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Monday, June 13, 2016 AnnualsContainer GardeningHibiscusMandevillaSummer

Shades of Summer: Decorate for the Season

I know this might sound a bit biased because I work for Costa Farms, but one of the greatest things about Costa Farms is the wealth of knowledge we have. Our tagline is that we're passionate about plants -- and it's true. One of the ways this knowledge and experience comes into play is our plant collections. 

Our Shades of Summer collection is a perfect example. It's a fabulous solution if you're looking for fun plants that will actually take the heat to decorate your favorite outdoor spaces (decks, patios, balconies, etc.). Our growers and gardening experts have pooled together their decades of experience to pick just the right plants for the collection -- the plants that truly hold up to the heat and will make you the envy of your friends and neighbors. 

This year, our Shades of Summer program is made of up of the following varieties:
Allamanda: A newcomer to the collection, this tropical shrub boasts a constant show of gorgeous golden-yellow, trumpet-shaped flowers. The blooms are a delightful accent to its silvery-green foliage. Though it is a shrub, our allamanda is super tidy and slow-growing, so you can use it on a tabletop as a centerpiece, in containers with other heat-loving flowers (try it with blue or purple angelonia for a show-stopping combination!), or planted around the edges of your patio as a fun summer annual. Allamanda likes sun and is drought tolerant. 

Caladium: Grown for its lovely leaves rather than blooms, caladium features fantastically variegated foliage in cool shades of pink and white. Easy-care and elegant, caladium is ideal if you don't want to attract bees, butterflies, or other insects to your outdoor space. Caladiums like shade and medium water (let the top inch of the potting mix dry before watering again).

Celosia: There are a lot of celosia varieties out there, but we're excited about those we've picked for this collection. They hold up to heat and drought like champs, don't mind humidity, and feature bold, eye-catching blooms. Plus, they dry well, so you can cut them and use them in dried-flower crafts! Celosia likes full sun and is drought tolerant. 

Curcuma: Also called tulip ginger, curcuma bears intricate flowers somewhat reminiscent of  tulip blooms. Happily, they last a lot longer! Some varieties have slightly fragrant blooms, but they're equally beautiful. The flowers come in shades of pink, purple, and white. Tropical curcuma loves part shade and medium water (add more moisture to the soil when the top inch of the soil dries). 

HeliconiaHeliconia: One of the most exotic members of the Shades of Summer collection, heliconia is a relative of bananas that has lush, tropical-looking leaves and spikes of flamboyant orange, yellow, red, or pink flowers. Taller than the plants in this family, it's ideal for setting around patio seating where you can enjoy the blooms up close. Heliconia likes part shade and medium water (water when the top inch of the potting mix dries).

Hibiscus: We use an exclusive selection of tropical hibiscus varieties in our Shades of Summer collection. Called HibisQs, these plants, like the allamanda, are small and mounding, so they won't get too big and outgrow their space. HibisQs varieties also have flowers that last an extra-long time -- so you can get even more enjoyment out of these beautiful tropical plants. Tropical hibiscus likes sun and needs regular watering. 

Mandevilla: For rich red flowers, you can't go wrong with our mounding mandevilla. This plant shows off trumpet-shaped ruby-red flowers that attract hummingbirds and shiny dark green foliage. A relative of allamanda, it looks gorgeous as a tabletop decoration, in clusters around a deck, or planted around the patio's perimeter. Don't forget about using mounding mandevilla in container gardens, too! Mandevilla likes sun and is drought tolerant. 

Pineapple Lily: Also called princess lily, this eye-catching plant features unusual spikes of pink, purple, or white flowers topped by a little cluster of leaves -- much like a pineapple decked out in a tropical shirt! Its cluster of leaves looks a bit like a bird's nest fern. Use pineapple lily to decorate side tables, or create an eye-catching display by clustering several pots together. Pineapple lily likes sun and regular watering. 

Pink Zazzle Globe Amaranth: A newer member of the Shades of Summer collection, Pink Zazzle globe amaranth features wild-looking hot pink flowers over hairy leaves. The star-like blooms dry right on the plant, but you can also cut them and use them in dried-flower crafts, such as wreaths or potpourri. The more you cut off the old flowers, the more new ones this striking plant produces. Pink Zazzle globe amaranth loves full sun and is drought tolerant.  

The Shades of Summer collection is shipping now to garden centers, home improvement centers, and mass merchandisers.

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