ArtisTree Plantopinions: Sunpatiens & Alyssum

ArtisTree Plantopinions

I was just curious if your ArtisTree Plantopinions experts have a personal favorite for white fall annuals here in the Sarasota area. We’re looking for something we can enjoy through March or so.”

– S.W, Siesta Key

We posed this homeowner’s question to five different ArtisTree Plantopinions experts, expecting five different answers. But guess what? Three said Sunpatiens and two said Alyssum. Their opinions are below.

(You can read more about these two admired specimens along with these two runners-up: white geraniums and begonias. All four do well in Southwest Florida’s fall.)

Joe Mantkowski, VP Landscape Design:

My vote is for Alyssum ‘Wonderland White’. It’s a small, white-flowering annual that only grows to be about six inches tall. Accentuates anything nearby with pretty green foliage and a large quantity of flowers produced (almost like baby’s breath). Makes a very nice border planting along a hardscape area and/or outer bed edge. I’ve used them in my own landscape around boulders paired with other annuals. They like full sun, are fragrant and will attract butterflies (and bees).”

Florida fall annuals
Sweet Alyssum captivates with tiny white flowers that look like they came out of a fairy tale.

Clinton Lak, Landscape Designer

You can’t go wrong with Sunpatiens. They’re actually a hybrid between New Guinea impatiens and wild impatiens and grow more prolifically than “regular impatiens.” Because their petals and leaves are thicker, they’re also more disease-resistant. If you’re looking for a fast grower that will cover a lot of space quickly, Sunpatiens are a great choice and do well in hot to cooler weather. I’ve always had great success with them.”

Chris Culp, Landscape Designer:

I really like the Sweet Alyssum. It’s a first-level border plant and has a showy white flower that covers the whole plant. It looks like snow. Has a nice fragrance to it as well. It’s a perfect choice to accompany larger annuals behind it; I’ve used it in many landscapes that way. Homeowners are always surprised at what a big impact these tiny flowers can make.”

Brian Clouser, Landscape Designer:

Sunpatiens have always been my favorite white annual for Sarasota’s fall season. They have lots of blooms and a very interesting ridged leaf texture. They tolerate a wide variety of sun/shade conditions and are able to withstand some heat, too. You can trim them to re-bloom when they get large.”

Sunpatiens is one of the few fall annuals that flowers less in full sun, says one ArtisTree Plantopinions expert.

Elisabeth Owen, Landscape Designer & Newest ArtisTree Plantopinions Expert:

White Sunpatiens are great because they are hardy, thrive in part sun or part shade, and are low and mounding. They’re one of the few specimens that flowers less in full sun. Regular watering is important to keep them looking their best. You have a nice wide variety of colors to choose from, so you can go all white or pair a couple of your favorite shades together.”

ArtisTree Plantopinions is a roundtable discussion between multiple ArtisTree experts on the virtues of Florida plant specimens. Sometimes there’s consensus and sometimes not. In the end, you are the judge.

ArtisTree Plantopinions
L to R: ArtisTree VP of Landscape Design Joe Mantkowski along with ArtisTree landscape designers Clinton Lak, Chris Culp, Brian Clouser and Elisabeth Owen.
ArtisTree Landscape

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Let ArtisTree help get your dream landscape off the ground. Contact Jenni Lassen at 941.488.8897, ext. 312, to schedule a meeting with one of our award-winning landscape designers.

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