Height, texture, bloom time and color are some of the traits you want to consider when selecting new plants to include in your garden. Color is probably the first attribute I look for in my never-ending quest, with texture coming in a close second. Together with University of Minnesota Master Gardener, Ken Rothman, I have created a list of 10 orange plants you might want to try in next year's garden. Orange garden plants can light up shady spots and create an eye catching POP in an ornamental plan.
Tomatoes: There are a number of orange skinned tomatoes. Typically these varieties are less acidic than red tomatoes, and are often sweeter. "Sunny Goliath", "Carolina Gold", "Golden Fresh Salsa", "Amana Orange", and "Caro Rich" are just a few of the orange varieties available through the Totally Tomatoes Catalog.
Azalea: Mandarin Lights: A hardy (zone 3) deciduous azalea, Mandarin lights is covered in deep orange flowers in spring before it leafs out. It has a tall upright habit and good fall color (purple). It requires a well-drained, highly acidic and organic soil; use plenty of peat moss when planting.
Trumpet Creeper: (Campsis grandiflora) This Trumpet Vine is a vigorous growing, low maintenance climber with the ability to cling to walls with its root like tendrils. It produces brightly colored 2-3" trumpet shaped flowers from mid-summer into early fall.
Calibrichoa: Otherwise known as "million bells", Calibrichoa has been compared to a Petunia on steroids. Plant in full sun as an edging plant or hanging in a container. Orange varieties include "Terra Cotta", "Tangerine", "Dreamsicle" and "Tequila Sunrise", to name a few.
Asclepias Tuberosa: AKA butterfly weed is a native herbaceous perennial that is drought tolerant and attracts birds, bees and butterflies. It blooms from mid-late summer, and forms attractive pods in the fall.
Gaillardia: Hardy to zone 3, "Blanket Flower" comes in a variety of orange shades. This perennial flower blooms repeatedly from mid-summer through fall.
Sugar Maples: Have the quintessential orange fall foliage. Look for available varieties at your local garden center.
Canna lily: "Pretoria" is a clear orange canna lily with variegated green and yellow striped foliage. Canna grows from tubers that are planted once the ground has warmed in the spring and lifted before the ground freezes in the fall. They bloom from mid-summer to fall.
Huecherella: "Sweet Tea" has colorful foliage varying from orange to cinnamon brown. Huecherella prefer part shade, and bloom in late spring- early summer.
Mimulus: Monkey flower is an annual that ranges from light apricot to deep coral. An early bloomer, mimulus prefers light shade. It attracts bees, birds and butterflies and is quite tall, growing 24-36".
To find more orange plants for your ornamental garden, try out the Plant Selection Tool on the Sustainable Urban Landscape Information Series Website: http://www.sustland.umn.edu/plant/. This online tool offers a variety of suggestions for your mixed landscape.