Tips from Tours: Orange Annuals Add Oomph!

Second of five posts.

It’s garden tour time, and I’ve been on five wonderful tours so far, with a couple of more on the docket. I love garden tours, both for finding beautiful gardens to feature in Northern Gardener and for finding tips and ideas to use in my own garden. This week, the Notes from Northern Gardener blog will include five tips picked up on recent tours. Here’s No. 2:

Orange Annuals Add Oomph!

I’ve written before about how orange annuals can make a garden pop, and it’s something Eric Johnson, one of our Northern Gardener columnists, promotes as well. This year, I’ve noticed orange annuals all over the place, particularly during the Tangletown Garden and Art Tour, which I attended Saturday.

This year, the orange is a mellower shade, maybe closer to the red end of orange than the yellow and a bit muted. The orange appeared in tropicals, coleus, calibrachoa and many other plants. Here are three of the orange options I saw. Do you have any favorites?

container with orange annuals

Canna, coleus, elephant ears and sweet potato vine make this a wowsa container.

This was one of my favorite containers featuring orange annuals on the tour. The orange coleus peeking out from the bottom of the container echoes the colore of the canna flower on top. The deep purples of the tropical plants complement the orange plants and that bright chartreuse sweet potato vine at the bottom of the container just puts a period on the whole statement.

If you look carefully, you can see there is another orange flower in the arrangement. I believe this is candy corn plant (though I’m not positive). It has a tiny orange bloom that looks a bit like candy corn. If you can identify the plant, let me know.

Below is another favorite container from the same property. That beautiful pinky-orange section of the coleus just brightens up the entire window box, which is filled with big foliage. What a great accent to the deep color of the house!window box with foliage plants

orange flowers in white containerOne more orange favorite: Don’t you love the way the orange in the calibrachoa sparkles amid the greens and purples of the other plants in the combination? This container sits at the front entry of a house in south Minneapolis. Talk about making a statement!

What is your favorite color for annuals this year?


  1. Nancy Alfton on August 9, 2018 at 8:39 pm

    I plant ten to twelve Tithonia plants every year…plus many come back from seeds….and plant red canna in front. Stunning color and huge bee and butterfly magnets

    • Mary Lahr Schier on August 9, 2018 at 9:28 pm

      Sounds gorgeous!

  2. Mary Cisar on August 10, 2018 at 12:55 am

    I love orange, Mary, and this year planted Profusion Orange zinnias, orangy-salmon moss roses, and similar color verbena on our corner, with one other thing I can’t remember the name of but also orange (and yellow) , plus a dark reddish-purplish spikey thing. I love the zinnias and moss roses especially, so full of flowers, really makes a nice statement, I think!

    • Mary Lahr Schier on August 10, 2018 at 2:46 pm

      Profusion zinnias are the best! Thanks for commenting, Mary!

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