May 14, 2018
Perennials with Season-Long ImpactBy Jasmina Dolce

The perennial category continues to gain steam at the consumer level. Homeowners want “permanent” landscape fixtures. They also want low maintenance and season-long color.

Vaughn Fletcher, a regular contributor to sister publication GPN, visited Colorado State University’s trial garden last fall to find out which perennial plants performed best throughout the season. He shared his evaluation, which was based on summer hardiness and floriferousness, in the April issue of GPN. The perennials he highlights in his article were still at their peak into late September.

The CSU trial garden is an official All-America Selections display garden and trial ground, and the perennial demonstration garden is adjacent to the flower trial. The garden is comprised of more than 1,000 different taxa, and new introductions to the program are tested for three years before becoming a part of the permanent display.

If you’re looking to expand your perennial offering, look no further. Here are some proven performers that demonstrated superior performance, along with commentary from Fletcher. To read his full evaluation, click here.

Agastache ‘Rosie Posie’
Walters Gardens

This compact, mounded plant was the most floriferous agastache in the trial. The bicolor flowers were impressive and well positioned above the foliage to create a colorful canopy from midsummer through fall. It is a pollinator magnet.

Dendranthema speciosa ‘Dainty Pink Igloo’
Must Have Perennials

One of the most colorful plants in the garden, this hardy mum presents masses of deep pink, button flowers. Hardy to Zone 5, it is excellent in mass plantings and mixed borders. Blooms will continue until frost providing much-needed color.

Kniphofia ‘Mango Popsicle’
Terra Nova Nurseries

This award-winning variety is quite dramatic in the landscape with mango-orange blooms that are unique and eye catching. It is hardy to Zone 5, extremely drought tolerant and a hummingbird magnet.

Lavender ‘Super Blue’
Darwin Perennials

‘Super Blue’ features deeply saturated blue flowers on short flower spikes, intense fragrance, and heat and drought tolerance. The flowers are stacked, creating excellent color impact.

Leucanthemum ‘Sweet Daisy Christine’
Dümmen Orange

This cultivar is first year flowering and naturally compact, maturing at 10 to 12 inches. Brilliant white blooms with yellow centers are extremely eye catching. Hardy to Zone 5, it is more vigorous in beds with excellent upright sturdy branching.

Schizachyrium ‘Standing Ovation’
North Creek Nurseries

This Little Bluestem variety was outstanding in the trial with thick blades and sturdy stems creating a nice vertical accent. The foliage was bluish green and purple at the base. This grass is native and hardy to Zone 3.

— Jasmina


Jasmina Dolce

Jasmina Dolce is managing editor of GPN magazine. She can be reached at [email protected]


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