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New perennials bring color and variety to gardens
The versatility, hardiness and endless variety of perennials make them the star performers in almost any garden. Whether grown together in a garden bed or as stand-alone specimens in containers, these plants reward gardeners with their ability to survive winter and perform beautifully year after year. With such an endless variety to choose from, it can be difficult to decide what to try this year. If you’re still feeling undecided, why not try something new?
This spring, breeders and nurseries are introducing the newest perennial varieties that are sure to be crowd-pleasers. Some, like the ‘Love Hearts’ bleeding heart, bring a unique pale flower color not found in your standard red variety, while others, such as ‘Ghost’ lamium, feature unique foliage. ‘Dwarf Silver’ evening primrose, meanwhile, matures at only half the size of your standard evening primrose. All of these new perennial varieties are robust, disease resistant and easy to care for. Read on to learn more about what makes these newcomers so special.
Introducing an elegant new version of Bleeding Hearts
Dicentra ‘Love Hearts’ is an elegant white version of the popular red Bleeding Hearts. Its white, heart-shaped blossoms are blushed with pink, and they rise in profuse displays over handsome blue-green foliage. ‘Love Hearts’ makes a splendid edging for shady perennial beds, and it is also neat and compact enough to work beautifully in containers.
The heart-shaped blooms arise on leafless stems that arch up and out from the plant beginning in late spring, and the flowers keep coming all the way until the first frost. The flowers dangle prominently above the foliage, begging to be cut for the vase and enjoyed up close.
The handsome foliage keeps ‘Love Hearts’ attractive both before and after its season of bloom. This is a rather small plant, growing to just 10 to 12 inches high and wide, and it features finely textured fern-like leaves all season long. And because it is unappetizing to nibbling creatures such as deer (it is toxic), the foliage remains fresh and full until frost and sometimes beyond. ‘Love Hearts’ thrives in average-to-moist soil, withstanding a little dampness as long as it is dry in winter. Its habit is spreading, filling in large plantings nicely throughout USDA Zones 3-9. You will be delighted by its long season of color and vigorous growth. Bareroot plants sell for $19.95, or three plants sell for $15.95 each from Wayside Gardens, www.waysidegardens.com, 800-845-1124.
There’s no reason to be afraid of Lamium ‘Ghost’
Ghost Lamium may be small in stature, but it is a standout as an accent plant and an eye-catching groundcover. Its foliage is the main attraction, with heart-shaped leaves profusely covering this lush, evergreen perennial. Each dainty leaf’s silver-hue stands out amid more commonly colored plantings, making Lamium maculatum ‘Ghost’ impossible to miss even amid tall, colorful plants.
The leaves have serrated edges and tiny veins that are highlighted with various shades of green. As if this weren’t enough, Ghost Lamium produces a spring bloom of petite, purple blossoms that repeat throughout the summer. The effect of the tiny spots of lavender against the green edged, silver leaves is breathtaking!
Ghost Lamium’s amazing color and texture is perfect for in-ground plantings or in a container on your patio. Ghost Lamium will grow about 1 foot high with a 2 foot spread. It’s quite cold hardy and a wonderful choice when you need something fast growing or in areas where it’s a bit shady or dry. The plant is deer resistant and even rabbits will pass it by. It can be left to grow naturally, or you can trim it back in winter for a neater appearance.
There are few new perennials with the exquisite color and texture of Ghost Lamium. Not only is it a beautiful groundcover, but is even terrific at choking back weeds wherever it’s planted. Lamium ‘Ghost’ is cold hardy in USDA Zones 4-9, where it thrives in partial shade to full sun in moderately moist soils. Plants in a 1-gallon container sell for $29.95 at http://www.naturehills.com/lamium-ghost , (888) 864-7663.
Bright yellow flowers on a tough little plant
A compact plant with big bright yellow flowers held over silver foliage makes Dwarf Silver Evening Primrose (known by the botanical name Oenothera macrocarpa ‘Dwarf Silver)’ a welcome addition to even the smallest garden beds. Maturing at half the size of the typical Evening Primrose, this new introduction is a tough, long-lived waterwise perennial.
Dwarf Silver Evening Primrose was discovered as a seedling many years ago when it appeared in a crop of High Country Gardens’ large-growing, green-leaved Oenothera. Spring 2015 is the first time this plant has ever been available to the public. This little beauty is a High Country Gardens exclusive. Dwarf Silver Evening Primrose grows 5-6” tall and 14-16” wide throughout zones 4-8. Plants sell for $7.99 each in a standard 2.5-inch pot from www.HighCountryGardens.com/oenothera-macrocarpa-dwarf-silver .
New Prairie Milkweed is a favorite of hummingbirds and butterflies
New perennials are often refined versions or newly available variants of popular plants. Prairie Milkweed (Asclepias sullivantii) is sometimes called Sullivant’s Milkweed in honor of William Starling Sullivant, a famous American Botanist in the 1800s. Prairie Milkweed is similar to common milkweed but is less aggressive, has slightly smaller flowers, and has an overall smooth appearance on the stem, leaves and seed pods. This variety is a favorite of hummingbirds and a wide variety of bees and butterflies (including Monarch butterflies).
Prairie Milkweed is grows easily from seed, and the mature flower is fragrant and makes a wonderful addition to any sunny, moist garden. After just a few years the taproot will extend very deep, protecting the plant in times of drought. This taproot also makes it a difficult plant to move, so choose your spot wisely! Prairie Milkweed is the winner of a 2015 Green Thumb Award from the Direct Gardening Association as one of the best new plants of the year. A packet of seeds sells for $2.50 from www.prairiemoon.com.
Visit www.homegardenandhomestead.com and click on Media Room at the top of the Home page. Then select New Perennials from the Media Room Navigation list in the left-side column. Then click in the box below the photos you would like to download.