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Top Perennials 2015

Top 10 Sun Perennials


Baptisia x variicolor ‘Twilite Prairieblues’ (False Indigo)
  • Large clumps of minty green foliage give rise to spires of deep purple, lupine-like flowers with sunset-yellow highlights in midsummer

  • Vigorous, long-lived and low-maintenance, preferring a well-drained location; a real show-stopper!

  • 1.2-1.5m x 90cm, Zone 3


Calamagrostis x acutifolia ‘Eldorado’ (Feather Reed Grass)
  • Tidy, tall and narrow clumps of mid-green blades, streaked with vivid gold; tan flower spikes appear later in summer and persist through the winter if left above ground until spring 

  • Adds a graceful architecture to the garden, as well as interesting color and multi-season impact, all in a dependable and low-maintenance package; excellent for hot and dry areas

  • 1.2-1.5m x 60cm, Zone 3

Echinacea ‘Sombrero Salsa Red’ (Coneflower)
  • Vivid, solid red flowers with a deep maroon central cone appear in midsummer and continue through fall

  • Provides a deep, true red color that is hard to come by, with a long bloom period; requires very well-drained soil

  • 45-60cm x 30-45cm, Zone 3-4


Heliopsis helianthoides ‘Summer Pink’ (False Sunflower)
  • Sunflower-like, orange flowers with darker centers appear from summer to fall, offset by gorgeous pink foliage veined in dark green

  • A truly stunning and unusual selection; best in well-drained soil that is not too rich

  • 60cm x 45-60cm, Zone 2-3


Iris ‘Going in Circles’ (Dwarf Bearded Iris)
  • Bluish-lavender flowers with a deep crimson blotch on the falls in late spring to early summer

  • A stunning and unique selection of a rock garden staple, also useful for border edging; plant in well-drained soil with the rhizome exposed

  • 30cm x 30cm, Zone 2

Lilium ‘Red Dutch’ (Orienpet Lily)
  • Large, open-faced, burgundy-red flowers, edged in creamy yellow, in midsummer

  • Flowers have an incredible fragrance and are borne on very tall and sturdy stems; hardier than most Oriental lilies

  • 120cm x 30-45cm, Zone 3


Paeonia ‘Morning Lilac’ (Itoh Peony)
  • Enormous, semi-double, deep pink flowers with yellow stamens in early summer

  • Vigorous and very hardy, with sturdy stems and a high bud count on established plants

  • 100-120cm x 90-100cm, Zone 3


Phlox paniculata ‘Blue Flame’ (Garden Phlox)
  • Large clusters of fragrant, soft blue flowers in summer; reblooms if deadheaded

  • The panicles of blooms are reminiscent of hydrangeas and attract butterflies; plant in good quality, moist, well-drained soil; excellent disease resistance

  • 30-40cm x 45cm, Zone 3


Platycodon grandiflorus ‘Sentimental Blue’ (Balloon Flower)
  • Large, up-facing, bell-shaped, violet-blue flowers in summer, from whitish, balloon-like buds; reblooms if deadheaded

  • The tidy mounds of foliage will be loaded with flowers most of the summer, and look fabulous in rock gardens or border edges; moist, well-drained soil

  • 25-30cm x 30-45cm, Zone 3


Sedum ‘Cherry Tart’ (Stonecrop)
  • Intense, cherry-red foliage is accompanied by bright pink flowers from late summer through fall; foliage color is retained all season long if planted in full sun (southern exposure)

  • Superior choice for rock gardens and hot and dry areas

  • 10-15cm x 40-45cm, Zone 3


Top 10 Shade Perennials


Anemonella thalictroides ‘Schoaff’s Double’ (Rue Anemone)
  • Fully-double, pom-pom like flowers in an intense shade of pink; flowers over a long period in spring to summer

  • A small clump-former, excellent for woodland gardens, rock gardens or open shade, preferring a moist and humus-rich soil

  • 10-15cm x 15cm, Zone 3


Dicentra ‘Burning Hearts’ (Fernleaf Bleeding Heart)
  • Vivid, deep red, heart-shaped flowers appear late spring to summer, atop mounds of powder-blue, ferny foliage

  • Hands-down, one of the absolute best shade plants of all time; plant in moist, well-drained soil that is not too rich

  • 20-30cm x 30-35cm, Zone 3


Epimedium ‘Amber Queen’ (Bishop’s Hat)
  • Deep green, evergreen foliage emerges mottled in amber-brown, forming a tidy mound which is topped by delicate cantaloupe flowers

  • Bloom period is heaviest in spring, but reblooms sporadically throughout the summer; cut evergreen foliage back in early spring to better appreciate the flowers; amazing selection for dry shade

  • 30cm x 30-40cm, Zone 3

Hepatica transsilvanica (Liverleaf)
  • Puts on a show of denim-blue flowers starting in early spring and lasting for several weeks or more; semi-evergreen, lobed foliage

  • One of the first perennials to bloom; prefers moist, well-drained soil; do not cut back in fall

  • 15-25cm x 20-30cm, Zone 3


Heuchera ‘Forever Purple’ (Coralbells)
  • Forms a mound of rich purple, semi-evergreen, scalloped foliage with lighter highlights; the overall impression is a glittering, iridescent purple; stems of tiny pink flowers appear in summer

  • The best Heuchera variety to be introduced in several years; do not cut back in fall, instead remove any dead foliage in spring, and lift and replant every few years as plants start to climb out of the soil

  • 40-45cm (with flowers) x 45-50cm, Zone 3

Hosta ‘Curly Fries’ (Hosta)
  • Long, narrow, chartreuse-green foliage with wavy edges

  • A most unusual cultivar; provides a new texture seldom seen in shade gardens; 2016 Hosta of the Year winner from the American Hosta Growers Association

  • 30cm x 50cm, Zone 2


Hosta ‘Spartacus’ (Hosta)
  • Sea-green foliage, edged in soft yellow, boldly ribbed and delicately wavy-edged

  • A fabulous selection that simply outdoes many of its brethren, this superior larger Hosta is a fine choice for the middle to back of a border

  • 50cm x 120cm, Zone 2


Meconopsis x sheldonii (Himalayan Blue Poppy)
  • Poppy-like, sky-blue flowers with yellow centers in summer

  • Absolutely incredible, with a shade of blue very seldom seen; plant in rich, moist, well-drained soil, in a very shaded and cool area; remove the first year’s flower buds to allow the plant to establish before expending energy on blooming

  • 60-90cm x 45-60cm, Zone 3


Polygonatum odoratum ‘Fireworks’ (Solomon’s Seal)
  • Red, arching stems are clothed in green leaves which are streaked dramatically in white; fragrant, white, bell-shaped flowers appear in late spring

  • An eye-popping and seldom seen selection of a shade staple; dependable, vigorous, and easy to grow

  • 60-75cm x 90cm, Zone 2-3


Primula sieboldii (Asiatic Primrose, Von Siebold’s Primrose)
  • Clusters of intense pink flowers in spring to early summer; numerous selections are available with different colored flowers; scalloped foliage

  • One of the showiest primroses and seldom grown; at home in humus-rich soil that stays consistently moist; vigorous and hardy

  • 20-25cm x 30-45cm, Zone 3


Top 10 Vines


Aconitum hemsleyanum ‘Red Wine’ (Climbing Monkshood)
  • Hooded, deep red flowers in summer; deep green, glossy, divided foliage

  • A totally unique vine and a real conversation piece; ideal in partial shade against a heated foundation

  • 2.4-3m x 3-3.6m, Zone 4


Clematis alpina ‘Stolwijk Gold’ (Alpine Clematis)
  • Bell-shaped, blue flowers with white centers offset brilliant golden foliage in early summer

  • Excellent contrast for trellises, against darker walls or fences, or rambling as a groundcover; color is strongest in a sunny position

  • 1.8m x 1.2m, Zone 2


Clematis ‘Diamantina’ (Hybrid Clematis)
  • Fully-double, violet flowers with white centers repeat bloom through the summer

  • One of the better double selections, blooming freely even after a hard winter; plant against a heated foundation 6-8 inches deep

  • 1.5-1.8m x 90-120cm, Zone 4


Clematis integrifolia ‘Olgae’ (Solitary Clematis)
  • Bell-shaped, violet-blue flowers in summer; non-clinging habit (requires support to grow upright)

  • This beautiful plant looks great grown on a obelisk or trailing over retaining walls; easy to grow and hardy

  • 1.2-1.5m x 60-90cm, Zone 3


Clematis ‘Jackmanii Superba’ (Hybrid Clematis)
  • Large, full, reddish-purple flowers appear profusely from summer to fall

  • More vigorous and more floriferous than ‘Jackmanii’, with flowers that are fuller and with a slightly more reddish hue

  • 2.4-3.6m x 1.8-2.4m, Zone 3


Clematis ‘Jan Fopma’ (Hardy Clematis)
  • Bell-shaped, deep reddish-purple flowers with a lighter pink edge from midsummer to fall

  • A superb selection for trellises, obelisks, against fences, or even rambling as a groundcover; prune hard in spring

  • 1.5m x 90-120cm


Clematis ‘Joe Zary’ (Hardy Clematis)
  • Double, deep violet flowers late spring to fall

  • Vigorous, hardy, and free-blooming; simply one of the best Clematis on the market; no pruning required but best flower color is attained in partial shade

  • 2.4-3m x 1.2-1.5m, Zone 2


Clematis ‘Piilu’ (Hybrid Clematis)
  • Large, rose-pink flowers with lighter pink edging and yellow centers

  • Free-blooming and hardy for a hybrid type; also a compact grower; if old wood persists, first flush of blooms the following year will be double

  • 1.2-1.8m x 60-90cm, Zone 4


Clematis texensis ‘Gravetye Beauty’ (Hardy Clematis)
  • Exquisite crimson-red flowers in midsummer to fall

  • Vigorous growing; plant in rich, moist, cool, well-drained soil and prune hard in spring

  • 2.4-3.6m x 90-120cm, Zone 3-4


Clematis viticella ‘Polish Spirit’ (Hardy Clematis)
  • Masses of royal purple flowers in midsummer, reblooming in fall

  • An excellent performer and relatively low-maintenance; prune lightly each year to ensure even branching

  • 2.4-3.6m x 90-120cm, Zone 3-4






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