On Gardening: Truffula Pink gomphrena is even better than we thought


Truffula Pink gomphrena has already been hotter than the proverbial $2 pistol, but The Garden Guy is here to tell you it is even better than we thought. It has been the champion of all butterfly plants at my house and if your peak butterfly season is September/October and you find them for sale, BUY THEM!

It was just a couple of days ago I was watching swallowtails hitting on a clump of mine and as I was about to photograph two feeding close together two more flew in kind of like a pollinator photo bomb. It was really a magical moment and it is repeating again as I write this.

It’s not just swallowtails, but American ladies, silver-spotted skippers, common buckeyes and regular hummingbird visits too. The pollinators alone would make you want to grow it, but shoot, it is beautiful and one of the toughest, most persevering plans you can grow. Believe me when I say when the heat is on, this is a must have plant.

It is better than we thought for another reason. I live in zone 8a and not far from the 7b demarcation line. So first know, we are all growing this as an annual, but mine came back this spring. When I told my color design guru son, he said Dad we are into year 3 at a couple of our locations. Do not count on this but should it happen for you, you will be thrilled at the second-year structure and habit.

Botanically speaking Truffula Pink is Gomphrena pulchella with DNA from Bolivia but coming to you, courtesy of Proven Winners. Each iridescent hot pink bloom looks as though it is exploding with little rays of yellow. It will reach a little over 2-feet tall with an equal spread in your garden.

Truffula Pink has won over a dozen prestigious awards in trials across the country. You will not only delight in its beauty and size but will relish the fact that it too is well-suited to cutting and using in the vase. It can also be used as a dried flower.

Truffula Pink needs full sun and fertile well-drained soil to really perform to its capability. Letting these great plants sit in wet soggy soil will be a crime. You will want to space your plants 20-36 inches apart and apply a good layer of mulch after planting. It is a great plant for mass planting.

The Garden Guy has them in containers as the thriller plant and partnered with Whirlwind Blue scaevola, Superbells Double Blue calibrachoa and Goldilocks lysimachia. In the landscape I have it in several combinations, some with Illusion Emerald Lace ornamental sweet potatoes, others with Luscious Royale Cosmo lantana and some with Sunstar pentas.

In addition to the Illusion Emerald Lace ornamental sweet potato, know that all other plants with lime green or chartreuse colored foliage seem to light up the Tuffula Pink. ColorBlaze Lime Time coleus, Gold Mound duranta and Rockin Golden Delicious pineapple sage would all be great choices.

Throughout my garden Rockin salvias are used as the taller background for all of my plantings. So, whether they are Deep Purple, Blue Suede Shoes or Fuchsia they create a perfect partnership with Truffula Pink. By all means don’t forget about lavender-blue Meteor Showers verbena that also gets about the same height.

Whether you buy now in late summer for the late butterfly push, or choose to wait until next spring, The Garden Guy recommends you buy several. Truffula Pink will add that needed sizzle to the landscape and be a wonderful thriller plant in mixed containers.

(Norman Winter, horticulturist, garden speaker and author of, “Tough-as-Nails Flowers for the South” and “Captivating Combinations: Color and Style in the Garden.” Follow him on Facebook @NormanWinterTheGardenGuy.)

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