Hartley Magazine

All the latest news, hints, tips and advice from our experts

Best New Plants to Grow this Year

Nine Newcomers for Every Gardener’s Wish-List

As a garden writer, I get to grow new plant introductions when they first come to market. But not all the freebies fare equally well in my garden. After a long cold Northwest winter and spring, here are the best and brightest. They not only survived—they thrived. Look for them in your local nurseries and garden centers this year.

For your Sunny Garden

  • Achillea ‘Pomegranate’ (A. Tutti Frutti™) – This robust 30- by 24-inch yarrow with its gray-green lacey foliage and lush red flowers attracts butterflies all summer long. (Zones 4-9)
  • Centaura montana ‘Amethyst in Snow’ – Talk about vigor—this centaura already had flower buds at daffodil time. The blooms are white petaled with deep purple centers. (Zones 3-9)
  • Chaenomeles ‘Scarlet Storm’ (C. Double Take™) – This red double-flowered quince has compact size (for a quince) at four feet tall and five feet wide. The bright early spring flowers are so welcome. (Zones 5-8)
  • Coreopsis ‘Red Shift’ (C. Big Bang™) –  The 30- by 18-inch tickseed sports unusual daisy flowers that bloom yellow with red centers in summer heat, and then shift to a deep red in fall. I usually can’t overwinter coreopsis, so this one is a winner—it has come through two wet winters with flying colors. (Zones 5-8)
  • Penstemon ‘Pensham Amelia Jane’– What a long bloom show this 30 inch tall plant put on last summer! It supports strong stalks of cerise red flowers with white throats. Worth growing as an annual below Zone 7, or overwinter in the greenhouse. (Zones 7-9)
  • Sedum ‘Chocolate Drop’ – A hardy sedum, in leaf shape it looks like ‘Autumn Joy’ but with unusual dark brown colors and sturdier (no flopping) pink flowers. (Zones 4-9).
  • Spirea japonica ‘Tracy’ (Double Play™ Big Bang) –This mounding three- by three-foot deciduous shrub shows off vibrant golden orange leaves in spring that practically glow in the dark. Hot pink flowers shine against yellow foliage. Wowie. (Zones 4-9)

For Shaded Spots

  • Hydrangea ‘Pinky Winky’ – Hardy hydrangeas bloom on new wood, so no worries about losing the blossoms to late frosts. This shrub is shaping up beautifully with a vitality that will take it to its full growth of six to nine feet. (Zones 3-8)

Tiarella ‘Happy Trails’ – A low-growing four-inch tall foamflower with a creeping habit. (Most tiarellas are clumpers.) It makes more of itself on the surrounding soil with beautifully speckled leaves. In spring, it shows off bristly white blossoms—a perfect woodland companion. (Zones 4-9)