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The Best New Garden Plants for 2021

Reawaken your garden with these stunning new garden plants.

A grouping of bright purple Luminary Ultraviolet tall garden phlox.Courtesy of Proven Winners - provenwinners.com

Luminary Ultraviolet Tall Garden Phlox

Phlox paniculata ‘Ultraviolet’, Zones 3 to 8

You, the hummingbirds, the butterflies and the bees will all agree this is one of the best new garden plants in 2021. That’s because people and wildlife alike drawn to the magenta-violet flowers on this summer bloomer. Not to mention, it grows 28 to 32 inches upright so this phlox provides vertical interest in containers and gardens. Grow several to ensure plenty of flowers for pollinators and for your summer bouquets.

Why we love it: Resistance to disease means it looks livelier and lusher for longer.

See more easy plants to grow in containers.

A closeup of dark purple Lancelot Canary Island sage.Ball Horticultural Company

Lancelot Canary Island Sage

Salvia canariensis ‘Lancelot’, Zones 7 to 11 or annual

This salvia provides multiple benefits. The 36- to 42-inch-tall plant with fragrant silvery white leaves has lower supplemental water needs and prefers full sun to partial shade. The lavender flowers with rosy lavender bracts attract hummingbirds, butterflies and bees, like many other plants on the list.

Why we love it: It’s frost tolerant and extends your enjoyment when other annuals have given way to the cold.

Psst—we also love to grow Mexican bush sage for butterflies and hummingbirds.

A stalk of Pink Flamingo cardinal flower.Intrinsic Perennial Gardens

Pink Flamingo Cardinal Flower

Lobelia cardinalis ‘Pink Flamingo’, Zones 4 to 9

Here’s a new twist on a hummingbird favorite: the cardinal flower. This 3- to 4-foot-tall beauty provides vertical accents to gardens and performs best with moist, well-draining soil in full sun to light shade. If you grow it from seed, you may also be rewarded with a few pure red flowers.

Why we love it: Flowers fade from dazzling pink to nice shades of salmon.

Check out more red flowers that attract hummingbirds.

Miss Piggy pigsqueak has bunches of pink flowers with bright yellow centers. Courtesy of Proven Winners - provenwinners.com

Miss Piggy Pigsqueak

Bergenia Cordifolia ‘Miss Piggy’, Zones 4 to 7

Welcome spring with bright pink flowers, and continue to enjoy bold, dark green leaves throughout the season. This low grower makes a nice ground cover as well as an edge-of-the-garden or container plant. Grow it in rich, moist, well-draining soil for best results.

Why we love it: This colorful shade tolerant plant helps attract bees and butterflies to the garden.

Check out our favorite shrubs with pink flowers.

A pot of Shangri-La philodendron.Ball Horticultural Company

Shangri-La Philodendron

Philodendron bipinnatifidum ‘Shangri-La’, Zones 9 to 11 or annual

You love philodendrons indoors, so consider adding this lush new and super-compact variety to your garden. Deeply divided green leaves and a tidy nonvining habit give Shangri-La instant elegance. Grow this shade lover in a protected spot such as your patio or balcony.

Why we love it: Winter doesn’t stop it; just move it indoors.

Check out more hard-to-kill houseplants.

A closeup shot of Holy Smoke big bluestem.Intrinsic Perennial Gardens

Holy Smoke Big Bluestem

Andropogon gerardii ‘Holy Smoke’, Zones 3 to 9

Enjoy year-round beauty in your garden thanks to this new, big bluestem grass variety. The silver foliage is highlighted with splashes of smoky purple and red. Flowers top the 6- to 7-foot-tall plants in autumn. Leave the dried seed heads standing in winter to give your garden an extra dose of beauty and texture.

Why we love it: It grows in most soils and is deer resistant. Psst—we’ve got expert garden advice on rabbit resistant flowers.

The light green leaves of Sweet Caroline Medusa Green sweet potato vine.Courtesy of Proven Winners - provenwinners.com

Sweet Caroline Medusa Green Sweet Potato Vine

Ipomoea batatas ‘Medusa Green’, annual

This new ornamental sweet potato is all about foliage and shape. The finely dissected leaves resemble green fingers with purple highlights. Additionally, as it grows, this new garden plant forms a dense mound of attractive foliage with minimal trailing.

Why we love it: The form along with its sun and heat tolerance make it a perfect substitute for more shade-loving greenery.

Check out the top 10 vines for hummingbirds.

A pot of purple Macho Morado mexican petunias.Courtesy of Proven Winners - provenwinners.com

Machu Morado Mexican Petunia

Ruellia simplex ‘Machu Morado’, Zones 9 to 12 or annual

Watch the floral display surge while day and nighttime temperatures rise in summer. The 18- to 32-inch-tall new garden plant is covered with periwinkle blue-purple flowers in summer in southern gardens and during late summer to frost in the North.

Why we love it: You can skip the deadheading. Plus, it attracts butterflies.

Also try these beautiful blue flowers for every garden.

Sombrero Poco yellow coneflower blooms.Ball Horticultural Company

Sombrero Poco Yellow Coneflower

Echinacea x hybrida ‘Sombrero Poco Yellow’, Zones 4 to 9

Add a splash of sunshine while attracting bees and butterflies with this compact, winter-hardy coneflower. Full sun and deadheading encourage flowers from late spring to late summer. Allow seeds to form in fall to attract songbirds.

Why we love it: It’s deer resistant and drought tolerant once established.

Check out the top 10 classic yellow flowers to grow.

A pot of Dalaya Fireball dahlias shines with red and yellow flowers. Ball Horticultural Company

Dalaya Fireball Dahlia

Dahlia hybrida ‘Dalaya Fireball’, Zones 10 to 11 or annual

Big, bright bicolor blooms add charm to containers, gardens and bouquets. The longer-lasting yellow twills in the center contrast nicely with the bright orange petals. It’s also known for early flowering and slow-to-fade blossoms.

Why we love it: Exceptional garden performance and compact size make it suitable for any size landscape.

Here’s everything you need to know about planting and growing dahlias.

Melinda Myers
Nationally known gardening expert, TV/radio host, author, columnist and speaker.