Category Archives: New Plants

Noteworthy introductions for 2010

Every year growers and propagators introduce hundreds of new plants to the trade.  A lot of us have a hard time thinking that our favorite Geranium or Hydrangea could be improved upon; but they can.  Here is a look at six of this years’ introductions that are worth thinking about installing in your own garden this year, and maybe even removing an old favorite to see what the new guys can do.

Echinacea purpurea ‘Milkshake’ – Milkshake Double White Coneflower

This is an amazing new Coneflower introduced by AB Cultivars.  The beauty of this plant, aside from its interesting white pompom shaped blooms, is how long they last.  While most Echinacea bloom July through the end of August ‘Milkshake’ starts showing color at the beginning of June all the way through September.

Height/Spread:  30-36” x 24-36”

Exposure: Full sun

Soil:  Average well drained garden soil

Hardiness zones: 5-9

Mahonia eurybracteata ‘Soft Caress’ – Soft Caress Mahonia

This is an amazing plant!  I saw the original plant two years ago and have been waiting for Novalis to introduce it.  If you are familiar with the ‘Oregon Grape Holly’ you may have a hard time believing these two are cousins by looking at the foliage of ‘Soft Caress’.  This native of Japan gets covered in a similar cluster of yellow flowers in early winter.  Mahonia ‘Soft Caress’ is marginally hardy for us but is a fantastic container plant that can be taken in during the winter or allowed to come back from its rootstock every year as a low groundcover.  I’m very excited to plant this in my trial gardens.

Height/Spread:  3’x3’

Exposure: Part shade

Soil:  Moist but well drained

Hardiness zones: 7-11

Acer palmatum ‘Ryusen’ – Ryusen Japanese Maple

Acer p. ‘Ryusen’ is an introduction from plantsman Ozzie Johnson for Itsaul Plants and is being distributed by Novalis.  Ryusen has green palmate leaves and is a weeping form.  It has a very rapid, upright growth habit that makes it perfect for narrow spaces.  The best part of this Japanese Maple is its amazing bright yellow and orange fall color.

Height/Spread:  10-12’ h

Exposure: Full sun to partial shade

Soil:  Moist but well drained

Hardiness zones: 5-8

Colocasia ‘Mojito’ – Mojito Elephant Ear

If you like to plant your containers with tropicals then this is the plant on the list for you.  This new introduction of Elephant Ear from Hort Couture is sure to have an impact.  ‘Mojito’ has dark purple leaves mixed with chartreuse.  The stems are also brightly streaked.  This is a great new clumping introduction of Elephant Ear whose bulbs can be over wintered or simply treated as an annual.

Height/Spread:  36”

Exposure: Full sun to partial shade

Soil:  Moist but well drained

Hardiness zones:  Hardy to zone 8

Paeonia x ‘Kopper Kettle’ – Kopper Kettle Itoh Peony

Image provided by Monrovia Growers

I adore Peonies and the new Itoh series from Monrovia Growers may cause me to love them even more.  Kopper Kettle has large semi-double blooms that are copper-orange with a darker center and occasional yellow streaks.  This vigorous plant has such sturdy stems that it doesn’t require staking.  Look for all eight of the Peony introductions in this series, they are all amazing!

Height/Spread:  30” x 42”

Exposure: Full sun

Soil:  Needs weekly watering but well drained soil

Hardiness zones:  4-8

Hydrangea paniculataRenhy’ – Vanilla Strawberry Hydrangea

There have been so many new introductions of hydrangeas in the last few years it is hard to keep them straight much less decide whether we need this many options.  This one has really caught my attention though.  This hydrangea paniculata’s enormous blooms start out a creamy vanilla-white, changing to a soft pink and finally to a ripe strawberry-red. The color lasts for three to four weeks, longer than most hydrangeas of this variety.  The new blooms keep coming and showing off throughout the summer and early fall.  It has a very upright habit with large cone-shaped flowers.  This would be a great addition to a mixed border and I think you will see this plant become very popular.

Height/Spread:  6-7’ x 4-5’

Exposure: Full sun

Soil: Loamy, moist well drained soil

Hardiness zones:  4-8


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