Yes, I confess — it’s March, and I still have Christmas decorations frozen in decorative urns flanking my back steps. It will take a good thaw to get them out, but it hasn’t stopped me from daydreaming about how I’ll fill the pots this summer. So grab your mug of cocoa or coffee, and let’s look at new Proven Winners plants billed as “thrilling container components.”

Summer snapdragons (angelonia) are cheerful, spiky flowers that require little care and thrive in sunny summer months. They’re unfazed by humidity or heat, plus new “Angelface Steel Blue Angelonia” doesn’t have to be deadheaded to keep blooming all season. This annual reaches 18 to 30 inches tall in full sun. Flowers are a soft, almost periwinkle shade of purple with speckled throats. Foliage is grape-scented. Consider it a “thriller” for your pots.

Lantana and euphorbia are my usual go-to “fillers” for containers, but “Truffula Gomphrena” — a new globe amaranth cultivar — has made my list of plants for this role. Long-lasting hot pink cotton ball-shaped flowers pop up on stems above feathery, bushy foliage and bloom all season long. Deadheading is not required, and stems have a long vase life. The annual is deer-resistant and thrives in heat and humidity. PW recommends planting gomphrena in large containers or in the landscape.

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“Rockin’ Fuchsia” is a new salvia in a “revolutionary” new color — intense fuchsia on black bracts. Typically, salvia comes in some shade of purple. The annual forms a 24- to 36- inch bushy clump and produces large flowers. Bees, butterflies and other pollinators are attracted to the color and deep throats.

Colorful and unusual coleus are my jam, and PW has introduced a flashy new cultivar for spring, “Torchlight” in the “ColorBlaze” series. This easy-to-grow annual features maroon, green and fuchsia foliage on well-branched plants. PW describes “Torchlight” as “robust” and capable of forming an impressive clump. Sun to shade tolerant, it can be grown in large containers as a thriller or filler, or massed in the garden for impact.

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Arts/Special Sections Editor

Special Sections Editor for the Courier

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