Tiny flowers can have a big garden presence
Many of the garden center stars that draw the most attention are plants with big, flashy flowers. But there’s a group of plants that can have just as much landscape value: plants with tiny flowers.
These selections can be outstanding additions to your garden, and you should plant some this summer. Here are a few of my favorite plants with tiny flowers.
Known botanically as Buddleia, butterfly bush has flowers composed of sweetly fragrant panicles with loads of tiny blooms in various shades of white, blue, purple, pink, red and even yellow. The flowers are displayed on arching graceful stems. Butterflies, bees and hummingbirds love them.
Butterfly bush can be a rather large landscape plant with a loose growing habit that should never be contained by pruning. That is why I really like the selections with smaller statures.
My favorite may be Flutterby Petite Tutti Frutti Pink, which displays 7- to 8-inch panicles of fuchsia-red flowers, each with a lighter center. They are great to enjoy when grown in a sunny landscape -- truly a garden treasure to behold.
Plant butterfly bush in the full sun for best flowering. Growing it in the shade will reduce flowering, and the plant will become thin and leggy. Butterfly bush is tolerant of almost any soil type as long as it’s well drained.
Serena Angelonia is commonly called summer snapdragon, and it was selected a Mississippi Medallion winner in 2007. This plant has flower stalks that are really packed with tiny flowers, making it a welcome addition to any summer garden.
The Serena Angelonias come in four colors: blue, pink, violet and white. They’ll grow to 12 inches tall with a 12-inch spread.
Another fantastic Angelonia is the Serenita, which is a more dwarf and compact selection with deeper and much more vibrant colors. Serenita Pink was selected as an All-America Selection winner in 2014, and the entire series was chosen as Mississippi Medallion winners in 2016.
Vitex, a 2002 Mississippi Medallion winner, is one those plants that makes gardeners and non-gardeners alike stop and take notice. Its flowering period begins around Memorial Day on the Gulf Coast and soon afterwards in north Mississippi.
Vitex makes an outstanding small tree for the landscape. I think it looks best as a multistem tree. When unpruned, it will eventually grow 15 to 20 feet tall and wide. Grown in the shade, Vitex has a nice, open habit.
The flowers are called panicles, which are composed of many clusters of tiny, individual flowers.
I love the color of the beautiful flowering displays. Ranging from brilliant blue to blueish lavender, the panicles can take on the appearance of a hazy, yet fluorescent, cloud in the landscape. But the flower color is not limited to blues. There are some really pretty pink selections available, and I really like the white-flowered selections.
The foliage is sweetly aromatic, reminiscent of rose scents, and it is arranged on square stems in clusters of finger-like palmate leaves.
These flowers I’ve mentioned today may be tiny, but there’s strength in numbers that create landscape impact.