Thursday, September 30, 2010

Plant of the week: Gomphrena 'Fireworks'

When you are a very avid gardener and visit nurseries a lot you begin to think you have seen it all. This is of course folly since unbeknownst to you horticulturist and breeders are working around the clock, around the globe to create new cultivars and varieties.  Last spring I visited my gardener/designer friend Dalia and her garden.  In the front garden bed near her driveway was a plant that struck me.  This plant has magenta orbs!  It had long flower stems that reminded me of Verbena bonariensis, all stems and flowers with little foliage. I am pretty familiar with the Gomphrenas available,  for years they were breed to be heat resistant small bedding plants with papery flowers.  Then there is Gomphrena 'Strawberry Fields' which is a bit taller  with long stems but G. 'Fireworks' blow G. 'Strawberry Fields' out of the water.  What was also exciting to know is that it is a perennial! Dalia cut the plant down to 6" and it came back beautifully. I tried to find a 4" to plant and trial but couldn't find one.  I discovered that it was from Ball horticulture and propagated by seed.  In the end I was patient and waited until this spring to buy one (four actually).  Now I am finding the plant in many nurseries.  In less than a month the plants went from gallon plants to what I now think is its ultimate height of 4'.  It really is a stunner, makes a great cut flower and dried flower.

Now the waiting begins for all those breeders to get other colors into this line.  I can't wait for a 4' tall G. 'Strawberry Fields'!

What do you think?

Here  I mixed G. 'Fireworks' and G. 'Strawberry Fields'

You can see the effect that only four plants can make


  1. Dustin, you blog! I overwintered that gomphrena, and mine is very wimpy compared to yours, but it's plain to see this plant has amazing potential. Maybe more sun for mine and a little more elbow room. Your front garden has filled in wonderfully, and the pennisetum and gomphrena were made for each other.

  2. You inspired me to blog. No idea if you are getting this message. My friend Dalia overwintered hers fine, and she cut in down down hard. i think full sun is key. This winter will be the test, it's supposed to be cold.