It’s time to celebrate! I’m talking about new plants, of course. Every spring we select 10 newcomers that we think home gardeners ought to be aware of. I’ll be honest: It would be really easy for me to fill the list with plants that just look darn cool (green blooms! ruffled hostas!), so I knew I needed the help of a real expert. And there’s no one better than our very own garden guru, Melinda Myers. We put our heads together and came up with this list of 10 amazing new cultivars. Read on to discover why Melinda felt these plants deserved a coveted spot on our list.
Keep in mind that these plants are so new that they’re sometimes not readily available in their first year. Think of them as cultivars that should be on your radar. Perhaps you had your eye on a plant from last year’s list; in most cases it should be ready for purchase this year. So check out our 2013 list for more exciting “new to you” plants!
- Proven Winners
Pomegranate Punch Superbells
Calibrachoa hybrid, annual
For a burst of fall color, look no further than the new Pomegranate Punch. Superbells have been a favorite for a long time, and there are endless possibilities when it comes to container planting. Give them a strong dose of sunshine and watch them thrive, reaching about 10 inches tall.
Why Melinda loves it: It’s hard not to ooh and aah over a photo of the velvety, deep red blossoms, so you can imagine how stunning this long bloomer is when you see it in person! Melinda suggests pairing it with black foliage plants.
- Walters Gardens, Inc.
Purple Candles astilbe
Astilbe chinensis ‘PURPLE CANDLES’, Zones 4 to 8
Described as having “lavish pillars,” Purple Candles is tall and statuesque, reaching heights of 4 feet. Astilbe has always been a shade and woodland favorite; this variety offers height and a later bloom time.
Why Melinda loves it: Purple Candles is a good option for rain gardens or any spot that consistently gets more water than others. It’s eye-catching from a distance, in both bud and full bloom.
Lullaby Dreams daylily
HEMEROCALLIS ‘LULLABY DREAMS’, Zones 3 to 10
With ruffled edges and green, pink and yellow tones, the Lullaby Dreams daylily is a real showstopper. Available from Klehm’s Song Sparrow Farm and Nursery (songsparrow.com), it’s a plant you’ll want to clear space for in your garden, in a sunny or partly shady spot.
Why Melinda loves it: These gorgeous blooms can grow as large as 6 inches!
- JN Plant Selections, LLC.
Carpinus caroliniana ‘FIRESPIRE’, Zones 3 to 9
What new plant list is complete without a tree? This is the first year Firespire musclewood is widely available to consumers. Celebrated for its upright form and stunning fall color, this tree has so far been pest- and disease-free.
Why Melinda loves it: It’s both sun- and shade-tolerant, so it will work well in any area of your yard, whether it’s as a large hedge, a screen plant or a specimen plant in a smaller space.
- Skagit Gardens
Short ’n’ Sassy helenium
Helenium ‘Short ’n’ Sassy’, ZoneS 4 TO 8
Short? Check. Bright and sassy? Check. Compared to traditional heleniums, this newbie is more compact and blooms continuously from summer to late autumn. It’s considered a dwarf variety, so it’s perfect for containers and will add a splash of orange and gold to your patio or small space.
Why Melinda loves it: This variety blooms earlier in summer than other heleniums. And the bees and butterflies can’t resist it.
- Ball Horticultural Co.
Sparkle White gaura
Gaura lindheimeri ‘Sparkle White’, Zones 5 to 9
Here’s a new, better-than-ever gaura. Sparkle White is a container favorite, reaching about 24 inches tall. It’s also an award winner, recognized for its improved timing. Expect it to grow from seed at least two or three weeks sooner than other varieties.
Why Melinda loves it: There’s nothing else out there with butterfly-shaped blooms growing above the foliage the way gaura does. Melinda suggests using Sparkle White as a vertical accent in containers or a filler plant in the garden.
- Bailey Nurseries
Strawberry Sundae hydrangea
Hydrangea paniculata ‘STRAWBERRY SUNDAE’, Zones 4 to 8
It seems as if hydrangeas are getting better all the time. Strawberry Sundae is a compact version of Vanilla Strawberry. It puts on a show well into fall. Enjoy creamy white blooms, that turn pink and then strawberry red.
Why Melinda loves it: This one is extremely adaptable to clay and sandy soil. It’s also hardy, heat-tolerant and fairly drought-tolerant.
- Sakata Seed America
Pink Flash SunPatiens
Impatiens x hybriD, annual
If we could nominate one plant as most reliable, it would have to be SunPatiens. It grows quickly, thrives in sun or shade, and requires little maintenance. Put this plant wherever you please—say, borders or containers—and watch it grow up to 40 inches tall in no time. Pink Flash, a new member of the SunPatiens spreading series, will not disappoint.
Why Melinda loves it: You’ve probably heard that downy mildew is infecting impatiens all over the country. Well, SunPatiens is a perfect replacement for impatiens fans. You get the same look and overall performance, but with disease resistance.
- Intrinsic Introductions
Green Mist amsonia
Amsonia hubricHtii ‘Green Mist’, Zones 4 to 9
You may know this plant as blue star, but you don’t want to miss this new variety from Intrinsic Perennial Gardens. Green Mist is an extra-fine form with deep green, needlelike foliage in the summer. Plant this one in full sun, and it’ll reach up to 3 feet.
Why Melinda loves it: Fall color makes this amsonia a true delight. Amber foliage will serve as a bright spot on a chilly autumn day.
- Ball Horticultural Co.
Sweet Black Cherry dianthus
There’s a lot of excitement about the stellar performance of Sweet Black Cherry dianthus.
Punch-colored blooms sit atop 18- to 36-inch plants, making them ideal for the front of a border or in containers. This dianthus prefers full sun and is known to be deer-resistant.
Why Melinda loves it: This one is nothing if not a reliable bloomer. Enjoy a steady show of uniquely colored flower clusters from early spring all the way into autumn.
- More From Birds & Blooms