Dan River Plants offers two kinds of plant varieties: Ornamental and Biorenewable.
The biorenewable plant is a grass called miscanthus. Miscanthus will serve as a green, renewable raw material for processing into biofuels and bioplastics. It is already growing on farmland in Southern Virginia and Central North Carolina.
The ornamental varieties include many beautiful plants. The most popular are the hellebore, lily & daylily, azalea, and poppy. Other plants include hostas, eucomis, begonia, mahonia, agapanthus, white forsythia, citronella, panicum and ferns. Dan River Plants is unique to this area and region, and perhaps even to this half of the United States. Dan River Plants researchers have already established protocols for plants that are more robust and more resistant to drought and pests, and continue to develop more of these. Dan River Plants has partnerships with poppy and hellebore growers that are leaders in their particular niche markets. By cloning the biofeedstock miscanthus, Dan River Plants creates a direct pipeline for farmers interested in innovative agriculture that can help us all progress toward more sustainable resources. Dan River Plants serves as a vital and innovative link between science and commerce.
Renewable energy and locally harvested biofuel crops are the necessary and recognized next step toward energy independence. Dan River Plant's Miscanthus is an excellent feedstock for biofuel reactors. Compared to other typical candidates for biofuel, our Miscanthus produces more overall biomass with less input. Indeed, Miscanthus has been shown to produce nearly 4 times the amount of oil per acre as corn!
Hellebores are decorative perennials, highly valued for their winter/early spring flowering period. These evergreen plants are unusually frost resistant – a splash of color against a snowy backdrop. The "petals" of the Hellebores are actually brightly colored, modified sepals. Unlike flower petals, the colored sepals may remain on the plant for months at a time. Hellebores prefer light sun and well-drained soil, working especially well as a shady herbaceous border or perhaps filling an area under a tree.
The daylily has been cultivated for thousands of years and is one of the most adaptable landscape plants on the market. It's able to tolerate temperatures in zones 1-11. The 20 common species of daylily have been hybridized to form more than 45,000 recognized cultivars, with new cultivars entering the market every year. Despite such high numbers, daylilies are still in extremely high demand, with new or rare breeds winning awards and commanding large prices on the market.
The azalea is traditionally known as the harbinger of spring in the southern United States. Heralded with festivals and events, the blooming of a crop of azaleas is truly a site to behold. Dan River Plants varieties of Azalea offer unique flower shapes and colors, providing a bloom in early spring, often lasting for several weeks! Azaleas prefer well drained, acidic soil. They are slow growing, yet very hardy plants. They are very shade tolerant, usually preferring to be close to trees.
Poppies are one of the earliest known cultivated ornamental plants, dating back as far as 5000 BC in Mesopotamia. From the tombs of ancient Egypt to the depths of Greek mythology, poppies played a significant role in early civilization. That's what makes poppies so fascinating.
Dan River Plants' Icelandic poppies are hardy biennials that produce large bowl shaped flowers with a light fragrance. These flowers are supported by one foot long, slightly curved stems adorned with blue/green foliage. They prefer full sun and light, well-drained soils. Though a hardy plant, the poppy does not tolerate extreme heat. However, in cool summer climates, Icelandic poppies may live for 2-3 seasons, producing flowers from early spring all the way through fall, ensuring a brightly colored patch in your garden.
Eucomis ‘Sparkling Burgundy’ is a purple-foliaged pineapple lily. A dramatic accent plant, producing strap-like foliage of dark burgundy forming a rosette of leaves 24” wide. In late summer, it produces a 20” tall bloom stalk resembling a small purple pineapple.
Mahonia ‘Soft caress’ is a compact, evergreen mahonia. Its foliage is long and slender, very finely cut and soft to the touch. From mid-fall to mid-winter it is topped with fragrant, bright yellow blooms held in upright clusters, later turning into silvery blue-gray berries.
Agapanthus ‘Ellamae’ is a large, vigorous lily-of-the-Nile that forming a large clump of green strap-like leaves. In midsummer it is topped with pom pom heads of dark blue-violet flowers on a 66” tall stem.
Agapanthus ‘Elaine’ is another vigorous lily-of-the-Nile, forming a 3’ tall clump of green strap-like leaves. Its 8” wide flower heads are borne on 50” tall stems in midsummer. The blue-violet flowers attract humming birds.
White forsythia is a round deciduous shrub, hardy in zones 5 to 8. A rapid grower which produces arching branches up to 5’ tall and 4’ wide. It is an early spring bloomer consisting of dense clusters of white, fragrant flowers.