Exciting new perennials for the new gardening year

Rob Zimmer
Night Sky petunia promises to be a hot seller in 2017. A rich, deep purple with variable white spots, this petunia made a big splash last growing season, quickly selling out in many garden centers.

New gardening catalogs are arriving almost daily now and garden centers statewide are stocking up on new seeds for the spring gardening season, as well as for starting indoors.

This week, I'll take a look at some exciting new perennial varieties that should be available at garden centers this spring and summer. While it's too early to tell exactly where to find them, if something interests you, be sure to ask your local garden center to order it for you. Or, order online by doing a search by plant name to find sources.

Every year, dozens of new varieties of plants hit the market, all designed to feed your plant addiction. Here are some tempting perennials to try in 2017.

Eccentric coneflower, one of the double-flowering, or pompom types, is one of man new coneflower additions coming in 2017.

Coneflower creations

Each year, more and more coneflower varieties become available to gardeners. Breeders of these plants keep busy concocting exciting new hybrids every year. This year, many of the new varieties are of the double flowering, or pom-pom flowering form. Eccentric is ravishing in clear, bright red, while its companion, Yellow Eccentric, boasts a bright yellow color. Cherry Fluff features pink petals highlighted with white for a delicious combination. Speaking of delicious, another new coneflower, Mozzarella, features a creamy, light yellow color, perfectly matching the tasty cheese.

Astilbe 'Cappuccino'

Another New perennial, especially for shade, is the deliciously named Cappuccino astilbe. This variety features dark, mocha colored foliage with creamy white blooms.

'Green Mystique' daylily

Green is one of the hottest flower colors in plant breeding and this new introduction is one of the first green colored daylilies. The light green hue washes over a white background giving an unusual effect. Heavy, ruffled edges create a beautiful and elegant impression.

A hosta miracle

The first hosta variety with yellow flowers hits the market this year and will be in hot demand. Miracle Lemony hosta is the world's first to feature blooms in clear yellow. Most hostas feature flowers in white, purple or lavender. The yellow, spidery blooms rise above shiny green foliage in summer.

Raspberry Sundae

While it has been around a few years in small numbers, Raspberry Sundae is one of the hottest hostas available and should be widely available in 2017. The name is quite fitting as this hosta features raspberry red stems with striking white leaves edged and feathered in bright green. The red coloration often leaches into the leaf surface, creating a beautiful look.

Exciting Elderberries

If you love elderberries in the garden, there are a few exciting new varieties hitting the market. Elderberries with foliage in bright, lime green with a thin red edge are available, as well as a few new varieties with variegated foliage in green and white.

Flamboyant milkweeds

Milkweed have been some of the hottest plants over the past few years, namely because of the plight of the monarch butterfly. Flashy ornamental milkweeds are available to spice up your butterfly garden this year. Hello Yellow is a bright, clear yellow version of orange milkweed, or butterfly weed. Hairy Balls milkweed, also called Swan milkweed, takes its name from his seed pods, which are large, ball shaped spears covered in wiry hair or spines. This plant will surely be the talk of your garden. Be aware that this plant should be treated as an annual, those seeds can be saved and started for a new crop.

Variegated plants are becoming increasingly popular. More new varieties are set to hit the market in 2017 including elderberries, lavender and conifers with variegated foliage.

Iris 'Dark Aura'

A gorgeous take on the classic blue flag iris, this variety feature is the same rich blue flowers but with deep, bluish black foliage. This richly colored foliage remains beautiful all season long, even after the bloom.

I'll have more exciting new plants for the coming year in next week's column.

Find Rob Zimmer online at www.robzimmeroutdoors.com. On Facebook at www.facebook.com/RobZimmerOutdoors.