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Sparky sinks roots, spreads Sun Devil spirit


October 16, 2012

ASU’s spunky mascot Sparky is spreading Sun Devil spirit beyond T-shirts, license plates and mugs. Fans can now border their lawns and liven their patios with the maroon-throated, yellow-petaled, green-leafed “Sparky” plant.

Developed by horticulturist George Hull, faculty associate in The Design School’s landscape architecture program in the ASU Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, the Sparky plant is a desert hardy, resilient shrub that Hull developed after several years of breeding. The patented plant averages 5 to 6-feet in height and 3-feet in width. The Sparky shrubs are available at Home Depot, Lowe’s, SummerWinds and most retail nurseries in Arizona. The signature maroon and gold plants are the fifth in the line of new Tecoma hybrids bred by Hull. He’s working on “Sparklette,” a more diminutive version of Sparky.

The plant is low maintenance, likes sun and after it is established requires little watering. It can experience frost damage if temperatures fall to the low 20s, but it recovers quickly and can be trimmed back to 12 inches when new growth starts in the spring.

Hull developed the plants at V&P nurseries as a partner in its New Plant Introductions, and has designated that a portion of proceeds from Sparky plant sales go to The Design School’s landscape architecture program.