On Gardening: Catalina Pink Classic City Award Winner

Norman Winter, Tribune News Service on

Published in Lifestyles

The University of Georgia just announced their Classic City Award winners from their plant trial program, and I was beyond thrilled to see that Catalina Pink torenia, or wishbone flower, was one of the selections.

Guess what? It was a winner at The Garden Guy’s home trial too.

I’ve been writing these columns for about 26 years and I don’t think I have ever written about torenia in all of that time. This year, two varieties caught my eye and made me think, "What have I been missing?"

A Classic City Award is quite an honor for Catalina Pink, which will be making its debut in 2024 as a new and improved selection.

In university trials, giving each plant the proper light is often a challenge, especially for those that thrive in a shadier or filtered light environment. At my house, I am growing mine in hanging baskets hooked onto tree limbs.

It is furthermore a challenge to photograph and do it justice, especially with regard to pollinators that might visit.


This is one of the most pleasing aspects I see with Catalina Pink. The hummingbirds make frequent visits to the large lavender-rose pink blooms. But you will have to take my word for it, because even with my 500mm lens I have been unable to document what I am seeing.

It has been thrilling to see bees of all sorts that have actually crawled or flown in the trumpet-shaped flowers as if they were in some state of nectar and pollen bliss. I swear, it seems as if the flower parts are hugging the pollinators as if a sign of welcome.

Butterflies have started to visit, too, as if the eastern tiger swallowtails have duly noted that they have placed the wishbone flowers on the menu along with lantana, verbena and salvia.

The Catalina Pink is suggested to reach 8-12 inches tall with an equal spread. I think I have reached a little more spread in a hanging basket, which just makes it even prettier.


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