We commonly celebrate major events with the "snap, crackle, pop" of fireworks - namely momentous occasions like New Year's or Independence Day, which here in the U.S. falls on July 4. But you don't have to wait for these celebrations to enjoy the sparkling light shows. As nature would have it, you can actually create your own fireworks display in the garden for season long enjoyment.
Whether found in the form of interesting foliage and flowers or in the name of specific plant cultivars, you can find the perfect celebratory addition to enhance your festive garden display. Ten plants that can add some "fireworks" in the landscape can be found below.
Alliums - One of the most popular plants that can give the impression of exploding fireworks comes from the unusual blooms found in allium plants. These easy-to-grow bulbs are in the onion family, and are also known as ornamental or flowering onions. Allium schubertii is a popular type or look for the Fireworks mix. You can also allow some of your traditional onion bulbs to bolt (bloom) too.
Hosta 'Fireworks' - You'll find that a number of hosta varieties work well in a Fourth of July garden, especially for those shadier areas. Most common is 'Fireworks,' but there are others to include, maybe even all of them, such as 'Patriot' hosta, 'Loyalist' or even the 'Liberty' cultivar.
Firecracker plant - Also known as cigar plant (Cuphea ignea), it's easy to see how this attractive specimen earned its moniker "firecracker," as it produces fiery, bright reddish-orange, tubular flowers. If you have a spot for it, the firecracker plant will definitely shine in your garden.
Rosa 'Fourth of July' - This beautiful climbing rose provides an explosive pop of vertical color with its sweetly scented red and white striped blooms. Grow alongside some blue flowers for a dramatic patriotic garden scheme.
Cleome hassleriana 'Sparkler Blush' - If you've never grown Cleome spider flowers in the garden, then now is the time to start. This dwarf variety produces attractive spidery blooms throughout the summer in various shades that will no doubt add to that overall "sparkling element" you're looking to achieve.
Pennisetum 'Cherry Sparkler' - This fountain grass plant is a great choice for anyone wanting some extra "flare" in the garden. Its foliage starts out with variegated green and white stripes, but as it matures and the weather warms, the blades become blushed with pink or red tones. The purplish, foxtail-like plumes are another bonus of this prized ornamental grass. Other popping cultivars include 'Fireworks' and 'Skyrocket.'
Impatiens walleriana 'Sparkler Rose' - Like hosta, impatiens plants make great additions to help brighten dull shady spots, and this particular double flowering impatiens will add an extra sparkle to the garden with its abundant colors. As a bonus, the attractive rose-like blooms also attract butterflies and hummingbirds.
Carex phyllocephala 'Sparkler' - Looking for a little sparkle in your woodland garden or other moist, shady bed? Many people overlook the ornamental appeal found in sedge plants but some, like this fun evergreen variety, can provide drama just where it's needed with whorls of appealing green and white-striped foliage. 'Spark Plug' is a dwarf version of this palm sedge if you're lacking in space.
Solidago rugosa 'Fireworks' - We all know how low maintenance this native plant is. In fact, that's one of the reasons so many of us love growing goldenrod in the garden, especially since it blooms when most others are fading out. The 'Fireworks' cultivar creates an "explosion" of color with arching spires of bright golden-yellow blooms.
Gomphrena 'Fireworks' - This globe amaranth produces massive flower displays that look just like tiny fireworks explosions with tufts of deep, long-lasting colors - hot iridescent pink tipped with bright yellow.
Of course, these are just a sampling of what's out there. Many plants can be found with sizzling names or explosive looking appeal. In addition to these, you can add nearly any flower within the aster family, or similar looking plant varieties having petals reminiscent of exploding fireworks, such as chrysanthemums, zinnias, coneflowers or even dahlias.
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Nikki Tilley has been gardening for nearly three decades. The former Senior Editor and Archivist of Gardening Know How, Nikki has also authored six gardening books.
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