In 2018, we released a blog post called Perennial Perfection that listed and detailed some of our favorite perennials. It turned out to be one of our most popular blog posts. This led us to conclude that there must be quite a few perennial fans out there! Therefore, we’re back again with even more of our favorite Perennial varieties for 2019!
If you’ve never heard of Tecoma but you’re reading this, then it’s not too late! Tecoma, aka Yellow Bells, are native to Mexico, South America, and even Florida and they’re known for their incredibly prolific, tropical blooms. Traditional varieties can get humongous and they can do it pretty quickly. At maturity, some reach 15-20 feet tall!
All varieties of Tecoma need Full Sun exposure to thrive. 6 hours of direct sun at the least. Any less sun than this generally results in loose growth and reduced bloom potential.
Tecoma are heat-lovers, so they feel right at home in southern landscapes. However, they’re only moderately drought tolerant. This means that even when well-established they’ll require supplemental water in times of extended drought.
Additionally, they are sensitive to freezing weather. Traditional varieties tend to only be hardy down to USDA Zone 9a. Newer Cultivars, such as the two varieties from the Southern Living Plant Collection, have a greater cold tolerance. They can survive down to USDA Zone 8a. However, they may only be semi-evergreen in Zones 8a and 8b though, depending on the severity of the winter each year.
You might say, “Sounds interesting, but is there one that will fit in my landscape?” Well… yes! Semi-dwarf varieties bring the reliable blooming nature of Tecoma to a smaller scale. The Lydia Tecoma is one such semi-dwarf Tecoma with the characteristic “yellow bell” trumpet blooms.
Lydia is remarkably compact and maxes out at only 5-6′ H x 5′ W! So it fits nicely into mixed garden beds, containers, or as a maintenance-free specimen. Expect it to start blooming in spring and rebloom until the first frost of the year!
Although they are called Yellow Bells, they are capable of a whole range of warm colors. The Bells of Fire Tecoma (pictured above) is the second Tecoma from the Southern Living Plant Collection and it’s picked up a lot of steam in popularity recently. It features the same compact growth habit, extended bloom period, and cold tolerance as the Lydia. Where it differs is in its fantastic orange-red blooms. These colorful tubular flowers contrast beautifully with its light green foliage making it a perfect choice for anyone looking for a Tecoma with an extra dose of bold color.
Gerbera daisies are some of the most recognizable perennials around. Their blooms are simply picture-perfect, that’s all there is to it. However, they also have a bit of a reputation for being nearly impossible to care for. This creates a bit of friction in many gardeners minds. “I want those blooms, but I also want my plants to survive…” There are numerous things you can do to increase your chances of success, such as potting them in containers with quick drainage, trimming off old blooms, and planting them where they will receive plenty of sun (all morning sun in the south with very little afternoon sun). However, many people still tend to find long-term success elusive with Gerbera Daisies. So the good folks over at the Southern Living Plant Collection have been working overtime to find some new varieties that are better than ever!
Hence, we have the Garden Jewels Gerbera Daisies! These hybrid Gerbera Daisies are hardier than traditional varieties. They’re more drought tolerant, more heat and cold tolerant, and more pest and disease resistant. Therefore, they’re considerably easier to care for than the traditional Gerbera jamesonii.
Garden Jewels still have similar care requirements though. Good drainage and plenty of sun (morning sun in the south). Trim off old blooms to encourage new flowers and prevent old stalks from molding. Furthermore, southern gardeners in high humidity areas should consider planting them in a container to avoid soggy soil during times of high rainfall.
Fans of pink daisies should check out the Frosted Hot Pink Garden Jewels Gerber Daisy. It may be kind of a mouthful to say, but these blooms are an eyeful to behold! The inner and outer edges of their petals are crisp white, while the middles of the petals are a rich hot pink. So you get the “frosted” appearance they’re named for. Chances are they’re unlike any other Gerbera Daisy you’ve ever seen before!
You may not be familiar with the name Leucanthemum, but you may have heard of their more common name, Shasta Daisy. These herbaceous perennials come in numerous different species, but we’ll be focusing on the hybrid species Leucanthemum x superbum. This species was initially developed by Luther Burbank many years ago in the 1890s. The name came from Mount Shasta in California, which was near where Burbank was located. They’re known for their gorgeous white to yellow blossoms and long bloom period that lasts all summer and sometimes beyond! Some have crisp flat white petals, some have decadently ruffled golden petals, and some fall somewhere in between. Chances are that you’ll be able to find one that you fall in love with.
We love planting a large group of them as a border or mass planting. There are few sunnier sights than a huge mass of golden and white Leucanthemum blooms. Otherwise, they’re perfect for container plantings as well. However you use them, they’ll prove popular with pollinators as well.
We carry the Real Charmer Leucanthemum and Real Glory Leucanthemum. Both of these varieties are heavy bloomers, with a bloom season that lasts from Summer through Fall! The Real Charmer (pictured above) has lemon-cream colored, downward petals on the outside of the flower. Meanwhile, petite frilly petals stretch upward around the egg yolk yellow center. The Real Glory features similar blooms, except their petals are more white and are notably less curly. Their inner petals are smaller and more plentiful, creating a fuzzy sort of appearance. Both varieties have an increased disease resistance compared to conventional varieties.
Leucanthemum are hardy down to USDA Zone 5 and up to Zone 9 but expect them to go dormant yearly. Afterward, they emerge once again in spring for a new year of gorgeous growth and blossoms.
When talking about powerhouse blooming perennials, it’s almost impossible to leave out Garden Verbena. This is a hybrid species of the species Verbena x hybrida. They have prolific and petite bloom clusters, generally about 2 inches across. You can find them in all kinds of colors, red, yellow, white, blue, violet, and more! Expect these blooms to start appearing in late spring and continue to fall, often until the first frost of the season.
They only get about a foot tall and a couple of feet wide. So they’re perfect foreground plants. Use them at the front of a mixed garden bed, or plant them beside some low-border plants that only reach a couple of feet tall. They won’t obstruct your view of the plants behind them!
They thrive in the summer heat, and they’re known for their drought resistance as well.
We recommend the Endurascape line of Garden Verbena, which includes the Red EnduraScape Verbena, White Blush EnduraScape Verbena, and Purple EnduraScape Verbena. These are some of the most heavily blooming Verbena that money can buy! Their blooms are quite vibrant and tend to coat nearly the entire plant! Furthermore, they’re more heat-tolerant AND more cold-tolerant than traditional varieties. While some Verbena are only hardy down to USDA Zone 9, Endurascapes can survive down to USDA Zone 8b.
For gardeners outside of Verbena’s hardiness zone, consider overwintering them indoors. Either by planting them in a container or by digging them up at the end of the year.
Dwarf Bananas of the Genus Musa are something truly unusual for your landscape! Traditional Cavendish Bananas have a uniquely exotic appearance to them, but they grow rapidly and reach up to 20 feet tall. Dwarf varieties are perfect for capturing that same tropical appearance AND they do it better than the larger varieties!
Due to their warm-weather origins, Dwarf Bananas are usually only hardy from USDA Zones 9-12. But gardeners need not fret if they find themselves outside of these Zones. You have a couple alternative options. You can plant them in a container outside and bring them inside to a sunny window in winter. Or, after the first frost of the year, the plant should die back. At this point, dig up the tuberous roots and place them in a tub of clean sand indoors. Once warm weather returns, replant the bulb, then water and fertilize it to get it kicking off the new year once again!
The Poquito Banana is one of our favorite dwarf Musa Banana selections. New growth sports some really fantastic dark red spots. This red coloration fades as the leaves age, but fortunately, new leaves soon emerge with more color. Additionally, it only reaches about 3 feet high. So you have numerous opportunities to incorporate it into your landscape.
Everyone knows about Daylilies, I know, but that doesn’t make them any less remarkable! Sure their blooms may only last a day, but what they lack in staying power, they make up for in quantity and quality. Their blooms are prolific, large, and showy, which makes them quite popular with passersby and pollinators. If you spend a little time doing some planning, you can create a mixed daylily bed full of different blooms that bloom at different times to increase the length of time that you’re able to enjoy them.
They’re some of the most cold-hardy perennials around. Most varieties survive down to USDA Zone 4! They traditionally do this by going dormant in late fall or early winter and returning in spring. However, there are Evergreen varieties! One of these selections is the Evergreen Stella Daylily. This is an improved form of the Stella De Oro Daylily. In addition to maintaining its foliage year-round, this high-performance daylily blooms from Spring until Fall! It has medium-sized gorgeous bright yellow flowers that rebloom and rebloom.
Daylilies are road-salt and pollution tolerant, so they’re ideal for city gardeners. They also take wet soil and drought in stride. Therefore, they really are some of the hardiest bloomers you can plant.
Canna Lilies are a fantastic way to fill your summer landscape with color. They’re bold, they’re beautiful, and they’re perennials! Most varieties are hardy from USDA Zones 7-11. However, gardeners below USDA Zone 7 can grow them as annuals, or plant them in a container and bring them inside to a sunny window. These rhizomatous perennials feature huge, elaborate blooms and they’re ideal for drawing attention to your landscape.
Their leaves are large and wide with sheathing growth habit, similar to a banana tree. Some are a luminous green, while others sport attractive copper foliage. The Cannas with copper foliage contrast beautifully with their bright flowers, while the green ones are ideal for illuminating landscapes. Most varieties begin blooming in late spring or early summer and continue until the first frost of the year.
3 of our favorite Canna varieties are the Lemon Punch Canna, Orange Punch Canna, and Maui Punch Canna. All three have bright green leaves, however, they differ considerably in their blooms. The Lemon Punch has brilliant yellow blooms and the Orange Punch has tropical orange blooms. Meanwhile, the Maui Punch has the most intricately decorated flowers. Its petals are orangey yellow and heavily coated with bright red spots.
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