Five Perennials To Consider

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Five Perennials To Consider

Yes, I know all the ordering has been done, and the bills are almost paid, and perhaps you can’t afford to use up any more money at this time of year. However, if you still have a few more dollars to spend, you might as well buy the good stuff.

Here are five perennials I recommend. Each won the prestigious Classic City Award from the University of Georgia Trial Gardens, so if these are not in your greenhouse now, there is still time. Many more can be found on our website.

The best of the best annuals, otherwise known as Classic City Annuals, can be found at www.ugatrial.hort.uga.edu.

1. Rudbeckia ‘Henry Eilers’
‘Henry Eilers’ is a terrific new perennial cone flower with narrow petals and a handsome center. They are bullish out of the ground and will start flowering in late spring and mid summer. It can easily be cut back if it gets too tall.

2. Coreopsis ‘Route 66′
A bread and butter group of plants for most growers and landscapers, the tick seeds are usually yellow. This one is from the same family of plants as the highly popular ‘Moonbeam,’ but ‘Route 66′ has red and yellow flowers. It is also long blooming. Easily grown in a container, a single pinch in the spring will help with branching.

3. Heuchera ‘Georgia Peach’
‘Georgia Peach’ features a “wow” color. It looks fabulous in the container and equally good in the landscape. Among the many excellent coral bells, this is one of the best.

4. Echinacea ‘Gum Drop’
How many cone flowers can one person stand? It’s hard to say, but they don’t appear to be going anywhere soon. ‘Gum Drop’ has an excellent double red form, and it tolerates all sorts of abuse. It flowers at least twice in the season. There have been so many complaints about poor performance and, particularly, lack of overwintering that people are noticing. As a grower, you must keep the “fancy” echinaceas for at least a year. Landscapers should plant only in the spring.

5. Phlox ‘Peppermint Twist’
‘Peppermint Twist’ is a terrific new dwarf summer phlox. I love ‘Peacock White’ but I was really impressed with this bicolor, 2- to 3-inch mildew-resistant offering. ‘Peppermint Twist’ flowers well, ships well and look good in a container. I see this as a definite growth market in this important genus.

As I compiled this list of five perennials to consider, I quickly realized every one of these fabulous plants is a nativar. So, if people are still giving you a hard time because you are promoting natives, ignore them. Ignorance is not a sin. Who needs to listen to it?

Allan Armitage (allan@greenhouse grower.com) is a professor in the Department of Horticulture at the University of Georgia, Athens, Ga.

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