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Polk County Master Gardeners

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach in Polk County

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2023 Feautured Plants at the Discovery garden 

This year Discovery Garden features plants that are underused. We aim to assist our gardening friends in their quest for plant knowledge.  These plants are highlighted with green and yellow “Discover'' signs and you will find them located throught the garden.  

Fushia Santa Claus

 Located in Bed U (South of the native bed).  This Fuchia has an upright shrub habit and is grown as an annual here in Iowa.  It favors partial or dappled shade and attracts butterflies and hummingbirds.


Located in bed S (berm bed in the center of the garden) Evolvulus is a member of the morning glory family. Its growth habit is similar to a ground cover plant; it has gray/green foliage and lovely blue flowers.  This is very heat and drought tolerant choice and loves hot dry spots.  The flowers do close up many times in the afternoon.  


Located in Bed E/F (Surrounding the Pond) This Proven Winner ® plant is sometimes called a bush violet and blooms profusely through the season.  It is a heat tolerant, mounded plant that needs no deadheading.  Plant in shade to part shade in containers, beds and landscapes.  Browallia comes in blue, purple and white and will be your new friend in a shady situation. 

Live Wire Fiberoptic Grass

This grass can be found in Bed Z (east side of the garden). Add a “groovy” retro-touch with this fun plant that resembles a living version of the fiber optic lamps that were so popular during the 1960’s and ‘70’s. Fine hair-like leaves tipped with small white flowers form a rounded burst of foliage. Provides great texture in the garden or in patio pots.  Plant in part shade areas. 


 Vinca can be found in Bed O. It is a tropical perennial grown in our area as an annual.  If you love the look of impatiens but need a carefree flowering annual that thrives in full sun, annual vinca is a great choice.  Vinca loves full intense sun and is very heat tolerant.  It is one of the last plants you want to put outside in the spring as it will not tolerate any cold temps. Vinca comes in an upright and trailing version.  Other areas in the garden that have vinca are:  A new variety called Blockbuster Blue is located in bed E/F, bed Z.  Other varieties can be found in Bed O,  AAS Bed 

Chrocidile Geranium

Located in the Children's Bed J (north of the children's tunnel) this geranium is a compact trailing variety that loves full sun. Its variegated foliage resembles the skin of an alligator. 

Mini Vista by Proven Winner ®

This varitey is located in Bed A (Raised Bed).  This vigorous mounding and trailing plant is perfect in the garden or container as a spiller plant.  Plant in sun to part sun for continuous bloom and or rebloom.  It is very heat tolerant and no deadheading is needed.  It attracts butterflies and hummingbirds. 


Located in Bed C (on the west side of the Ag Building), sometimes called the star flower plant, the penta is a great sun lover. It is very heat and drought tolerant.  This is probably one of the best pollinator plants around, attracting butterflies, hummingbirds and bees.  This plant is also located in bed R & bed Z in the Discovery Garden. 

Golden Shrimp Plant

This is a tropical plant grown in our area as an annual. It can be used in the garden or in a container and can be overwintered as a houseplant.  This is also sometimes called the lollipop plan.

Rockapulco Wisteria Double Impatiens

 This Proven Winner ® item is planted in a hanging basket located on the west end arbor.  Light up any shady area with masses of blooms that resemble miniature rosebuds; no deadheading necessary, blooms spring to frost.  This is a mounded type of plant.  Plant in shade to part shade.

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ISU Extension and Outreach, Polk County:
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