New Perennial Introductions

July 9, 2013 - 11:27

In my last newsletter, I discussed my visit at the Gardens at Ball in West Chicago, Ill., for Darwin Perennial Day. Perennials are really making a statement in the industry, and there are so many new varieties being introduced to the market.

Based on some of your feedback, it seems like many of you have been successful with perennials and you're hopeful for the future of this garden category. I also see the trend going strong just walking through my neighborhood. My neighbors have quite impressive perennial gardens along their front yards. Some are the tried and true, while others have really unique plants I've never seen.

So today, I'd like to share with you some of the new perennial varieties that caught our eye at the 2013 California Spring Trials. Maybe you'll find some room for these new varieties in your production next season.

Penstemon 'Peregrine Lilac' (Green Fuse Botanicals)

'Peregrine Lilac' forms tight, round plant balls that flower in early spring without vernalization — making them a perfect addition to the First Light Perennial program. This new variety is hardy to Zone 6.

Salvia 'Sallyrosa April Night' (Danziger)

The newest addition to the Sallyrosa series, April Night features an abundance of vivid blue flowers on a compact and branched plant. It is tolerance to drought and mildew. Sallyrosa varieties are ideally suited for pots, patios and gardens.

Centaurea 'Caramia' (Skagit Gardens)

'Caramia' has a fluffy pink center surrounded by bright pink, feathery petals that is contrasted nicely with medium green foliage. Hardy to Zone 3, this variety blooms all summer long. It is well behaved and has a very upright habit.

Echinacea 'Cheyenne Spirit' (Kieft Seed)

This All-America Selections winner boasts a striking color mix. Supplied as raw seed, it is suitable for broad-range production containers. It will reach a height of 18 to 24 inches in the first year and 22 to 30 inches its second year.

Nepeta 'Cat's Meow' (Proven Winners)

A more refined nepeta than older cultivars, 'Cat's Meow' forms a neatly compact, rounded mound of fragrant, grey-green foliage. Flowers are sky blue on top of well-branched stems. This variety is hardy to Zones 3 through 8.

Gerbera 'Garvinea Catherine' (Florist Holland)

Although gerbera has been known as a potted or bedding plant, the Garvinea series is hardy to Zone 7 and can grow to 18 inches across and tall in the landscape. This new spider-type variety features white flowers with blush pink undersides and medium green foliage.

Are you adding any new varieties to your perennial production? Which varieties have been top sellers for you this past season? Send me an e-mail at I'd love to hear from you.

— Jasmina

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