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Silver Falls dichondra wows flower growers
By Norman Winter
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center
Several plants caught the eyes of growers from Mississippi and surrounding states who toured the flower trials during the recent Mid-South Greenhouse Growers' Conference at the Truck Crops Branch Experiment Station near Crystal Springs.
Silver Falls dichondra was one such stunning plant that offers a most unique, silver foliage.
Over the next few years, Silver Falls dichondra is destined to become the coup de grace -- or as we say, the finishing touch -- to hanging baskets and containers. And yet it is still the perfect small groundcover. You will certainly want to look for it next spring.
For years designers have urged gardeners to choose plants that gently cascade over the rim of containers and baskets. While that is still important, the new look also includes those that simply reach the container's edge and then plummet toward the ground. The Silver Falls dichondra is a beautiful example of this new trend.
The word dichondra may initially cause a feeling of uneasiness, especially if you have battled a related lawn pest. But rest assured, Silver Falls will not become a nuisance. In fact, you will welcome with open arms this new plant from Ball Horticultural's Simply Beautiful line.
Silver Falls' silvery, shiny leaves and stems give a cool, soothing feeling to the full-sun porch, patio or deck where it is growing. Yet it is drought tolerant and tough enough to take the torrid Southern summer heat. This is one plant you can count on to be alive and performing in your landscape when you return from a summer vacation.
Silver Falls is perfect in mixed containers with the new Tidal Wave or Double Wave petunias, or Angel Mist angelonias.
Silver Falls is practically foolproof to grow. In a mixed container, choose a good, light, airy mix with good moisture- and nutrient-holding capacity.
There is no fuss or muss, insect or disease pressures are practically non-existent, and no pinching is required. Silver Falls recovers quickly if wilted. Silver Falls is an environmentally friendly plant that makes the grower look like a professional designer.
Silver Falls also offers great potential for a small groundcover. In our trials at the Truck Crops Branch Experiment Station, it was grown as such with hot pink petunias as a backdrop. When used as a groundcover, you will notice that it forms a dense mat that chokes out weeds.
Also try Silver Falls in front of colorful foliage like the Purple Knight althernanthera, or Mississippi Summer Sun coleus, one of last year's Mississippi Medallion award winners.
Whether you are choosing plants for mixed containers or for the landscape, select some with differing leaf and flower textures. Silver Falls will most assuredly give a unique and wonderful appearance all summer long.
Silver Falls and many more great new plants will be available for viewing at the Fall Flower and Garden Fest Oct. 17 and 18 at the Experiment Station in Crystal Springs. For more information on the festival, call (601) 892-3731.