New Perennials for 2015

Top Shade Perennials
There's a new crop of perennial flowers ready for you to try in your garden. Here's a look at some of our favorite newcomers. Watch for them in garden centers this spring.

The Best New Perennials for 2015

We've scoured the latest plants and have come up with brand-new perennials sure to make an impact in your landscape this year.

Salvia 'Blue Marvel'

Prized for its deep blue flower spikes, perennial salvia has played a starring role in flower borders for generations. Trouble is, many older forms of this reliable perennial bloom heavily in the spring and then just sit there the rest of the season. Not so with 'Blue Marvel' salvia; this overachiever develops waves of oversize, bright blue blooms from spring to fall. It's an exciting new compact variety that makes a great edging or container plant.

Plant Name: Salvia nemorosa 'Blue Marvel'

Growing Conditions: full sun

Size: 10-12 inches tall and wide

Zone: 4-9

Grow it with: dwarf coreopsis or artemisia

Image: Ball

Gaura 'Little Janie'

Masses of bicolor, pink-and-white flowers held aloft over dark green foliage make 'Little Janie' gaura a top pick for borders or containers. 'Little Janie' is a compact variety, growing just 18 inches tall, that's awash in color all summer long. This vigorous newcomer is also highly attractive to butterflies and hummingbirds. In the North, 'Little Janie' should be treated as an easy-care annual.

Plant Name: Gaura lindheimeri 'Little Janie'

Growing Conditions: full sun

Size: 16-18 inches tall, 10 inches wide

Zone: 6-9

Grow it with: agastache or dwarf buddleia

Image: Ball

Echibeckia 'Summerina'

A breakthrough in plant breeding, 'Summerina' echibeckia is actually a cross between rudbeckia and echinacea, showcasing the best qualities of both parents. It has bold, upward facing, daisylike flowers that are produced on hardy plants that grow bigger and better each year. 'Summerina' is available in three different color varieties 'Summerina Orange', 'Summerina Yellow', and 'Summerina Brown'.

Plant Name: Echibeckia 'Summerina'

Growing Conditions: partial sun

Size: 18-20 inches tall, 15 inches wide

Zone: 6-9

Grow it with: Mix all three colors together.

Echinacea Butterfly 'Orange Skipper'

The eye-popping tangerine flowers of 'Orange Skipper' echinacea are named after a popular butterfly of the same color. So it's probably no surprise that its nectar-rich blooms will also attract clouds of hungry butterflies to your garden. 'Orange Skipper' is a sturdy, compact variety that develops a seemingly endless supply of single flowers that work as well in the vase as they do in the garden.

Plant Name: Echinacea Butterfly 'Orange Skipper'

Growing Conditions: full sun

Size: 15-18 inches tall, 18-24 inches wide

Zone: 5-9

Grow it with: campanula or monarda

Echinacea Double Scoop 'Mandarin'

When they were first introduced, double-flowering coneflowers weren't always as hardy as their single-flowering cousins. But all that's changed with the newest member of the Double Scoop series, 'Mandarin.' This rugged perennial will overwinter as far north as Zone 4, producing quantities of bright orange double flowers throughout the summer. Plus, 'Mandarin' has a stocky growth habit and won't topple after a heavy storm.

Plant Name: Echinacea Double Scoop 'Mandarin'

Growing Conditions: full sun

Size: 20-24 inches tall and wide

Zone: 4-9

Grow it with: echinacea Double Scoop 'Cranberry' or 'Raspberry'

Image: Ball

Lobelia 'Black Truffle'

Hummingbirds will flock to your garden when you grow 'Black Truffle' lobelia. This gorgeous perennial combines rich, dark maroon foliage with iridescent spikes of bright red, nectar-rich flowers. Commonly called cardinal flower, perennial lobelia thrives in moist soil so it excels in bog or rain gardens. The dark leaves of 'Black Truffle' keep it colorful before and after the flowers appear in August and September.

Name: Lobelia cardinalis 'Black Truffle'

Growing Conditions: full sun

Size: 3-4 feet tall, 2-3 feet wide

Zone: 3-8

Grow it with: buddleia or hardy hibiscus

Anemone Fantasy 'Pocahontas'

Add a burst of late-summer color to your garden with 'Pocahontas' anemone. This vigorous new variety produces armloads of double, bubblegum pink flowers from midsummer to fall. And, unlike older, taller varieties of anemone, 'Pocahontas' has stocky, compact stems that won't flop over on their neighbors. Use it in the front of the border or in containers for best effect.

Name: Anemone Fantasy 'Pocahontas'

Growing Conditions: full sun

Size: 12-18 inches tall, 18-24 inches wide

Zone: 5-8

Grow it with: aster or dwarf Joe Pye weed

Lavender 'Bright Luxurious'

Enjoy color and fragrance in beds, borders, and containers with 'Bright Luxurious' lavender. A reblooming Spanish lavender, 'Bright Luxurious' produces pale lavender flowers with small flaglike petals on the top of each bloom. It has bright green leaves and all parts of the plant are scented, especially when brushed or rubbed. 'Bright Luxurious' is a dense, compact variety that blooms all summer long.

Name: Lavandula stoechas 'Bright Luxurious'

Growing Conditions: full sun

Size: 10-12 inches tall, 8 inches wide

Zone: 6-9

Grow it with: silver thyme or golden oregano

Image: Ball

Baptisia 'Royal Candles'

Talk about big impact! 'Royal Candles' baptisia adds color to your garden from the moment it breaks dormancy in the spring when it shoots up dark purple stems clothed in bright green leaves. A few weeks later  'Royal Candles' sends up a seemingly endless supply of rich purple flower spikes. Baptisia 'Royal Candles' is a vigorous new hybrid form that eventually will grow up to 6 feet wide, so give it room to spread its wings.

Name: Baptisia 'Royal Candles'

Growing Conditions: full sun

Size: 4 feet tall, 6 feet wide

Zone: 3-8

Grow it with: peony or other baptisia

Image: Plant Delights Nursery

Digitalis 'Foxlight'

It's exciting when plant breeders give an old classic perennial a new look. Take 'Foxlight' digitalis, for example. Commonly called foxglove, digitalis is known for its super-tall spikes of pendulous pink or purple flowers. But now  'Foxlight' comes along sporting outward-facing, red, plum, or rose flowers on sturdy stems that grow only 20-24 inches high. All three varieties, 'Ruby Glow', 'Rose Ivory', and 'Plum Gold' are also prized for their willingness to bloom from April to September.

Name: Digitalis 'Foxlight'

Growing Conditions: full sun

Size: 20-24 inches tall and wide

Zone: 7-10

Grow it with: mix all three for the best show

Image: Ball

Euphorbia 'Jade Dragon'

When you plan your garden, be sure to include varieties that offer several seasons color. For example, 'Jade Dragon' euphorbia is an evergreen perennial with red-purple leaves in the spring that gradually turn blue-green as they mature. Plus, this colorful plant sends up huge, chartreuse flower heads in mid to late summer. It's deer-resistant, too!

Name: Euphorbia 'Jade Dragon'

Growing Conditions: full sun

Size: 36 inches tall, 30 inches wide

Zone: 6-10

Grow it with: ornamental grass or sedum

Image: Terra Nova

Salvia 'Violet Riot'

Here's a plant that truly lives up to its name. 'Violet Riot' perennial salvia is a wild riot of violet-purple flower spikes throughout the spring and summer. The spikes also sit atop a dense foundation of bright green, aromatic leaves. Use 'Violet Riot' in clumps or drifts throughout the border or plant it in containers on your deck or patio.

Name: Salvia x sylvestris 'Violet Riot'

Growing Conditions: full sun

Size: 20-24 inches tall, 24 inches wide

Zone: 4-8

Grow it with: coreopsis or daylily

Heuchera 'Grape Soda'

Brighten the darker corners of your landscape with 'Grape Soda' heuchera. This bubbly newcomer produces light purple leaves in the spring that gradually turn darker purple with silver highlights as the season progresses. 'Grape Soda' is also a heavy bloomer, sending up spike after spike of light purple flowers during the spring and summer.

Name: Heuchera 'Grape Soda'

Growing Conditions: partial shade

Size: 9 inches tall, 20 inches wide

Zone: 4-9

Grow it with: tiarella or hosta

Image: Terra Nova

Agastache 'Kudo's Gold'

It's always exciting when a classic perennial gets a new look. 'Kudo's Gold' agastache is a great example. It's more compact than standard agastache, commonly called hyssop or hummingbird mint, and produces wave after wave of bright yellow flowers; it's a delightful new color for the genus. 'Kudo's Gold' is also highly attractive to bees and butterflies.

Name: Agastache 'Kudo's Gold'

Growing Conditions: full sun

Size: 24 inches tall and wide

Zone: 5-10

Grow it with: echinacea or sedum

Image: Terra Nova

Digiplexis Illumination 'Berry Canary'

Last year the gardening world was knocked off its feet by the introduction of digiplexis Illumination 'Flame', a magnificent new cross between foxglove and its cousin, isoplexis. Well this year, the celebration continues with a new variety called 'Berry Canary.' Like the original digiplexis, 'Berry Canary' develops magnificent spikes of trumpet-shape, rosy-pink blooms from April to October. The flowers will also attract hummingbirds and butterflies to your garden.

Name: Digiplexis Illumination 'Berry Canary'

Growing Conditions: full sun, partial shade

Size: 24 inches tall and wide

Zone: 7-10

Grow it with: ornamental grass or penstemon

Salvia 'Pink Dawn'

Imagine a plant that you can practically ignore and it still produces bumper crops of bloom. Well, 'Pink Dawn' perennial salvia might be what you're looking for. This heat-, drought-, rabbit-, and deer-resistant introduction will reward you with clouds of cotton candy pink flowers from late spring to early summer. It has pretty, fragrant foliage, and is compact enough to work as well in containers as it does in the border.

Name: Salvia 'Pink Dawn'

Growing Conditions: full sun

Size: 16-20 inches tall and wide

Zone: 3-8

Grow it with: artemisia or dianthus

Coreopsis 'Firefly'

Cheer up drab spots in your landscape with 'Firefly' coreopsis. Smothered in yellow-and-red, bicolor blooms all summer long, 'Firefly' will make a delightful addition to borders and containers. Plus, it's more than just another pretty face. It's also super hardy and resistant to powdery mildew, a common complaint with older varieties of coreopsis.

Name: Coreopsis 'Firefly'

Growing Conditions: full sun

Size: 10 inches tall, 15 inches wide

Zone: 5-10

Grow it with: echinacea or rudbeckia

Image: Terra Nova

Bergenia 'Flirt'

Big things do come in small packages! 'Flirt' bergenia grows just 6 inches tall, but this tiny powerhouse produces masses of bright pink flowers every spring. Additional color is provided by the plant's shiny, near-black foliage that holds its color all winter long. Use 'Flirt' along the edge of path or tuck it into containers with other early-bird flowers.

Name: Bergenia 'Flirt'

Growing Conditions: full sun, partial shade

Size: 6 inches tall, 9 inches wide

Zone: 4-9

Grow it with: ajuga or heuchera

Image: Terra Nova

Lily 'Kaveri'

Sometimes when two plant families are combined the result is nothing short of amazing. To create 'Kaveri' lily, Dutch breeders crossed Asiatic and Oriental lilies. 'Kaveri' retains the upward-facing flowers and compact growth habit of the Asiatic parent and the large, fragrant flowers of its Oriental heritage. Its late summer eye-catching golden blooms are beautifully brushed with ruby-red highlights.

Name: Lily 'Kaveri'

Growing Conditions: full sun, partial shade

Size: 24-30 inches tall, 15 inches wide

Zone: 4-9

Grow it with: echinacea or garden phlox

Image: Longfield Gardens

Alyssum 'Golden Spring'

Just when you thought spring would never arrive, the bright yellow flowers of 'Golden Spring' alyssum burst into bloom. This easy-care creeper makes a great groundcover or rock-garden plant. It's resistant to heat and drought and holds its green foliage all year long.

Name: Alyssum wulfenianum 'Golden Spring'

Growing Conditions: full sun

Size: 6-8 inches tall, 12 inches wide

Zone: 4-9

Grow it with: moss phlox or daffodils

Image: Ball

Heuchera 'Frosty Morn'

The attractive green-and-yellow variegated leaves of 'Frosty Morn' heuchera make a great addition to shady borders or containers. In May and June, the plants send up spikes of bright red flowers that will lure hummingbirds to your garden.

Name: Heuchera sanguinea 'Frosty Morn'

Growing Conditions: partial shade

Size: 8-10 inches tall, 12 inches wide

Zone: 4-9

Grow it with: hosta or lamium

Image: Ball

Veronica 'Aspire'

The upright spikes of rose-pink flowers of 'Aspire' veronica will transform any sunny spot into a festival of color. In fact, this easy-care selection is so bright it practically glows in the garden. 'Aspire' grows only 6 inches tall, so it makes a superb groundcover or container plant.

Name: Veronica 'Aspire'

Growing Conditions: full sun

Size: 6 inches tall, 12 inches wide

Zone: 4-8

Grow it with: cranesbill geranium or dwarf coreopsis

Image: Terra Nova

Salvia 'Radio Red'

Hot, humid climates are no match for 'Radio Red' salvia. This heat-resistant variety sports fire-engine red blooms on tall, arching stems. It blooms from March to September and attracts flocks of hummingbirds in need of a quick snack. 'Radio Red' excels as a container plant, too. In the North, 'Radio Red' is best treated as an annual because the plant won't tolerate a hard freeze.

Name: Salvia greggii 'Radio Red'

Growing Conditions: full sun

Size: 16-18 inches tall, 18-24 inches wide

Zone: 7-10

Grow it with: coreopsis or rudbeckia

Image: Ball

Brunnera 'Silver Heart'

Give shady spots in your garden a makeover with 'Silver Heart' brunnera. Commonly called forget-me-not, this silver-leaf beauty has huge, thick, dark green leaves with glistening silver overlay. And if that's not enough, 'Silver Heart' reliably sends up spikes of deep blue flowers every spring. Unlike older forms of brunnera, 'Silver Heart' isn't afraid of heat and humidity. Just be sure to plant it in moist, well-drained soil and it will do fine.

Name: Brunnera macrophylla 'Silver Heart'

Growing Conditions: partial shade, shade

Size: 6-12 inches tall

Zone: 4-8

Grow it with: heuchera or hosta

Heucherella 'Leap Frog'

Wow! That's all we could say the first time we saw 'Leap Frog' heucherella. This spectacular hybrid between tiarella and heuchera sports bright chartreuse leaves prominently marked with burgundy. No two leaves look alike, and the overall effect is stunning. It reminds us of a plant you'd find growing wild in the jungles of Costa Rica, yet it's a super-hardy perennial anyone can grow in a partially shaded garden corner.

Name: Heucherella 'Leap Frog'

Growing Conditions: partial shade, shade

Size: 10-12 inches tall, 12-15 inches wide

Zone: 4-9

Grow it with: heuchera or hosta

Hemerocallis 'Desert Flame'

Does the world really need a new daylily? We think so, especially after we laid eyes on 'Desert Flame.' This fiery newcomer produces huge red-orange blossoms that can measure over 5 inches in diameter. 'Desert Flame' hemerocallis is a reblooming daylily variety, so you can enjoy new sparks of color in your garden from spring until fall.

Name: Hemerocallis 'Desert Flame'

Growing Conditions: full sun

Size: 24-36 inches tall and wide

Zone: 3-9

Grow it with: other daylilies or catmint

Shade plants are perfect for those tough spots in your yard. Learn about the best shade-loving perennials, including flowering shade perennials, partial shade perennials, and full-shade perennials.

Top Shade Perennials

Need a tried-and-true shade perennial? Look no further than these favorites.

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