Last week, The Garden Guy tried to distract himself from the impending doom of an Arctic blast with tiny Mele Kalikimaka in Hawaii. i know i failed. If you are a gardener, you are in pain.
I, too, was leaning towards a mood of dark hysteria brought on by five days of temperatures between 11 and 17 degrees. Then Lifeline arrived in the mail. We just received his new Spring 2023 preview catalog from Proven Winners. On page 14 are the new 2023 Proven Accent Plants, one of which, Waikiki Sunset, took me back to Hawaii.
Even though the toast is burnt, the color comes back. If you’ve never grown Waikiki Sunset, know that it’s a mood-altering, uplifting plant kingdom. Waikiki Sunset offers views of the Bright Side. But before we explain why, let’s get down to the botany or taxonomy of this treasure.
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Botanically known as Lysimachia congestiflora, Waikiki Sunset is recognized as the common name for the dense loosestrife, deciduous tree, and sometimes the Golden Globe. None of the generic names do the plant justice. Waikiki Sunset, on the other hand, fits perfectly.
In the “Golden Globe” zone
As you may have noticed, this is related to the Goldilocks Creeping Jenny, which is Lysimachia nummularia. Goldilocks is strong in Zone 3, while Waikiki His Sunset is strong in Zone 7 (although some tout Zone 6).
Goldilocks can travel through the garden, cascading over 24 inches along the edges of containers and baskets. Waikiki Sunset is not very expansive and tall, reaching about 10 inches. But at Waikiki Sunset, the green-and-gold variegated foliage and gorgeous golden globular flowers that adorn the rusty red center and throat continue both off and on for most of the summer.
I grew them between rocks on a paving patio with blue scaevola and was delighted.My son James used them with blue lobelia for a dazzling container. A natural choice. But I want you to look at the Bright Side I mentioned earlier. This is a proven winner’s recipe as colorful as Rio’s carnival.
walk on the bright side
Bright Side’s recipe is so simple that I think we must all be guilty of trying too hard when it comes to container partnerships. Punch Calibrachoa is available. You’ll notice the clusters of Golden Globe flowers certainly stand out, but the golden chartreuse and green variegated foliage add a special touch.
There are many in the industry who say this plant stands out in monoculture plantings. Proven winners add to this idea by pairing Waikiki Sunset with the new Graceful Grasses Queen Tutankhamun Did. This gives you a monoculture at the bottom and elegant tufts of greenery towering above the plantings. Trust me, this is drop dead gorgeous.
If you’re experimenting in landscape, amend tight, heavy soil with 3 to 4 inches of organic matter and work 6 to 8 inches deep with a shovel. As you’ve probably gathered by now, I advocate incorporating a little time-release fertilizer before planting. It is considered a sun-to-half-shade plant.
When planting Waikiki Sunset Lysimachia and other perennials, be careful not to plant them too deep. Plant so that the top of the root ball is level with the surface of the soil. Space out 10-12 inches as the “Waikiki Sunset” extends.
Water to allow the plants to take root, but sparingly after that. A light application of a slow-release, balanced fertilizer one month after transplanting is all it takes to get vigorous growth. Commercial landscapers growing in mixed containers tend to use a controlled-release granular fertilizer prior to planting, followed by a diluted liquid feed for the rest of the summer.
It won’t last long and this record-breaking cold snap will be thankfully forgotten. Use this downtime to create plants for your list and start thinking of combos and recipes like ‘Bright Side’ that you might want to try.
Norman Winter is a gardener. He is the former director of the Coastal Georgia Botanical Garden. Follow him on his Facebook for Norman Winter “The Garden Guy”. See his other columns by Norman at SavannahNow.com/lifestyle/home-garden/.