and sturdy and thick, and they will be gorgeous. And I would say that goes across the board for all of these annuals is that they can take a licking and keep on ticking, and they will be just fine.

So go ahead and start making those wish lists. Of course, at Gardening with Creekside, our website, we are taking pre-orders. So you can go ahead. If some of these interest you and you want to go ahead and do your pre-order so that way you can make sure that you get them for your garden for next year, we absolutely would love to help you and send some Creekside flowers your way. But these, again, my top 10 all-time favorite Proven Winners annuals. It is hard to decide, but these are ones that I can safely say I will probably every year have these 10 in my garden in some shape, fashion, or form because they are just the bones of my annual garden, my annual flowers in all of the gardens that we have here at Creekside Nursery. I hope you found this fun and informative and inspirational. Spring is going to be here before we know it, y'all. We're gonna be—I will be thinking, "Oh my gosh, how in the world did I stand there in a turtleneck and a sweater and a down coat and gloves?" I'm, like, so hot right now. That's going to happen before we know it. But for right now, we are enjoying this cool December weather, looking forward to an amazing 2024 season. Y'all have a great day. We'll see you in the next video. Bye, friends. And I adore using it in the garden because it is a rock star.