16 Perennials Your Customers Will Love in 2020

One of the highlights of the Perennial Plant Symposium each year is the “New to the Market” Forum, which allows perennial breeders and suppliers to highlight their hottest new offerings. Greenhouse Grower has already featured several of them, and here are a few more you should be considering for 2020 (check out the slideshow above for images of each).

Canna ‘Vanilla Cabana’ (J. Berry Nursery)
Propagation method: Tissue culture
Hardiness: Zone 7
Dimensions: 12 inches by 12 inches
Plant habit: Consistent and compact
Cultural conditions: Heat and drought tolerant once established

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Canna ‘Vanilla Cabana’ offers a compact habit, repeat blooming, and beautiful foliage. It is low maintenance and virus-free indexed. This canna is ideal in a mass for landscape plantings, as an outstanding specimen plant, or in a container garden feature.

Vernonia ‘Summer’s Surrender’ (Chicagoland Grows)
Propagation methods: Readily propagated by shoot-tip cuttings taken in early to late June in Zone 5.
Hardiness: Zones 4 to 8
Dimensions: Five-year-old plants measured 48 inches tall and 74 inches wide.
Cultural conditions: Plant in full sun and in a location with good air circulation. ‘Summer Surrender’ has proven adaptable to both moist and dry soil and has exhibited excellent resistance to rust and powdery mildew.

‘Summer’s Surrender’ is no shrinking-violet perennial. It inherits the bushy habit of V. lettermannii combined with the more robust plant size, larger foliage, and larger capitula of V. arkansana. The attractive, olive-green leaves grow to 5 inches long and 1/2-inch wide. With excellent resistance to both powdery mildew and rust, the foliage remains clean and attractive all summer and fall. Dark-purple florets are packed into nearly 1-inch-wide flower heads, which are borne in profusion on airy inflorescences from early September to early October in northern Illinois. A diversity of butterflies, moths, and bees are attracted to ‘Summer’s Surender.’ Use this selection in the back of larger perennial or mixed borders, near lake edges and other moist sites, in pollinator gardens, and in any other full sun situation that calls for a robust yet attractive and uniform perennial plant.

Vernonia ‘Summer’s Swan Song’ (Chicagoland Grows)
Propagation methods: Readily propagated by shoot-tip cuttings taken in early to late June in Zone 5.
Hardiness: Zones 4 to 8
Dimensions: Three-year-old plants measured 28 inches tall by 35 inches wide, and five-year-old plants measured 31 inches tall by 43 inches wide.
Plant habit: Matures into a low, dense mound with many upright stems. Plants have not lodged in trials.
Cultural conditions: Plant in full sun and in a location with good air circulation. ‘Summer’s Swan’ has proven adaptable to both moist and dry soils and has exhibited excellent resistance to rust and powdery mildew.

Similar in adaptability, bushiness, and fine texture to the popular and durable selection Vernonia lettermannii ‘Iron Butterfly,’ ‘Summer’s Swan Song’ grows somewhat larger, has larger capitula, and never lodges due to the elongated and interlocking inflorescence branches. The stems, leaves, and inflorescence branches take on a dark-red cast in full sunlight, adding to its display. The 1/3-inch-wide capitula with their dark-purple florets are born in profusion for five to six weeks from early September to mid-October in northern Illinois. A diversity of butterflies, moths, and bees are attracted to ‘Summer’s Swan Song.’ Use this selection individually or massed in perennial or mixed borders, in pollinator gardens, near lake edges, and in other moist sites as long as well drained, in drier sites, and in any full sun situation that calls for a midsized, late-summer blooming and uniform perennial plant.

Sedum rupestre ‘Prima Angelina’ (Darwin Perennials)
Propagation methods: Vegetative cuttings
Hardiness: Zones 4a to 9b
Dimensions: Height 3 to 6 inches, width 6 to 8 inches
Plant habit: Spreading

A sport of ‘Angelina,’ this variety offers bright color that holds throughout the season. Sedum ‘Prima Angelina’ has a denser, more compact habit, and more vivid golden color than ‘Angelina.’ It is low-growing and fast-spreading, with fleshy, needle-like foliage. Ideal for 1- to 2½-quart pot sizes. Plant Sedum ‘Prima Angelina’ in a sunny garden location or use as an accent in mixed succulent containers.  It provides a drought-tolerant focal point or groundcover in the garden.

Nepeta ‘Blue Prelude’ (Darwin Perennials)
Propagation methods: Vegetative unrooted cuttings
Hardiness: Zones 5a to 9a
Dimensions: Spacing 36 to 48 inches, height 28 to 36 inches
Plant habit: Mounded

‘Blue Prelude’ has a compact and mounded habit its first year. Then it scales up to 3 feet the second year in the landscape. It is a first-year flowering, robust plant in the landscape with large flowers and a medium controlled habit. It features a long flowering season and attracts pollinators with its fragrant foliage. Ideal for 2½ quart and 1-gallon pot sizes.

Hosta ‘Funny Mousse’ (De Vroomen Garden Products)
Propagation method: Division
Hardiness: Zones 3 to 8
Dimensions: Height 4 to 6 inches, width 8 inches
Cultural conditions: Hosta like half shade to full shade conditions. Keep slugs out of your garden.

The Mousse series is a great small-group Hosta ideal for small gardens and in containers for patios and balconies.

Tulip Pride Varieties (De Vroomen Garden Products)
Propagation method: Two-year bulb crop
Hardiness: Zones 3 to 8
Dimensions: Height 22 inches, with 5-inch blooms
Cultural conditions: Flower bulbs in general need good drainage. Don’t overwater in the spring; keep them dry. Don’t remove the foliage until it turns yellow.

Each Pride variety is a sport from the original tulip, so they all are about the same height and flower at the same time. Pride tulips give the most prestigious tulip display and are a great mainstay in perennial beds and a nice accent in your garden.

Echinacea Butterfly Series (Gardenworld, Inc.)
Hardiness: Zones 4 to 9
Dimensions: Height 18 inches
Plant habit: Compact growth habit

The two-toned flowers are pink near the center and coral-orange. They mature to a stunning raspberry pink. Compact, free-branching plants with sturdy stems bloom mid-summer to late fall.

Hemerocallis ‘Double Pardon Me’ (Gardenworld, Inc.)
Hardiness: Zones 3 to 9
Dimensions: Height 18 inches

‘Double Pardon Me’ is a mid-season bloomer named after the popular ‘Pardon Me.’ This new variety features large, deep-red flowers like its namesake but with as many as 18 tepals for a unique twist.

Carex × ‘Feather Falls’ (Pacific Plug and Liner)
Propagation method: Tissue culture
Hardiness: Zones 5 to 9
Dimensions: 18 to 24 inches by 18 to 24 inches
Plant habit: Mounding
Cultural conditions: Plants have not shown any disease or pest issues.

Carex ‘Feather Falls’ is a completely different animal from other Carex on the market. It is super vigorous for growers and can finish in pots in as little as eight weeks. Plants are uniform with clean foliage, so the crop can easily be row run. For gardeners, this grass is a great addition in the ground or in containers. It will stay green year-round and not brown out like other Carex. ‘Feather Falls’ can tolerate shade, sun, heat, and cold and is a great landscape plant overall.

Euphorbia ‘Miner’s Merlot’ (Pacific Plug and Liner)
Propagation Method: Cutting
Hardiness: Zones 6 to 9
Dimensions: 18 to 24 inches by 18 to 24 inches
Plant habit: Mounding
Cultural conditions: Aphids can be an issue as with all Euphorbia

Euphorbia ‘Miner’s Merlot’ is a super-dark variety with ‘Merlot’ new growth. The habit is vigorous and propagation, therefore supply, is not challenging like other dark varieties on the market. It can be used in a mixed perennial border or as a standalone in containers.

Dianthus ‘Pink Fire’ (Plants Nouveau)
Propagation method: Unrooted cuttings
Hardiness: Zones 3 to 9
Dimensions: 6 to 8 inches tall, 18 to 20 inches wide
Plant habit: Mounding, yet ground hugging
Cultural conditions: Prefers well-drained soil and full sun

Dianthus ‘Pink Fire’ has enormous, fully-double, fiery-pink carnation flowers that emerge from a steely blue base of foliage. Flowers do not flop, and plants have a super-strong clove fragrance.

Sedum ‘Mojave Jewels Ruby’ (Plants Nouveau)
Propagation method: Tissue culture, unrooted cuttings
Hardiness: Zones 3A to 8
Dimensions: 12 to 13 inches tall; 15 to 18 inches wide
Plant habit: Upright, yet compact and mounded
Cultural conditions: Heat and drought tolerant, although it can take moist soil and a good bit of rain

The purple foliage of ‘Ruby’ is like no other and the habit is non flopping. Its nearly black foliage in full sun and red flowers make for a stunning combination.

Heuchera ‘Northern Exposure Sienna’ (Terra Nova Nurseries)
Propagation method: Tissue culture
Hardiness: Zones 4 to 9
Dimensions: 13 inches by 21 inches
Plant habit: Mounding
Cultural conditions: Increased hardiness and rust resistance; moderately well drained, organic soil types are best; be careful not to bury the crowns when planting

This newest addition to the Northern Exposure series of Heuchera was bred specifically for colder climates, but also has tremendous success in some of the warmest trialing environments. Long lived, hardy, and rust resistant, this plant works well for maintaining clear lines in the landscape. It features crisp, fresh-green leaves in the spring and fall that blend to a beautiful sienna orange in the summer. This showy garden plant was bred from hardy H. richardsonii and looks good longer in the season than other Heuchera.

Heucherella ‘Peach Tea’ (Terra Nova Nurseries)
Propagation method: Tissue culture
Hardiness: Zones 4 to 9
Dimensions: 12 inches by 22 inches
Plant habit: Mounding
Cultural conditions: Naturally rust resistant, ‘Peach Tea’ prefers well-drained, humus rich soils. Dry the soil moderately between waterings. Be careful not to bury the crowns when planting.

With beautiful clean colors on a tough garden favorite, ‘Peach Tea’ is an excellent addition to Heucherella ‘Sweet Tea’ plantings for contrast. It is vigorous and compact but gives off a glow of daintiness in the landscape. Large, peachy-red leaves contrast beautifully with cream-white flowers.

Spigelia marilandica ‘Little Redhead’ (Walters Gardens)
Propagation method: Unrooted cutting
Hardiness: Zones 5b to 9
Dimensions: Height 24 to 28 inches, width 20 to 24 inches
Plant habit: Vase-shaped
Cultural conditions: Full sun to part shade

Spigelia marilandica ‘Little Redhead’ is a superior selection to the species with dark-green foliage, uniformity, and beautiful, dark-red tubular flowers. It is best for well-drained soil as a mid-border plant.