New and notable Perennials
A look at some of the top picks for the Canadian marketplace
November 10, 2023 By Amy Kouniakis
The gardening craze of the pandemic years is showing no sign of slowing down and perennial plant sales at garden centres remain quite strong (see: ‘Gardening is ‘the new normal,’ Greenhouse Canada, August 2023).
While we aren’t dealing with the supply and demand challenges of the COVID years, retailers have seen an increase in the purchase of plant materials geared towards sustainability and longevity that are easy to care for and are hardy enough to survive our harsh climate.
Greenhouse Canada reached out to breeders and seed companies to get an idea of what’s new and innovative in perennials for 2023/24 and to provide some insight on what makes these plants stand out.
Here is a glimpse of some of the new and notable perennials that will be a good fit for the Canadian marketplace in 2024.
Please note: varieties are not presented in any particular order.
1.Artemisia ‘Silver Lining’ finds the best in its parentage as a spectacular, durable foliage perennial. Broadly dissected silver leaves are showy from spring to fall. The mounded, low-wide habit maintains perfect form all season and resists opening. Use this as a filler in the landscape and spiller in mixed containers. Zones 4-9.
2. Hibiscus Summerific ‘All Eyes on Me’. Despite its scaled-down size, ‘All Eyes on Me’ keeps the trademark eight-inch blooms it has become known for. The blushing pink blooms appear from the top to the bottom of a well-rounded habit of dark green leaves. . Zones 4-9.
3. Phlox Luminary ‘Prismatic Pink’ has large, well-formed panicles of bubble-gum pink flowers with dark pink eyes. This variety matches the height of the rest of the collection; perfect for the middle of the border. Zones 3-8.
4. Sedum Rock N’ Grow ‘Midnight Velvet’ adds a new foliage and flower colour combination. Rich, dark purple leaves comprise the domed habit, adding garden interest from the moment they appear in spring. Beginning in late summer clusters of mauve buds cover the habit, before bursting open with rose red flowers. After bloom seedheads appear a dark red colour. Zones 3-9.
JELITTO PERENNIAL SEED
5. Bergenia cordifolia ’Snowtime’ blooms pure white in spring and again in the fall and features leathery, glossy green foliage. This plant has a height upwards of 18 inches tall in flower and it is known to be super hardy. Zones 3-8.
6. Lingularia dentata “Midnight Lady’ is an exquisite contrast between the large, decorative, dark purple foliage and husky orange-yellow rayflowers on dark sturdy stems. Bold groupings of six or more are eye-catching. Easy to grow from seed. Full sun in cool summer climates to semi-shade elsewhere. ‘Midnight Lady’ keeps her cool bronze leaves through the summer. Zone 3 to 8.
7. Sedum ‘Czar’s Gold’ is native to Central and Southern Urals, Northern Asia (Siberia, Mongolia).This is a heavy blooming carpet of yellow stars that attracts pollinators. Spoon-shaped, glossy green succulent leaves with reddish stems and a stoloniferous habit begs use as a walkway edger, or in drifts in a rock garden. Zone 3 to 8.
TERRA NOVA NURSERIES
8. Heuchera ‘Changeling’ lives up to its namesake with its unique characteristic of weekly colour transitions that paint an ever-changing natural landscape for blender, contrast or mixed containers. This distinctive feature renders it a focal point, particularly during the cooler phases of early Canadian spring, when the plant may not be in bloom. Zone 4 to 9.
9. Anemone Puff ‘Pink’ is distinguished by its extended blooming period, captivating blossoms, and its ability to attract pollinators. These characteristics contribute to its desirability in Canadian gardens, particularly in regions with varying climatic conditions. New flowers open a rich rose colour and progress to an antique silver pink, making this plant a brilliant addition to flower beds and borders. Zone 4 to 9.
10. Echinacea Kismet ‘Pink Lemonade’ is the newest addition to the famous Kismet series. This variety grows with a rounded, compact habit and features long-lasting blooms in a remarkable shade of pink with lemonade-coloured petal tips. It also draws in pollinators like bees and butterflies, contributing to a healthier and more balanced landscape adapted to Canadian climates. Zone 4 to 9.
11. Echinacea Double Scoop Deluxe features improved flower coverage which helps these updated coneflowers make a bold statement in landscapes and planters. New Deluxe breeding of the series brings the branching, flower count and timing of the established Sombrero series to this improved collection. It’s more compact than typical double-flowered echinacea. Available in Orangeberry, Raspberry, Strawberry and Watermelon. This variety won two Retailer’s Choice Awards in 2023! Zone 4a to 9b.
12. Stachys Little Lamb is a Lamb’s ear with fine, more decorative foliage. This velvety-soft, greenish-silver leafy plant stays compact and is great for edging, border gardens and containers. Shorter flower stalks offer a better finish than the standard. Ideal for a groundcover or smaller garden applications. Zone 4a to 8b.
13. Centaurea Silver Swirl features stunning silver-white foliage that will brighten any space and attract the eye in mixed plantings. It has gracefully wavy leaf edges that add texture to combos in planters or as a border in the landscape. Plants are drought tolerant once established and minimal maintenance. Zone 6b to 9b.
14. Delphinium ‘Red Lark’ is a hybrid Delphinium breakthrough many years in the making through Darwin Perennials. Its colour is a unique, strong coral-red that brings excitement to the class. No staking is needed in the garden. Red Lark has a sturdy main stem that stands up to shipping and weather. Flowers can be used as cuts or enjoyed as a showpiece in a perennial garden. This variety is a sterile hybrid and will not. Red Lark blossoms in Spring and lasts through Summer – sure to catch the eye of shoppers. Zone 5a to 8b.
15. Salvia ‘Blue by You’ features excellent Winter hardiness and heat tolerance. A cross between Salvia nemorosa, and Salvia pratensis, it is a sterile hybrid for longer shelf life. Blooms up to two weeks earlier than other varieties for more colour at retail and a longer selling season. Displays beautiful ,bright blue flower spikes and has demonstrated proven superior garden performance. Produces up to five repeat blooming cycles throughout Spring and Summer. Zone 4b to 9a.
16. Gaillardia SpinTop Mango is a leading gaillardia series that provides early colour and continues into the season with a mounded habit. It is incredibly heard and tolerant to hot humid conditions. Mango brings a pop or orange to your landscape and is Zone 3 hardy.
17. Leucanthemum Sweet Daisy Birdy is part of our vast first year flowering leucanthemum series that have unique flower forms and are suitable for any garden application. This award-winning variety has exceptional landscape performance and flowers 12- to 18-weeks. The new blooms grow above aging blooms, keeping plants looking fresh. Zone 3 hardy.
18. Salvia Caramia Rosa brings a new deep rose colour to the series. An upright variety with a medium compact habit and very large flower spikes makes it an excellent variety for the landscape and is Zone 3 hardy, making it perfect for coast-to-coast in Canada.
19. Achillea Skysail Fire brings the heat to your landscape with very large flower umbels and a bold red flower. This medium-height plant with strong peduncles performs well in containers and landscapes for a nice retail and garden show. Very good heat and humidity tolerance for all markets and Zone 3 hardy.
20. Phlox Flame Pro Baby Doll is part of a subset of the Flame lineup with varieties that are all perfectly uniform in timing and size, providing growers with a predictable and programmable lineup. With blush-coloured blooms that have a bright pink eye, they are sure to stand out in landscapes from Zone 3 to 9.
21. Coreopsis verticillata Sunstar add rich colour to any sunny summer garden. The large, red-eyed, molten gold-coloured blooms cover the green, feathery, mildew resistant foliage of this easy-care, well-behaved plant, providing a long season of vibrant colour. No vernalization required and available in three vibrant colours. An herbaceous perennial bred by Terra Nova Nurseries and marketed by Monrovia. Zone 4 to 9.
22. Echinacea purpurea Panama Rose is a new hot pink Echinacea addition to the vegetative (URC) Echinacea line from Danziger. Panama Rose has great branching and medium to tall flower stems. Bright pink flowers bloom above compact foliage with dark flower stems. No vernalization required and hardy from zone 4 to 9.
23. Delphinium grandiflorum Hunky Dory is heavily branched and very floriferous with large blooms, and is one of the most uniform series of Delphinium grandiflorum. F1 vigour leads to excellent germination and young plant performance, eliminating the need to multi-sow and providing a uniform, speedy, and efficient crop. Bred by Syngenta Flowers, vernalization of this variety is not required and it is available in three colours. Zone 4 to 9.
24. Hemerocallis Skye series is a heavy blooming, tetraploid daylily that flowers continuously from spring into fall. Sturdy flowers with ruffled petals and bright colour combinations are held just above the foliage. Compact habit with large flowers. Bred by Unex, available in six colours, and hardy from Zone 4 to 11.
25. Perovskia atriplicifolia Zephyr Compact Blue is a tough and drought tolerant variety that is also a magnet for pollinators. A densely branched and compact habit makes Zephyr the best choice for small to mid-sized containers. It’s also heat and drought tolerant, making it an ideal landscape addition. Its soft blue flowers are held above the fine foliage all summer long. Zone 4a to 9 b.
26. Erysimum linifolium Erysistible boasts a medium-vigour controlled habit that works well across all key container sizes. This new series offers striking novelty colours, perfect for early spring programs. As the first Zone-5-hardy Erysimum available in novelty colours, Erysistible is perfect for northern growers. Zone 5a to 9b.
27. Echinacea purpurea Prairie Blaze is an economical seed-grown Echinacea, bringing earliness and uniformity optimized for mass production. It’s full colour range even includes novelties, offering a valuable alternative to vegetative varieties. Striking novelty colours upgrade perennial programs and are a direct match to Prairie Splendor Compact in habit and timing. Prairie Blaze is efficient to produce in a wide range of containers and ideally suited for 2.5-quart programs. Zone 3a to 9b.
28. Coreopsis Solanna is a first-year flowering cultivar that requires no vernalization or bulking. It is well branched and flowers from Spring to Fall. For best results, it can be grown in cool conditions (50 – 58°F, 10-15°C). This beauty will shine in the landscape and is a favourite among pollinators. Zone 5 to 10.
29. Echinacea ‘Guatemala Gold’ is the second URC Echinacea in the market. The 1st is the Danziger Panama Red. It is another first-year flowering perennial that does not need vernalization or bulking. Guatemala Gold blooms in weeks 22-24 and boats everlasting flower power. Great for containers or landscape. Zone 5 to 11.
30. Lavandula angustifolia Layla is one of the earliest flowering English lavender on the market as it blooms in the spring with extended flowering into the heat of summer. It features good branching without pinching and improved flowering in both size and flag. Zone 5 to 9.
31. Salvia nemorosa Pink Nebula is new for 2024 and is similar in habit to its predecessor, Dark Matter. It features strong radial branching and early, uniform bloom that continues all summer long. No vernalization or bulking required. Zone 4 to 9.
All photos are coutesy their respective breeders or suppliers.
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