Louisiana Super Plant Selections for 2021

Jeb S. Fields

The Louisiana Super Plant program, which was established in 2009, is an education campaign of the LSU AgCenter that identifies superior plant material for Louisiana landscapes. The plants named as Louisiana Super Plants have gone through rigorous trials at multiple AgCenter locations across the state, as well as being approved by the Louisiana landscape and nursery industry.

So far, there are 56 selections in the program, including the following four new selections for 2021: Beacon impatiens, Suncredible Yellow sunflower, Muhly grass and Supertunia Mini Vista Indigo.

Beacon Impatiens

This plant is one of the top performers in trials at the Hammond Research Station in Hammond, Louisiana. It offers amazing warm-season color in shade gardens. Impatiens have long been a staple crop for shady Louisiana landscapes; however, with our high heat and humidity that extends throughout the night, some impatiens can develop mildew issues. Not the Beacons. They have mounds of color and pop in the shade without the disease issues. They come in a wide variety of flower colors and deep green foliage.

Suncredible Yellow Sunflower

This plant is another of the top performers for the past few years in the Hammond trials. Quite the opposite from Beacon, Suncredible Yellow sunflowers thrive in full sun and take the heat as well as any flower available. Excellent for pollinators, these indeterminate sunflowers steal the show with a mound of color. Unlike most other sunflowers, Suncredible keeps blooming and branching, providing color into fall.

Muhly Grass

The third Louisiana Super Plant for 2021 is a longtime landscape favorite and native grass — Muhlenbergia capillaris — commonly known as Muhly grass. This native plant is a workhorse in the landscape, thriving in many conditions and resisting almost anything it encounters. One of the few ornamental grasses grown for its flowers, Muhly grass blooms with lacy pink flowers in the fall when most other grasses are turning down for the year. Muhly grass does well in sun or part shade, handles wet and dry soils, and is just plain adaptable. Hardy throughout the state, Muhly grass can grow 3 to 4 feet tall and spread 3 to 4 feet wide, which can be enjoyed as a single specimen or planted in bunches. Muhly grass is low maintenance, has year-round landscape appeal, and is one of the most drought-tolerant grass species available.

Supertunia Mini Vista Indigo

Petunias are some of the best cool-season plants in Louisiana, and this year we have added Supertunia Mini Vista Indigo as a Louisiana Super Plant. Supertunia Vista Bubblegum is still one of the favorite cool-season Louisiana Super Plants and one of the best landscape petunias for Louisiana Landscapes; however, the Supertunia Mini Vistas bring some added excitement. The mini part of the name indicates smaller flowers, which add a unique look and feel to the landscape. The Indigo also brings a distinctive color, with individual flowers ranging from soft white to lavender to deep indigo. The extreme flower density and vigor ensures that these will be well received in any garden. Grown in full sun, these make an excellent addition for the cool season, providing color, texture and appeal from November through May. These also grow well in containers.

Jeb S. Fields is an assistant professor and extension specialist at the Hammond Research Station, Hammond, Louisiana.

(This article appears in the summer 2021 issue of Louisiana Agriculture.)

Flowers in the shade.

Beacon impatiens come in many different colors. Photo by Ashley R. Edwards

Flowers in pots.

Suncredible Yellow helianthus make excellent container plants. Photo by Ashley R. Edwards

Pink grassy plant.

Muhly grass provides featherlike flowers in the landscape. Photo by Ashley R. Edwards

Purple petunias.

Supertunia Mini Indigo has a unique display of colors in the same plant. Photo by Ashley R. Edwards

9/4/2021 4:06:36 PM
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