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Missouri Environment & Garden


David Trinklein
University of Missouri
Plant Science & Technology
(573) 882-9631

New Perennial Bedding Plants for 2021

David Trinklein
University of Missouri
(573) 882-9631

Published: March 2, 2021

white flowers with yellow centers in foreground and pink flowers in background

Each year, we look at the new bedding plant introductions. Because of the large number of introductions in 2021, we divided our report into two articles. Last month we covered the new annuals for 2021; this month we take a look at the new perennials. Most should perform well under Missouri conditions.

Alyssum 'Basket of Gold' (Alyssum saxatile). 'Basket of Gold' is a low-growing, evergreen perennial that brightens any garden with its masses of shining, golden-yellow flowers on display for 4 to 6 weeks in spring. It bears grey-green leaves and has a uniform growing habit. It flowers without vernalization and often re-blooms in the autumn. (From Jelitto Perennial Seeds).

Astilbe 'Mighty Chocolate Cherry' (Astilbe x arendsii). This impressive astilbe can grow more than 4 feet tall and almost as wide. Its raspberry-red buds open into hot pink panicles. Dark red stems and maroon foliage adds to the drama. 'Mighty Chocolate Cherry' blooms in mid- to late summer, long after most other astilbes. Attractive to butterflies, astilbes are hardy, long-lived and carefree perennials. They perform best in partial shade, but will also grow in full shade. (From Longfield Gardens LLC).

yellow flowers with red-orange centers

Blanket Flower REALFLOR® 'Sunset Halo'. Credit PlantHaven International, Inc.

Blanket Flower REALFLOR® 'Sunset Halo' (Gaillardia x grandiflora). This new gaillardia boasts colorful sunshine-yellow flowers with bright cherry-red centers. 'Sunset Halo' flowers continuously from early spring through fall. With a compact rounded growth habit, it is an excellent addition to the pollinator garden. Great for easy summer containers and mass planting in the garden border, gaillardias are real "flowering machines." (From PlantHaven International, Inc.).

Campion 'Rosalyn Rose Pink' (Silene x hybrida). 'Rosalyn Rose Pink' is a new campion that flowers for several months. It produces large quantities of small lacy and bright-rose flowers on perfectly uniform globular plants. Being an interspecific hybrid, it has a broader range of climate adaptions than many other Silenes. Rosalyn is daylength neutral and can also be utilized as an annual for winter-spring in subtropical areas. (From Hem Genetics BV).

Clematis 'Little Lemons' (Clematis tangutica) 'Little Lemons' was selected because of its extraordinary dwarf habit and long flowering period. Attractive to pollinators, it produces yellow flowers that are nodding and beautifully bell-shaped. Prune in spring before active growth begins, since 'Little Lemons' is a late flowering variety that blooms on current year's growth. (From UpShoot LLC).

Coral Bells 'Frilly' (Heuchera hybrida). The main attraction of Heuchera 'Frilly' is its very attractive caramel-colored foliage. Its foliage is darker in color than Heuchera 'Caramel,' and also has a different shape. 'Frilly' has very ruffled foliage. Its growth habit is sturdy and dense. (From UpShoot LLC).

Coral Bells 'Toffee Tart' (Heuchera hybrida). 'Toffee Tart' displays differing shades of ginger-caramel leaves throughout the growing season. In spring, newest leaves are amber with a silver overlay. Mature leaves are a ginger color with silver overlay. In late summer, leaves mature to green. Since it has a lighter leaf color, some shade protection is recommended. It produces creamy white flowers on burgundy stems in spring and is great for landscapes or as a filler in combination containers. (From Walters Gardens).

orange flowers

Echinacea Artisan™ 'Red Ombre' & 'Soft Orange'. Credit PanAmerican Seed Co.

Echinacea Artisan™ 'Red Ombre' & 'Soft Orange' (Echinacea x hybrida). The Artisan™ collection is the first F1 hybrid seed Echinacea. The plants provide a great display their first year, with many seasons of incredible color thereafter. The collection features two varieties: 'Red Ombre' and 'Soft Orange.' Both open with deep coloration and soften with age. Echinacea are great for attracting birds and butterflies. Additionally, they are drought-tolerant, easy to grow and need little care. (From PanAmerican Seed Co.).

Echinacea 'Paradiso Dwarf Blend' (Echinacea purpurea). This compact echinacea is quick to bloom, providing a beautiful array of colors and is perfect for adding long-lasting color to the garden. 'Paradiso Dwarf Blend' flowers the first year and comes in vibrant colors that will light up any garden. The blooms are loved by pollinators, and the seed cones create interest in the winter garden and attract birds. Practically care free, echinacea adapts to heat, drought, and poor soil. (From Botanical Interests, Inc.).

Echinacea 'Pretty Parasols' (Echinacea x hybrida). The flowers of 'Pretty Parasols' look like lovely parasols indeed. Easy to care for, it is low maintenance and has high endurance in wind, cold, heat and sun. 'Pretty Parasols' has strong stems that do not flop. It has a long flowering period from July until November. The flowers appear one after another, so they do not open all at the same time and appear at different heights which gives a 'wild' look. Stems bear multiple flowers. (From UpShoot LLC).

Gladiolus 'Katherina' (Gladiolus x hortulanis). Many consider gladiolus a perennial, since Midwest gardeners harvest and store its corms each fall. The flower buds of 'Katherina' look like miniature carnations, and open into a frilly confection of candy pink petals. Each spring-planted corm produces an elegant, 3-foot flower spike with a dozen or more florets. Planting a handful of corms each week in early summer will insure a succession of flowers right through the fall. (From Longfield Gardens LLC).

Lavender 'Primavera' (Lavandula stoechas). 'Primavera' does not require chilling, which means it can be grown much earlier than other Spanish lavenders. It's also everblooming and flowers even through the heat of summer. 'Primavera' is topped with large burgundy flags on purple flowers that are fragrant, vibrant and attractive to bees and butterflies. Plant in a sunny to part-sun location on a patio or in the garden. Plants can be trimmed back about 50 percent in height to encourage fresh flowers during the season. (From PanAmerican Seed Co.).

purple flowers

Lungwort 'Spot On'. Credit Walters Gardens

Lungwort 'Spot On' (Pulmonaria hybrid). Often planted for its foliage, pulmonaria is a great choice as a perennial to signal the end of winter, with cheerful flowers appearing in spring. The flowers of 'Spot On' open in a unique deep salmon pink that mature to a rich blue color. Silver speckling dusts the green leaves. Its speckled foliage provides a nice accent with other shade plants. Pulmonarias grow best in a highly organic, moisture-retentive soil. (From Walters Gardens).

Ornamental Oregano 'Drops of Jupiter' (Origanum hybrid). When planted in full sun, the leaves of 'Drops of Jupiter' are chartreuse yellow and sure to brighten the garden. Later in the summer, mauve pink flowers are held on purple calyxes. The calyxes hold after the flowers are spent and extend the attractiveness late into fall. Although its leaves are edible, this new introduction will not have the intense flavor of its culinary cousins. It is best planted in full sun in well-drained soil. (From Walters Gardens).

Phlox 'Opalescence' (Phlox paniculata). This new phlox bears light pink flowers with dark pink eyes that are produced over very dark green leaves. 'Opalescence' was selected especially for its improved resistance to powdery mildew, a disease that plagues most Phlox paniculata varieties. Garden phlox grows best in rich, moist soil in full sun consistent moisture levels. Deadheading will prolong bloom time and prevent self-seeding. (From Walters Gardens).

Rose Mallow 'French Vanilla' (Hibiscus hybrid). Finally, there is a yellow hardy hibiscus that maintains its color. 'French Vanilla' has soft yellow flower buds which open to 7 to 8-inch creamy custard yellow, ruffled flowers with a prominent red eye. With a compact habit, its red stems, attractive deep green foliage, and prolific floral production provide for superior garden appeal. Hibiscus love the sun and need moist, well-drained soil. Mulch heavily the first winter after planting. (From Walters Gardens).

Rose Mallow 'Spinderella' (Hibiscus hybrid). 'Spinderella' is a new hardy hibiscus with blooms that are sure to attract attention. In late summer, it produces 8-inch blooms with a "wild" new pinwheel pattern. The large white flowers have medium pink accented edges and a dark red eye. Its dark green leaves form a tidy, dense, and well-rounded plant that fits perfectly in the garden. (From Walters Gardens).

purple tall skinny flowers

Salvia 'Back to the Fuchsia'. Credit Walters Gardens

Salvia 'Back to the Fuchsia' (Salvia hybrid). 'Back to the Fuchsia' produces fuchsia pink flowers on dark charcoal stems. Flowers are produced prolifically above a canopy of dark green leaves. A cross between S. nemorosa and S. pratensis, 'Back to the Fuchsia' is a prolific rebloomer if cut back. Though it is drought tolerant, it will perform better in the garden with regular watering. Deadheading encourages a longer bloom time. (From Walters Gardens).

Salvia 'Lancelot' (Salvia canariensis). Salvia 'Lancelot' is a unique option for the garden border or perennial garden. Its silvery-white felted leaves fill the plant and it produces lavender flowers in July. The rosy-lavender bracts have a pleasant sage fragrance. This is a water-wise plant and a great pollinator plant, attracting hummingbirds, bees and butterflies for added garden interest. Very low maintenance, this new salvia prefers a sunny location with well-drained soil. (From PanAmerican Seed Co.).

Shasta Daisy 'Ice Cream Dream' (Leucanthemum x superbum). Like little scoops of ice cream, this Shasta daisy is charming as it comes into focus in early to midsummer. 'Ice Cream Dream' bears intense yellow buds which open cream-colored and expand to be nearly white. Its 2½-inch flowers are fully double and shaped like pom-poms with small yellow centers. Plant growth habit is compact with dark green foliage. Plant in full sun and a well-drained soil for best performance. (From Walters Gardens).

light yellow flower with dark yellow center

Shasta Daisy 'Real Goldcup'. Credit PlantHaven International, Inc.

Shasta Daisy 'Real Goldcup' (Leucanthemum x superbum). Possibly the best new yellow Shasta daisy, 'Real Goldcup' bears colorful, sunshine yellow blooms with three distinct layers of bold yellow petals. Blooms are colorfast with no color phasing. They have a golden yellow center and are carried on strong stems. A robust, drought resistant perennial. it is wind resistant. Trimming back after summer blooming encourages new growth and repeat fall blooming. (From PlantHaven International, Inc.).

Shasta Daisy 'Sweet Daisy™ Birdy' (Leucanthemum maximum). All-America Selections winner. 'Sweet Daisy™ Birdy' is a beautiful new Shasta daisy with robust, long-lasting blooms and carefree longevity in the garden. Hardy to zone 3, its cheery flowers are large and pure white in color. The 5-inch reflexed daisy blooms feature small feathery petals around golden yellow button centers. Attractive to pollinators, it is easy to grow with incredible flower power. New blooms naturally stack on top of old ones for a clean look that calls for little deadheading. (From Dummen Orange).

(Credit: Plant characteristics provided by National Garden Bureau).

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REVISED: March 2, 2021