19 New Deer-Resistant Perennials

Deer are a constant nemesis of gardeners, causing endless frustration after leaving a trail of half-chewed plants in their wake. While no perennial is completely deer-proof, these new perennials are a good place to start for dissuading deer in the landscape. Moreover, they are low-maintenance garden performers with showy blooms and bold color impact.

If you’re looking to grow perennials that solve landscape issues for your customers, consider these 17 new perennials, hitting retail in 2016 and 2017, for your product mix.




Baptisia ‘Decadence Pink Truffles’ (Walters Gardens)
Selected for its unique pink flowers, the new Pink Truffles adds a novel new color to the Proven Winners baptisia collection. Clear, soft-pink blossoms with a pale-yellow keel are produced on twelve-inch long spikes in late spring. The color complements other spring bloomers like peonies and perennial salvia. The pink flowers lighten to pale lavender with age. This easy care, drought-tolerant, deer-resistant perennial is a good choice for gardeners looking for low maintenance or native perennials. It is hardy in Zones 4 to 9, has a height of 2½ to 3 feet, and a spread of 2½ to 3 feet. Pink Truffles will hit retail stores in 2016.

Campanula Rapido Series (Kieft Seed)
The Rapido series, new to retail for 2016, delivers good young plant vigor while maintaining a compact habit. Plants have a very short harvest window. They are showy spring perennials with versatile use, well-suited to patio planters and gardens, as well as indoor potted plants. Rapido campanulas are ideal for high-volume, bench run pot-plant programs for 4-inch pots or gallons. They are available in Blue and White and hardy in Zones 3 to 9.

Carex ‘Feather Falls’ (Pacific Plug & Liner)
‘Feather Falls’ is completely new to the market,  but there will be some available this summer as liners to growers, so retail as early as Fall 2016. It is a vigorous, super-sized, variegated carex that will work in almost any landscape condition, cold or not. ‘Feather Falls’ proves its toughness in the summer months by tolerating full sun conditions without burning, and it also thrives in shady conditions. It is hardy in Zones 5 to 9.

Dendranthema ‘Harvest Igloo’ (Blooms of Bressingham)
‘Harvest Igloo’ is a 2016 introduction with a fiery, orange-bronze ball of color that announces fall year after year with hundreds of 2-inch decorative blooms. Typical of the Igloo series, this perennial mum grows 18 to 20 inches tall by 30 inches in diameter. It takes full sun and is hardy in Zones 5 to 9.

Dendranthema ‘Dainty Pink Igloo’ (Blooms of Bressingham)
Dainty Pink is a 2016 introduction with a new button-flower form for the Igloo perennial mum series. Plants are covered with 1-inch blooms and have more of them than other Igloos, offering unprecedented uniformity and a good flower show. Large, round plants thrive in full sun, growing to 20 inches tall by 30 inches wide. They are hardy to Zones 5 to 9.

Dendranthema ‘Sundance Igloo’ (Blooms of Bressingham)
Sundance is a 2016 introduction that is covered in sunshine with bright yellow daisy flowers. Plants are loaded with long-lasting 1½-inch flowers and this ball of blooms grows to 18 to 20 inches tall and 30 inches in diameter. Sundance takes full sun and is hardy in Zones 5 to 9.

Gaillardia ‘Mesa Red’ (Kieft Seed)
This new Red 2017 introduction (seed available May 1, 2016) from the popular Mesa series offers more consistent, redder color; more uniform vigor and habit; and one week earlier flowering. Mesa puts out lots of fast color on no-flop plants. The series’ uniformity makes for easier scheduling and shipping.

Helianthus ‘Double Whammy’ (Pacific Plug & Liner)
Available at retail in 2016, ‘Double Whammy’ is a perennial helianthus that will come back year after year in the garden after going dormant in the winter. Double flowers are pincushion-like and rich golden yellow. ‘Double Whammy’ will naturally bloom in late spring and throughout the summer. Being a taller plant, it is great for placement in areas where height is needed, such as at the back of a garden or in the middle of a centerpiece garden. It is hardy in Zones 5 to 8.

Helleborus ‘Frostkiss Penny’s Pink’ (Pacific Plug & Liner)
‘Penny’s Pink’ is named after highly acclaimed garden writer Penelope Hobhouse. Penny will stun you from January until April with her deep-pink flowers held on red stems and unique, pink-marbled foliage. The marbled foliage has been seen before in Helleborus × ericsmithii types but never with deep-colored flowers. ‘Penny’s Pink’ represents the very latest in breeding technologies for hellebores. It is hardy in Zones 5 to 8. Note: There will be retail availability for ‘Penny’s Pink’ in 2016, but the big push will be for 2017, as there will be large liner availability for growers.

Hibiscus ‘First Editions Summer Ruffle’ (Bailey Nurseries)
Summer Ruffle is a 2016 retail introduction. It has beautiful, variegated, blue-green foliage with creamy-white margins. Dark pink to lavender flowers add to the show in summer. At 3 to 4 inches in height and width, Summer Ruffle is a great feature plant for smaller gardens or in patio containers.

Hibiscus ‘Summerific Perfect Storm’ (Walters Gardens)
This new addition to the popular Summerific series (hitting retail in 2016) plant has a compact habit, huge flowers, and dark foliage. It shares many of the traits that made Summer Storm a popular plant, but coming up at only half to a third of the height. Its white, 7- to 8-inch wide flowers have a bright red eye that radiates out with the veins. Perfect Storm blooms from late summer into early fall. Its height is 3 feet with a spread of 4½ to 5 feet and it is hardy in Zones 4 to 9.

Lavandula ‘Blue Scent Improved,’ ‘Blue Scent Early’ (Syngenta Flowers)
Lavandula ‘Blue Scent Improved’ and L. ‘Blue Scent Early’ have deep, purple-blue spikes that top silvery green, mounded plants. The strong-scented Blue Scent series is hardy in Zones 5 to 9 and provides consistent, early flowering the first year.

Nepeta grandiflora ‘Summer Magic’ (Plants Nouveau)
Nepeta ‘Summer Magic’ blooms and blooms all summer. The upright, deep-lavender blooms are held high above the grass-green foliage and never flop. This plant always looks great in a container.

Sedum ‘Dark Magic’ (Terra Nova Nurseries)
‘Dark Magic’ is a short and upright variety with glossy, red-black leaves and huge, dark-pink inflorescences. It has multiple crowns with an arrow-like, compact habit. Foliage height is 12 inches and spread is 15 inches. Flower height is 20 inches. ‘Dark Magic’ grows well in full sun and is hardy in Zones 4 to 9. It is a 2015 introduction available for retail in 2016.

Sedum ellacombianum ‘Cutting Edge’ (Intrinsic Perennial Gardens)
Virtually static plants start with bright, butter-yellow edges and hints of pink in spring. Yellow edged, bright-green foliage on mounding plants that are 6- to 8-inches tall and spreading over 12-inches wide look good from Spring to Fall, providing a bright, contrasting plant for full sun to part shade.

Sedum ‘Pillow Talk’ (Intrinsic Perennial Gardens) 
Substantial plants with hybrid vigor reach 18- to 24-inches tall and wide. Gray-green foliage is also larger and held on rose colored stems that at times can have reddish edges. Large 5- to 6-inch flower heads of deep pink and magenta stand out from the crowd. Fall color of chartreuse and pink foliage, too. ‘Pillow Talk’ is resistant to Rhizoctonia. It grows best in full sun to light shade and well-drained soil.

Veronica ‘Ronica Dark Pink’ (Danziger)
Veronica ‘Ronica Dark Pink’ boasts an attractive upright habit that showcases its vibrant magenta flower spikes. Dark Pink requires no vernalization and provides good general resistance to foliage diseases. It performs well in pots, combinations, and landscapes alike. ‘Ronica Dark Pink’ is hardy to Zone 4.

Veronica ‘Vernique Shining Sea’ (Green Fuse Botanicals)
Veronica ‘Vernique Shining Sea’ is a unique new variety. It possesses mid-blue flowers and a few white petals peek through the overall blue, giving it a bicolor effect. Like all of the Vernique series, Shining Sea plants require no vernalization (cold treatment) to flower and are programmable. Their garden height is 12 to 18 inches.

Viburnum ‘First Editions Opening Day Doublefile’ (Bailey Nurseries)
Opening Day Doublefile is a 2017 retail introduction. It is a compact shrub that is covered with baseball size, snowball-like flowers that open with a tinge of green and quickly mature to pure white. Plants are tight in habit with dark-green foliage that turns beautiful shades of cabernet in the fall.


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