New Shade-Loving Perennial Varieties for 2012

Fill shaded spots with brilliant color and texture from these brand-new-for-2012 perennial flowers!

By Karen Weir-Jimerson


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Epimedium 'Pretty in Pink'
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'Pretty In Pink' Fairy Wings

    Fairy wings is a magical flower for spring gardens. This new pink selection has leaves that in emerge in late March, followed by upright slender stalks upon which bloom large, hovering pink-spur flowers. It's a gorgeous sight: Ephemeral winglike pink blooms float above a clump of green-and-raspberry leaves.

    Name: Epimedium grandiflorum 'Pretty In Pink'

    Growing Conditions: Light shade and well-drained soil

    Size: 18 inches tall, 3 feet wide

    Zones: 4-8

    Grow It With: Hosta

    Source: plantdelights.com

    Image courtesy plantdelights.com

2/15
Little Darling Hosta

    Viva variegation in the garden! The bright green-and-yellow leaves of this darling little hosta make a brilliant addition to any shade garden. This two-tone hosta grows in a tidy, dwarf, mounding form, reaching about 10 inches tall with a 14-inch spread. It's a fast grower and will be a lovely addition to hosta beds and shade gardens. It blooms in summer; plants are topped with dainty white flower spikes in July. Its compact growth and colorful good looks makes it a good container plant as well.

    Name: Little Darling Hosta 'MonChard'

    Growing Conditions: Full to partial shade and moist, well-drained soil

    Size: 10 inches tall, 14 inches wide

    Zones: 3-7

    Grow It With: Solid-color hostas

    Source: Visit monrovia.com to find a retailer near you.

    Image courtesy monrovia.com

3/15
'Wheee!' Hosta

    Ruffled leaves, creamy edges, and a cute clumping habit: This hosta has it all! And it may have you saying "Wheee!" every time you see it in your garden. Its beautiful, elongated leaves are extremely ruffled and wavy (from the tip to the base) and are edged with a creamy yellow border. This hosta offers both texture and color in beds and borders. It?s a great plant for containers, too. 'Wheee!' produces 2-foot-tall spikes topped with lavender flowers in early summer. Grow this beauty in shade gardens alongside other hostas. It will be a standout.

    Name: Hosta 'Wheee!'

    Growing Conditions: Light shade and well-drained soil

    Size: 18 inches tall, 30 inches wide

    Zones: 3-9

    Grow It With: Solid-color hostas

    Source: Visit provenwinners.com to find a retailer near you.

    Image courtesy provenwinners.com

4/15
'Autumn Frost' Hosta

    A variegated masterpiece with stellar relatives, 'Autumn Frost' is a sport from the 2010 Hosta of the Year 'First Frost'. How does 'Autumn Frost' differ? It offers extra-wide yellow margins that contrast nicely against green-blue leaves. ('Autumn Frost' is also related to 'Halcyon', one of the loveliest of all blue hostas.) 'Autumn Frost' forms a medium-size, 12-inch tall mound of foliage that is twice as wide as it is tall. It's topped with light lavender flowers in mid- to late summer.

    Name: Hosta 'Autumn Frost'

    Growing Conditions: Part shade to full shade and well-drained soil

    Size: 12 inches tall, 24 inches wide

    Zones: 3-9

    Grow It With: Solid-color hostas

    Source: Visit provenwinners.com to find a retailer near you.

    Image courtesy plantdelights.com

5/15
'Sunny and Share' Fairy Wings

    Add splashes of color to lightly shaded spring gardens with yellow-flowering 'Sunny and Share'. This 14-inch-tall perennial features mounds of small green leaves flecked with bronze. In April, it sends up short flower spikes that are topped with small, yellow bell-shape blooms. The plant often produces flowers into midsummer. Enjoy this deer- and rabbit-resistant, long-blooming epimedium more each year -- it spreads to slowly form a 4-foot-wide evergreen patch in five years.

    Name: Epimedium 'Sunny and Share'

    Growing Conditions: Light shade and well-drained soil

    Size: 14 inches tall and wide

    Zones: 5-8

    Grow It With: Hosta

    Source: plantdelights.com

    Image courtesy plantdelights.com

6/15
'Spek-tacular' Cast-Iron Plant

    A heavily spotted cast-iron plant, 'Spek-tacular' can be used in any shade garden where you need an attractive clump of leafy foliage to add color and texture. 'Spek-tacular' features 30-inch-long dark green leaves that gently arch at the tips. The broad leaves are speckled with dots and dashes of yellow color. In colder climates, bring 'Spek-tacular' indoors and enjoy as a houseplant.

    Name: Aspidistra elatior 'Spek-tacular'

    Growing Conditions: Light shade to full shade and well-drained soil

    Size: 30 inches tall

    Zones: 7-10

    Grow It With: Epimedium

    Source: plantdelights.com

    Image courtesy plantdelights.com

7/15
'Hudson Bay' Hosta

    Green and wide and gorgeous all over: 'Hudson Bay' is a big, showy hosta that brightens any shaded spot. If you like the old hosta 'Great Expectations', you'll love 'Hudson Bay', which grows faster and more vigorously. Heart-shape leaves feature a creamy white center surrounded by a dark green edge. 'Hudson Bay' grows about 20 inches tall and spreads out 3 feet, so give it room to show its stuff. It?s simply stunning planted in mass, edging a pathway, or grouped under shade trees. In May, plants produce long, slender stems topped with pure-white flowers that attract hummingbirds.

    Name: Hosta sieboldiana 'Hudson Bay'

    Growing Conditions: Partial sun to light shade and well-drained soil

    Size: 20 inches tall, 3 feet wide

    Zones: 4-8

    Grow It With: Epimedium

    Source: Find a local retailer at provenwinners.com

    Image courtesy provenwinners.com

8/15
'Solar Eclipse' Foamy Bells

    Fall in love with these lovely leaves! 'Solar Eclipse' features gorgeous, broadly scalloped leaves in a deep burgundy color with a startling chartreuse edge. This showy, nicely mounded plant really stands out in the garden and adds the wow factor to beds and borders. Also called foamy bells, heucherella provides your perennial garden and landscape with colorful mounds of fine foliage.

    Name: Heucherella 'Solar Eclipse'

    Growing Conditions: Full sun to full shade and well-drained soil

    Size: 16 inches tall, 16 inches wide

    Zones: 4-9

    Grow It With: Daylily

    Source: greatgardenplants.com

    Image courtesy terranovanurseries.com

9/15
'Goodness Gracious' Hosta

    What's the showiest style in hostas? Variegation: That lovely two-tone look that transforms simple hostas into showstopping garden specimens. 'Goodness Gracious' is a gorgeous variegated hosta that grows 20 inches tall and spreads 28 inches wide. It bears classic heart-shape leaves with a wide margin of chartreuse that contrasts nicely with the deeper green center. In early to midsummer, it bears light lavender flowers on long stems. Use 'Goodness Gracious' as a focal point in your shade garden.

    Name: Hosta 'Goodness Gracious'

    Growing Conditions: Partial sun to full shade and well-drained soil

    Size: 20 inches tall, 28 inches wide

    Zones: 3-9

    Grow It With: Solid-color hostas

    Source: Visit provenwinners.com to find a retailer near you.

    Image courtesy provenwinners.com

10/15
'Seducer' Hosta

    Looking for large and lovely leaves? 'Seducer' is a beautiful, large hosta with variegated oval leaves. The dark green leaves are slightly ruffled and feature a rich gold edge with just a trace of white between the gold and green that makes the colors stand out. In late summer, slender stems bear white tubular flowers. This big boy grows 26 inches tall and spreads out 3 feet wide. It's an excellent standalone standout in the garden. And it creates a verdant visual respite when planted in groups of three to five plants beneath a shade tree.

    Name: Hosta 'Seducer'

    Growing Conditions: Partial sun to full shade and well-drained soil

    Size: 26 inches tall, 3 feet wide

    Zones: 3-9

    Grow It With: Ligularia for a great contrast in texture

    Source: Visit provenwinners.com to find a retailer near you.

    Image courtesy provenwinners.com

11/15
Bristleleaf Sedge

    A native groundcover and wonderful naturalizer, this shade-and-sun-loving bristleleaf sedge fits in anywhere -- from woodland and rock gardens to perennial borders. Plants grow 6 to 8 inches tall and bear long, soft, threadlike foliage. In early spring, small whitish-green flower spikes appear. Plant in mass for a gorgeous green groundcover or as an edging plant. This hardy sedge tolerates dry conditions.

    Name: Carex eburnea

    Growing Conditions: Shade and well-drained soil

    Size: 6-8 inches tall and wide

    Zones: 2-8

    Grow It With: Hosta

    Source: Look for this variety at your local garden center.

    Image courtesy National Green Centre

12/15
Obovate beakgrain

    A Midwestern native, obovate beakgrain is a perennial grass that is being lauded for its usefulness in landscaping, in part because it loves shade. Commonly found in woodlands, this grass features narrow, smooth, shiny arching foliage that grows in 2- to 3-foot-tall clumps. This green ornamental grass turns gold in autumn and tan in winter. Obovate beakgrain is an excellent choice for mass plantings in shaded areas.

    Name: Diarrhena obovata

    Growing Conditions: Partial to full shade and well-drained soil

    Size: 2-3 feet tall and wide

    Zones: 4-8

    Grow It With: Bristleleaf sedge

    Source: Look for this variety at your local garden center.

    Image courtesy National Green Centre

13/15
'Rainbow's End' Hosta

    If you're looking for a bold dash of color for your shade garden, 'Rainbow's End' will fill the bill. This wildly variegated hosta sports bright yellow leaves with dark green margins. In summer, the centers brighten to a creamy white. 'Rainbow's End' forms a medium-size mound of attractive heart-shape leaves. In late summer, this hosta sends up showy red scapes topped with tubular dark lavender flowers.

    Name: Hosta 'Rainbow's End'

    Growing Conditions: Partial sun to full shade and well-drained soil

    Size: 11 inches tall, 21 inches wide

    Zones: 3-9

    Grow It With: Solid-color hostas

    Source: Look for this variety at your local garden center.

14/15
'Sparkler' Hosta

    Tuck this small, slender-leaf, variegated hosta in trough gardens and small containers. 'Sparkler' is a cute little sport of the hosta 'Fireworks'. It forms a miniature clump of slender leaves that are colored with narrow creamy-white to white centers around dark green margins. In mid- to late summer, 'Sparkler' blooms; it produces light lavender flowers on 8-inch stems. The leaves are heavy, making them more resistant to slugs.

    Name: Hosta 'Sparkler'

    Growing Conditions: Part shade to full shade and well-drained soil

    Size: 6 inches tall, 10 inches wide

    Zones: 3-9

    Grow It With: Solid-color hostas

    Source: Look for this variety at your local garden center.

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