The new plant wish list is getting longer in my garden notebook. I also keep an updated one in the notes section of my phone just in case I happen to pass a garden center this spring. Who am I kidding? I write of it as though it’s a possibility when the reality is I will visit MANY garden centers and road-side farm stands. It’s an obsession and one my kids have learned to accept.
I’ve gathered images of all the new for 2020 or new-to-me plants I’ll be on the lookout for this year. It’s a motley list of veggies, annuals, shade perennials, sun perennials, and a drop-dead gorgeous new grass. Perhaps you’ll find one (or several) here that you can’t live without. In which case, we’re kindred spirits and you can tell your significant other that Heather made you do it. Here goes…
Kniphofia ‘Hot and Cold’ (photo at top)
Part of the Pyromania collection from Proven Winners, Kniphofia ‘Hot and Cold’ is at the very top of my list. My plan is to give the garden on the west side of my home a very tropical feel. I’ve never grown kniphofia but, according to Walters Gardens, it thrives in full sun, poor soil, dry conditions and is pollinator friendly. Cha-ching!
Brunnera macrophylla ‘Jack of Diamonds’
I love this plant for dry shade and currently have Brunnera ‘Jack Frost’ in my garden. Interesting foliage livens up the shade garden and this definitely has plenty of it. Just look at the size of those leaves! Hardy to zone 3. Photo courtesy of Walters Gardens, Inc.
Canary Wings Begonia
How cool is this display? Ball Seed hosted a media day last summer and showed off this shade loving annual in a giant bird cage. I have two tall containers on my front porch that will be full of this continuous bloomer.
Iceberg Alley sageleaf willow
A new shrub introduction from Bailey Nurseries, Iceberg Alley will look lovely planted in front of the Royal Purple smokebush I planted last summer. The color contrast will make both plants pop. It’s on the smaller side and can be pruned for shape and/or the decorative spring catkins. Hardy to zone 2.
Big Bluestem ‘Blackhawks’
One of our native grasses, ‘Blackhawks’ emerges in spring in dark green to purple. This is a brand new introduction from hybridizer Brent Horvath of Intrinsic Perennial Gardens. I fell hard the moment I saw it at the company’s Grass Day event last year. By fall, it’s almost black. At five feet tall, I’m imagining this with soft pink dahlias in front for a gorgeous autumn display. Hardy to zone 3.
Mardi Gras Fun Purple snack pepper
This new pepper is pretty enough to incorporate into a perennial bed too. Other colors of the Mardi Gras series include orange, red and yellow, but I’m a sucker for purple.
Emerald Towers Basil
How’s this for a parting gift? I left Ball Seed’s media day with this arrangement last summer. Not only is the basil compact, 6″-12″ wide by 2′-3′ tall, it’s delicious and slow to bolt. In fact, I didn’t see a single flower on this plant. But when you’re constantly harvesting from it, flowers don’t have a chance.
Zesty Fuchsia Zinnia
My garden isn’t complete without zinnias. They’re my favorite flower and I like to experiment with new varieties every year. A piece of cake to direct sow in a sunny spot, they grow fast and the pollinators love them.
Magellan Salmon Zinnia
Told you I love zinnias. The shorter stature of this annual, 12″-14″, makes it an excellent choice for the front of the border. Plants in the Magellan series sport large double flowers and come in a variety of colors.
Jacob’s Ladder ‘Kaleidoscope’
The tri-color leaves of this shade perennial caught my eye. I’m always on the lookout for interesting foliage and this one has it. Blue flowers appear in late spring and I’ll be adding this to one of the brighter areas of the shade garden. Hardy to zone 5a. Photo courtesy of Darwin Perennials
I saw this bed of Coleus at Ball Seed and had to take a closer look. I love coleus for the interesting foliage colors. It also responds well to pinching and will form a lush mound if you remove the top most leaves a few times. With foliage like this, who needs flowers?
Venti Tequila Sunrise Dahlia
No space for large dahlias in the garden? Plant up a container of these for instant impact on a patio or small space garden. At only 18″ tall, Tequila Sunrise won’t overwhelm the space like dahlias are known to do. Other colors are available in the Venti series, but I have a thing for shades of orange.
What are you on the prowl for this year?