Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Try Something New

Day 203
The Daily DuBrule

Every spring I make it a point to bring home some annuals for the containers on my deck that I have never grown before. It is a fun exercise. How can you go wrong? This is not a long term commitment, it is a season-long stint where you plant, water, feed, and pinch and then, at the end, decide if it was worth it. Sometimes you meet a fabulous new plant that you will grow for many years to come. Other times you realize it wasn't worth it or you just don't like that plant enough to bother. The longer you garden, the easier it is to admit stuff like that.
This spring I fell in love with dwarf ornamental black cotton (Gossypium heraceum 'Nigra'). The leaf was just such a deep, dark color and the veins were so pink. I had no idea what it would do but I had to have it. I combined it in a pot with another newbie, Dianthera 'Pretty in Pink'. I like her too, but that's a different story.

My black cotton was really slow to take off. Perhaps it had something to do with the vigor of it's third companion in this great big pot, Gomphrena 'Fireworks', a most vigorous and wondrous annual. It is now early September and my black cotton plant is simply stunning. The flowers unfold a bright pink which exactly matches the veins in the foliage. The literature says that the flowers form pods, actually cotton bolls, which will open to fluffy cotton. That would be way cool. It hasn't happened yet. I don't care. This plant is really striking and now I understand it. Next year I will pair it with completely different and much slower growing plants. I am already dreaming of what they will be. That's what makes what I do so creative and so much fun. 


  1. It's such a beautiful plant. I've tried it before without a huge amount of success but I might just give it a whirl again next summer

    1. Deanne, It seems really slow growing. I have it in full afternoon sun, dappled shade from a wisteria arbor above before that. Used a really rich organic potting soil and fed with Pro Gro 3 or 4 times during the summer. Doesn't ever wilt so I think I might take a bit less water than most plants...Nancy