2016 Mississippi Medallion Plants
The Mississippi Medallion Program was established in 1996 by the Mississippi Nursery and Landscape Association (MNLA) to increase awareness of plant materials and to promote sales and production of ornamental plants in Mississippi. Compared to national campaigns such as All-America Selections and Perennial Plant of the Year, the Mississippi Medallion Program focuses on promoting plants that thrive in Mississippi’s climate to benefit both consumers and the green industry.
The Mississippi Medallion Selection Committee has identified five plants as Mississippi Medallion recipients in 2016. In an attempt to have plants from each of the product classes commonly sold in Mississippi garden centers, the committee has selected one each of: a woody ornamental, an herbaceous annual or perennial, a vegetable, an herb, and a fruit.
This publication presents the winning 2016 Mississippi Medallion Plants and is part of a series of publications that promote awareness of these plants.
Drift® Series Roses
Characteristic: flowering shrub
Drift is a series of landscape roses with a spreading habit. They grow to up to 3 feet tall and 4 feet across. They are insect- and disease-resistant and perform similarly to the Knock Out roses.
There are eight colors in the Drift series: Red, Pink, Apricot, Peach, White, Coral, Sweet, and Popcorn Drift. Any of the eight cultivars can be labeled and sold as Mississippi Medallion winners.
Serenita® Series Angelonia
Characteristic: warm-season annual
Serenita Angelonia has a more compact growth habit compared to its bigger cousin, Serena. It has the same ease of production, with fewer to no plant growth regulators (PGRs) required. They grow to 1 foot by 1 foot. They are tough, low-maintenance plants in the landscape or in containers. They are heat-, drought-, deer-, and rabbit-resistant.
There are six colors in the Serenita series: Serenita Lavender Pink, Sky Blue, Pink, Purple, Raspberry, and White. Any of the six cultivars can be labeled and sold as Mississippi Medallion winners.
Cherokee Purple Tomato
Solanum lycopersicum ‘Cherokee Purple’
Heirloom vegetables are all the rage in retail sales right now, especially heirloom tomatoes! Cherokee Purple tomato is a pre-1890 cultivar that ripens in 80 days. It bears a large, dusky pinkish-purple fruit. The flavor is described as a nice balance between sweet, savory, and acid.
The story is that Cherokee Purple had been in a Tennessee family’s garden for 100 years. The seeds were originally given to the family by the Cherokee. The seeds made their way into the Seed Savers Exchange in the early 1990s, and the rest is history!
Cherokee Purple receives lots of press and is widely known. Seeds of Change uses it as the image for its Save the Flavors program.
Rosemary is a woody-stemmed herb that usually grows to about 3 feet tall. It has needle-like leaves and purple or pink flowers. Rosemary is a very tough plant, but it does require good drainage and air circulation.
There are numerous cultivars available, including upright and trailing selections, and they can be sheared into topiaries for specialty markets. It is hardy throughout most of the state, but in USDA Zone 7, it should be grown in a container so winter protection can be provided. Alternatively, more cold-tolerant cultivars like Alcade, Bendenen Blue, Goodwin Creek, Miss Jessup’s Upright, and Russian River will likely survive the winter in the ground in northern Mississippi.
Any cultivar of rosemary can be labeled and sold as a Mississippi Medallion winner.
Vitis rotundifolia syn. Muscadinia rotundifolia
Characteristics: fruit; full-sun perennial; heat-tolerant edible
For gardeners—Muscadines are one of the easiest grape species to grow because they tolerate Gulf Coast weather conditions like high humidity and rainfall. Muscadines are disease-resistant and have few pests overall, making them a great moderate-maintenance fruit crop.
The plants grow in a vining habit and can be extremely vigorous. Annual pruning is necessary to keep the rampant growth in check and also to help with regular fruit bearing.
Consistent soil moisture is important for plant vigor and productivity. Supplemental water should be applied as needed throughout the growing season. Fertilizer application should be minimal, as too much will lead to excess vegetative growth.
Many muscadine cultivars require cross-pollination, so at least two different cultivars are needed for fruit set. Muscadine cultivars come in self-fertile and female types. Self-fertile cultivars can produce fruit all on their own, but a female cultivar requires a pollinizer vine (self-fertile) nearby.
Fruit color ranges from dark purple to bronze. Muscadines were first domesticated in North Carolina but are native as far north as southern Maryland and as far west as southwest Oklahoma. Depending on the cultivar, fruit size, shape, and seediness can vary, and the taste is always an adventure as flavors can be very different among cultivars.
With muscadines, you get delicious fruit in the late summer (August and September), and some cultivars like ‘Southern Home’ have desirable ornamental foliage. In the summer months, the foliage is light to deep green, and in the fall, the leaves turn yellow and red.
A list of muscadine cultivars is available in MSU Extension Publication 2290 Establishment and Production of Muscadine Grapes. As long as the plant is well-maintained, muscadine vines have a long lifespan that can provide years of enjoyment.
For growers—Substrate pH 6.0–6.5. Propagate using softwood cuttings; cuttings taken in late spring or early summer from the current season’s growth are typically most successful. The propagation medium should be well-drained and aerated, but it should hold adequate moisture so that cuttings do not dry out. Rooting is best in a light-textured soil or a good potting medium.
Use mist to apply moisture and maintain humidity. Frequent, short misting intervals are recommended for best results. Keep cuttings partially shaded, and make sure they have adequate ventilation. After rooting occurs, add a dilute, complete liquid fertilizer weekly. Transplant into pots when vine rooting is adequate.
Any muscadine cultivar can be labeled and sold as a Mississippi Medallion winner.
The information given here is for educational purposes only. References to commercial products, trade names, or suppliers are made with the understanding that no endorsement is implied and that no discrimination against other products or suppliers is intended.
Publication 2996 (POD-12-16)
By Dr. Geoffrey C. Denny, Assistant Extension Professor, Plant and Soil Sciences; Dr. Gary R. Bachman, Associate Extension/Research Professor, Coastal Research and Extension Center; Dr. Shaun R. Broderick, Assistant Research/Extension Professor, Truck Crops Experiment Station; and Dr. Eric T. Stafne, Associate Extension/Research Professor, South Mississippi Branch Experiment Station.