The perennials category continues to increase in size at California Spring Trials. Most plants are being chosen or bred for first-year flowering, drought and heat tolerance and foliage interest. As with the annuals category, there are a multitude of outstanding new introductions. Take a look at some examples. …
Coreopsis ‘Li’l Bang Daybreak’ (Skagit Gardens)
At just 18 inches tall, ‘Li’l Bang Daybreak’ makes a big impact. Single red flowers are edged with vibrant yellow-orange. Consumers will like the long bloom time and drought tolerance.
Nepeta ×faassenii ‘Cat’s Meow’ (Proven Winners)
This neatly compact, rounded nepeta has sky-blue flowers from early summer into fall. At 20 inches tall, it’s perfect for the front of a border or container.
Heucherella ‘Copper Cascade’ (Terra Nova)
A beautiful trailing heucherella with rosy, copper-gold foliage, ‘Copper Cascade’ is ideal as a groundcover or in hanging baskets. It grows just 8 inches tall but spreads to 32 inches. Hardy in Zones 4 to 9, it is rust-resistant and vigorous.
Alcea ‘Spring Celebrity Lemon’ (American Takii)
At just 30 to 36 inches tall, Spring Celebrities hollyhocks are bushy and compact. They bloom in the first year, with lovely double, ruffled flowers in a variety of pastel colors. ‘Lemon’ is the newest color in the series. Hardy in Zones 4 to 8.
Digitalis Dalmation Mix (Kieft Seed)
Kieft Seed has added two improved colors, a mix and an improved purple, for a complete series of uniform digitalis. Fast-to-finish, compact and well branched, the Dalmation series is both grower- and retailer-friendly. It reaches 16 to 20 inches tall and is hardy in Zones 5 to 9.
Lavandula angustifolia ‘Superblue’ (Darwin Perennials)
‘Superblue’ has one of the deepest blue flowers on an L. angustifolia. Another great feature of ‘Superblue’ is that there’s no need to shear, so it is much easier to produce. It has a wonderful scent and vivid color for retail.
Phlox paniculata ‘Early Start Purple’ (Fides Oro)
Purple is the newest color in this impressive series of phlox bred by Bartels Stek. The Early Start series does well in most parts of the country and does not need vernalization. Other colors include Light Pink, Pink and Velvet.
Lavandula ‘With Love’ (Pacific Plug & Liner)
This is a gorgeous lavender, bred in Australia, with two-toned light and dark purple flowers. It has a compact, mounded habit along with an extended bloom time and excellent disease resistance.
Gaura ‘Gaudi Pink’ (Florensis)
This is a member of a beautiful series that has a compact habit and grows to just a foot tall. Nicely branched with abundant, clear-colored flowers, this gaura will bloom most of the summer.
Begonia ‘Painter’s Palette’ (Terra Nova)
Wide, multi-colored leaves painted with black, white, red and green make this a standout foliage plant for shady container plantings. It grows to 16 inches high and 16 inches wide.
Helenium ‘Short ‘n ‘Sassy’ (Skagit Gardens)
Bright flowers glow with sunny color on an upright and compact plant. At 12 to 18 inches tall, ‘Short ‘n ‘Sassy’ is a shorter version of the stately helenium. It is long-blooming and starts earlier than most other members of this genus.
Rudbeckia Sahara Mix (Thompson & Morgan)
Sahara is a new semi-double rudbeckia mix with a range of flower colors — from caramel to a soft pinkish red. Like all rudbeckias, it has terrific heat tolerance. It grows to about 24 inches tall and flowers from mid-summer until frost.
Penstemon hartwegii Arabesque Series (Syngenta Goldsmith)
A perennial with the growing ease of an annual, this new penstemon series requires no vernalization. It has excellent, strong branching and a fast, reliable crop time, making production and shipping easy. Plus, it has gorgeous gloxinia-type flowers in Appleblossom, Pink, Red and Violet.
Begonia Shadow King Series (Green Fuse)
Green Fuse has added some spectacular colors to its Shadow King line. ‘Lava Red, ’Cool White’ and ‘Green-pink Tips’ are new additions to the series. These are excellent for pot and patio culture.