Guest Author - Connie Krochmal
Those who love succulents are in luck this growing season for quite a few new varieties of wonderful plants will be available. These include both tender ones that are grown as indoor plants as well as new varieties that are hardy in some areas of the country. Here is a sampling of some new varieties this garden season.
Ascot Rainbow Euphorbia
Initially introduced in 2010, this new variety is really catching on. This has to be one of my favorite new perennials. It is one of the cushion spurges. Some report that it has overwintered well in zone five. However, most sources consider it to be reliably hardy to zone seven or so.
Ascot Rainbow is over 1˝ feet tall. This bushy, lush, vigorous plant is named for the rainbow of colors displayed on the foliage. The older leaves are green with wide bands of yellow along the edges. The new foliage is flushed with red, pink, and orange, especially during colder weather. The variegated floral bracts, which are a colorful mix of red, greenish-blue and cream, also bring addition color. They make their appearance during the late spring. The blooms open in large clusters.
The name in no way reflects on the plant’s appearance for it is named for the man who originally discovered it in Mexico and introduced it to the U.S. This was originally a form of Agave x leopoldii.
Hardy to zone eight, Hammertime is a very small, low growing variety that is less than a foot tall. However, when mature it can have a spread of 1˝ feet. This is noted for the distinctive, slender, green foliage with bright cream colored margins.
Rather than occurring in a neat rosette, the leaves of Hammertime seem to radiate from all angles so they give the plant a spiky appearance. The other remarkable features of this plant include the long strings or hair-like structures, which give the plant a rich texture. These curling strands are referred to as filifers. This plant would be great as a garden accent