Some perennials are at their best in warmer climates, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be used in colder areas for season-specific containers or grown with cool-crop annuals to add some unique offerings to a product mix. Oftentimes, the terms “tender perennials” or “temperennial” apply to crops that are perennial in tropical climates, usually Zone 7 to 8 or above, but grown as annuals in the south. Their biggest advantage is the flexibility they offer to growers to take advantage of early and late shoulder seasons.
“Because of [temperennials/tender perennials] annual-like existence in temperate climates, growers should plan their propagation to maximize gardeners bliss by having plants ready to sell as early as their climate warrants,” says Mary Vaananen, Manager at Jelitto Perennial Seeds.
Vaananen says she knows some growers who have been successful in generating excitement over temperennials, but she does not think temperennials’ perennial (or not) lifespan really figures into that excitement. Oftentimes, the term “temperennials” is more associated with marketing hype. And while temperennials exotic nature surely beckons to gardeners, it is important to remember that not all temperennials have that exotic bling.
Here are 11 new introductions hitting retail in 2017 that are hardy in Zone 6 and up. Those hardy in Zone 6 will tolerate some cold (-10°F to 0°F), depending on how they are used and where they are planted, while those in Zone 7 and up prefer it a bit warmer. Regardless, these varieties are strong performers that offer heat and drought tolerance, flower power, versatility, and more.