A Perfect Score award in a university plant trial is quite an honor and makes a real statement about performance. So consider when that same plant wins Perfect Score in a dozen states, spread across the country. Oklahoma State, University of Minnesota, Mississippi State, University of Tennessee and Iowa State to give you a sampling. Add on FlameProof Plant Award for the Dallas Arboretum and you realize we are talking about a tough plant. I don’t know how many plants can tout such a record, but Truffula Pink gomphrena has stood the test.
Even with a trophy case representative of a summer prizefighter, you would have to wonder if Truffula Pink could handle a summer as torrid as 2023. The Garden Guy started off the calendar year telling you Truffula Pink gomphrena was Proven Winners National Plant of the Year. At the time I mentioned it had won more than 50 awards. Well, you can run that total up to 81.
It has been the pollinator champion at my house for at least four years. The summer of 2023, however, will go down as a benchmark year. This year made me know without any equivocations it is the toughest flower you will ever grow and if you do it up right it will be the prettiest too!
By the time you read this, commercial plots I have been watching will be roaring past 150 days of what I would call full bloom. I say commercial plots but what I am referring to are large high-traffic beds at the entrance to a shopping and residential community.
It is a benchmark type year because it has been hotter and dryer than most of us have experienced. It has turned The Garden Guy into a real whiner. But the Truffula Pink gomphrena has outperformed any other commercial plantings in town.
The design of the beds also taught us all something that we knew along, but haven’t talked about it enough. If I get a complaint on Truffula Pink it is lodging. That means it falls over. Almost always this is associated with being a single plant that will be the tallest one in the bed or in the container. In other words, over time it becomes a wind sail.
In all of these beds, they were mass planted together and encircled by yellow gold/lantanas. The Truffula Pink plants gave structural support to each other in addition to the extra strength provided by the lantanas.
Another real shocker was the show. Truffula Pink blooms are borne on a see-through plant, of somewhat airy stems, and though the bloom color is an iridescent hot pink, one or two plants simply can’t dazzle enough for the car passengers to take notice in a competitive traffic situation. A couple of dozen plants in a full bloom display however, and on one of those searing triple digit temperature days, makes you look in astonishment and wish for something similar at your home.
Since Truffula Pink is such a butterfly magnet The Garden Guy will always want to incorporate it into habitat and cottage type garden designs. I will use taller plants like Rockin’ Playin’ the Blues salvia, and Meant to Bee agastaches not only as colorful partners but support for each other in the face of storms with rain and wind.
Truffula Pink gomphrena needs full sun and fertile well-drained soil to really perform to its capability. Letting these plants sit in wet soggy soil will be a crime. Plan on spacing your plants about 12 inches and add a layer of mulch. You can expect them to get two-feet tall and bloom until frost. I have never had the need to deadhead.
Truffula Pink is considered an annual and one worth ever penny. I garden in zone 8 and most years I will see a spring return on at least half of the plants. They are considered perennial in zone 9 and warmer. Those of you who like to cut flowers for the vase will find Truffula Pink a perfect and long-lasting addition.
(Norman Winter, horticulturist, garden speaker and author of “Tough-as-Nails Flowers for the South” and “Captivating Combinations: Color and Style in the Garden.” Follow him on Facebook @NormanWinterTheGardenGuy.)
(NOTE TO EDITORS: Norman Winter receives complimentary plants to review from the companies he covers.)
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