Top 10 New Plants for 2013

These new plants made the top of our list in 2013. Check the list and add a few to your garden!

You know what I love about the gardening world? The excitement everyone exudes over new plants. It’s incredible when you think about it. Green coneflowers, black petunias, reblooming lilacs, dwarf forsythias—all of these downright fascinating varieties and so many more have been introduced in the past decade.

It wasn’t easy to narrow down all the 2013 delights to just 10 favorites, but it was a challenge I was happy to tackle. Keep in mind that the varieties mentioned here might take a few years to hit your local garden center. But even if you can’t find them yet, go out and do a little research to discover what new and intriguing options are available for your backyard right now. And keep these 10 newbies in your back pocket for future exploring.

Sparks Will Fly Begonia

Sparks Will Fly Begonia (Begonia x hybrida), Annual

Bored with the usual reds, purples and pinks? Then try this begonia, with tangerine blooms against rich dark-green foliage. It will grow about 12 inches high and wide, with blooms lasting through spring and summer.

Why we love it: This one is made for the shade. Plant it in a sunless corner of a flower bed or put it in a container to brighten up a dark patio. It’s not picky.

Pineapple Pie Coreopsis

Pineapple Pie Coreopsis (Coreopsis), Annual, Perennial in Zones 9 and 10

This rusty-red and golden-yellow knockout will -captivate you and your visitors, including butterflies and bees, and it’s versatile enough for containers, flower beds or borders. You’ll have to work for your reward, though. In addition to giving Pineapple Pie full sun and regular watering, you’ll need to trim spent blooms so that new ones can grow.

Why we love it: It’s a long, continuous bloomer, repaying your care with flowers from early summer until fall.

Perennial Resource
Pardon My Pink Bee Balm

Pardon My Pink Bee Balm (Monarda didyma), Zones 4 to 9

On the lookout for something sweet, petite and -fragrant? This bee balm, which tops out at less than 12 inches, is perfect for containers or small garden beds. Give it sun and plenty of water, and the bright pink flowers will wow you from mid- to late summer.

Why we love it: Pardon My Pink is resistant to the mildew that is a common problem among other bee balms. Oh, and it attracts butterflies!

Perennial Resource
Butterfly Kiss Coneflower

Butterfly Kisses Coneflower

This new and improved Butterfly Kisses purple -coneflower has shorter, sturdier stems that won’t topple over as they grow, even with the weight of the double pompon blooms. It’s a more compact plant than classic coneflowers, but still boasts nearly 3-inch flowers. Butterfly Kisses is tougher than its name, preferring full sun but tolerating a little shade and less-than-ideal soil conditions.

Why we love it: Purple coneflowers are a garden -staple, enticing butterflies all summer and then -feeding the birds as the seed heads dry out in fall.

Peek-a-Blue Russian Sage

Peek-a-Boo Russian Sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia), Zones 4 to 9

Russian sage is an easy-care favorite, but many -varieties can get too big for some spaces. Peek-a-Blue’s -compact habit, on the other hand, makes it perfect for urban gardens or small spaces. Expect it to grow about 2 feet tall when in full bloom. The lavender-blue flowers shine from -midsummer straight into autumn.

Why we love it: Lacy, silver-green leaves grow on silver stems and are irresistible.

Proven Winners
Sweet Summer Love Clematis

Sweet Summer Love Clematis (Clematis), Zones 4 to 9

Talk about excitement! This beauty is causing quite a stir among gardeners and garden writers because it blooms early and lasts for months. It will be available only in limited quantities this year, so put it on your long-term wish list or be ready to search hard to find one to add to your garden. Though it needs full sun, it’s an otherwise easy-to-grow vine that will climb up a trellis to about 15 feet.

Why we love it: The stunning cranberry-violet blooms appear about a month earlier than most other -clematis. Plus, they’re deliciously fragrant.

Everlast Dianthus

Everlast Dianthus (Dianthus), Zone 4

Here’s a real showstopper. The EverLast Lilac + Eye dianthus is a semi-double bloomer with a two-tone drama: dark at the center and a lighter pink at the edges. This 12-inch-high dianthus does best in full sun and will be a star in containers. If you like this one, be sure to look for the four other gorgeous varieties in the EverLast series. Any of them will be stunning additions.

Why we love it: It’s a long bloomer, providing more days of color than any other dianthus.

Baily Nurseries
Mme de Verneville Peony

Mme de Verneville Peony (Paeonia), Zones 3 to 7

Want a new take on a classic peony? This Mme de Verneville has large, creamy white blooms that show just a hint of pink when they open. Then take a closer look, and you’ll see that the center petals of the opened double blooms are also flecked with a hint of red, offering a little brightness amid the creamy color. Grow this peony in full sun and expect it to reach about 25 inches in height.

Why we love it: Peonies give fullness, texture and color to any bouquet, and this one is no different. It’s also extremely fragrant.

Serenita Purple Angelonia

Serenita Purple Angelonia (Angelonia angustifolia), Annual

Who doesn’t love old-fashioned summer snapdragons? You’ll adore this new one, too. The Serenita varieties come in purple, raspberry, white and lavender-pink. It’s a pretty carefree plant, so as long as it’s planted in full sun, it will thrive in containers or landscapes.

Why we love it: Serenita is water-wise, heat-tolerant and resistant to deer and rabbits, and a joy to look at.

Perennial Resource
Midnight Hibiscus

Midnight Marvel Hibiscus (Hibiscus), Zones 4 to 9

True, hibiscus blossoms often take your breath away, but wait till you see this new variety’s stunning deep-purple foliage. Like many purple perennials, Midnight Marvel needs full sun in order to keep that gorgeous dark shade. It’ll grow about 4 feet tall and wide.

Why we love it: Unlike older varieties, Midnight Marvel has buds forming all the way up the stems, which means you’ll have blooms nearly three times longer.

Kirsten Schrader
Kirsten is the content director of Birds & Blooms. She's been with the brand in various roles since 2007. She has many favorite birds (it changes with the seasons), but top picks include the red-headed woodpecker, Baltimore oriole and rose-breasted grosbeak. Her bucket list bird is the painted bunting.