New Plants for 2019


There are plenty of new plants that will be showing up in garden centers shortly or that you can order by mail right now. Here are just a few of those that caught my attention for 2019:

Strawberry Berried Treasure™ Red

(Fragaria ananassa Berried Treasure™ Red)
Also sold as Summer Breeze™ Deep Rose


I’m in a bit of a pickle with this plant, as I don’t know which name is legitimate: Berried Treasure™ Red or Summer Breeze™ Deep Rose. However, whatever name you find it under, it’s a beauty. Deepest pink semi-double flowers (the closest I’ve ever seen to a red flower on a strawberry!) are borne all season long, followed by delicious, full-size, sweet-tasting strawberries. Yes, right up until frost! It will look plantabulous in a container, but will grow just as well in the ground. Heat tolerant and probably more winter hardy than the hardiness zone on its label.

Height: 12–16 inches (30–40 cm)
Diameter:  18–24 inches (45–60 cm)
Light:  sun
Soil:  average to fertile
Watering needs: average
Hardiness zones:  4–9

Rieger Begonia ‘Valentino Pink’

(Begoniahiemalis ’KRVALP101’)

Photo: Koppe

Don’t those semi-double deepest pink flowers with a brilliant gold heart up to 8 cm in diameter just knock you off your feet? I’ve never seen a begonia even close to this one. Dense and floriferous, with attractive dark green foliage (that you’ll scarcely notice as it’s covered with bloom), this plant with a rounded habit is bound to be a star! As a Rieger begonia, it will be sold as a summer container plant, but would make a great houseplant as well. Theoretically, it’s an annual, but try cutting it back harshly in the fall and bringing it indoors, growing it a cool, sunny spot under short days. With a little luck, it will grow back and start to bloom anew for next season!

Height: 8–10 inches (20 à 25 cm)
Diameter: 8 inches (20 cm)
Light: partial shade
Soil: average to fertile
Watering needs: consistently moist

Basil ‘Purple Ball’

(Ocimum basilicum ‘Purple Ball’)


Height: 8–12 inches (20–30 cm)
Diameter: 10–14 inches (25–35 cm)
Light: sun
Soil: well drained
Watering needs: average

Ornamental and delicious! The tiny deepest purple leaves are borne densely on a ball-shaped plant that will stand out in both containers and the garden. No need to pinch, either: the tubular flowers are late to appear, adding extra color to the plant, and don’t reduce the plant’s productivity. Easy from seed … start it indoors from seed about 4 weeks before the last frost date and don’t plant out until the soil and air have thoroughly warmed up. Winner of a Fleuroselect award. Consider it an annual and start new plants from seed each summer.

Canna ‘Fire Dragon’

(Canna indica ‘Fire Dragon’)

Photo: Pierre Boucher, Domaine Jolie de Lotbinière

Height: 48–60 inches (120–150 cm)
Diameter: 36 inches (90 cm)
Light: sun
Soil: rich, well-drained
Watering needs: consistently moist
Hardiness zones: 7b-12

A real stunner! The brilliant deep velvety red of the flowers of this modest-sized canna simply grabs your eye, contrasted by the fresh green foliage. And it’s self-cleaning, too. It’s been called the “best red canna to hit the market” by canna experts. This Israeli hybrid is virus-free and long-blooming: non-stop from June to September in the trial garden near my home. Hummingbirds will love it! Lift the rhizomes in the fall and store indoors for the winter in a cool dry place before replanting the following spring. Only in mild climates can you leave it outdoors permanently.

Cabbage Edibliss™ ‘Heavy Metal’

(Brassica Edibliss ‘Heavy Metal’)


Height: 15 inches (38 cm)
Diameter: 24 inches (60 cm)
Light: sun
Soil: rich, well-drained
Watering needs: average

Big, huge beautiful rosettes of puckered, deep purple, shiny leaves would make this plant a star in any flower bed, but hey! It’s actually a vegetable! Savor the delicious leaves all summer long by harvesting just the lower ones and letting the rosette continue to grow. We all know that cabbages have their insect problems, but any insect pest wearing green camouflage will be immediately visible on the dark foliage, allowing you to pick them off before any damage is done.

Hosta Shadowland® ‘Waterslide’

(Hosta Shadowland ‘Waterslide’)


I keep telling myself I don’t need any more hostas, but then Shadowland ‘Waterslide’ started showing up in just about plant catalog I receive. How can I say no to the striking wavy, thick, blue-green leaves of this shade-tolerant beauty, especially since it’s slug-resistant too! It has lavender blooms in midsummer if you want to know, but I figure its foliage alone will ensure it’ll sell on sight!

Height: 14–16 inches (35–40 cm) 
Diameter: 30 inches (75 cm)
Light: partial shade to shade
Soil: average
Watering needs: average
Hardiness zones: 3–9

Black-eyed Susan ‘American Gold Rush’

(Rudbeckia x ‘American Gold Rush’)


It seems to me I’ve been growing Rudbeckia fulgida sullivantii ‘Goldsturm’ since forever, but over the last few years, I’ve watched the plants in other people’s gardens be decimated by septoria leaf spot, turning the green leaves black by late summer. How long will it be before my plants too pick up the disease? Well, with ‘American Gold Rush’, I won’t have to worry about that, and neither will you, because the leaves are disease-free! Narrow and hairy, they seem to shrug off the fungus, even under wet humid conditions. And the flowers, golden yellow with that dark brown raised eye we all love, are borne in huge numbers from midsummer well into fall and attract bees, butterflies and songbirds. Excellent cut flower. This is going to become a classic garden perennial, people! 

Height: 22–26 inches (55–65 cm) 
Diameter: 40–44 inches (100–110 cm) 
Light: full sun is best
Soil: average
Watering needs: average to low
Hardiness zones: 4 to 9

Sedum Atlantis™

(Sedum takesimense ‘Nonsitnal’)


Just one look was all it took, goes the song. And so it was for me. The gorgeous evergreen succulent creamy-yellow leaves, with their scalloped edges and just a smidgen of contrasting deep green in the center, just grab the eye. And they’re highlighted by clusters of starry yellow flowers at stem tips in midsummer and then are flushed with pink in the late fall. The plant forms a compact carpet, ideal for containers and rock gardens. Highly drought-tolerant.

Height: 4–6 inches (10–15 cm) 
Diameter: 10–12 inches (25–30 cm) 
Light: sun
Soil: well drained, poor to average
Watering needs: low
Hardiness zones: 5–9

Cucumber ‘Itachi’ F1

(Cucumis sativus ‘Itachi’)


No need to peel this cucumber! The paper-thin rind is perfectly white, just like the flesh. This unique Asian type cucumber, with tiny seeds and lacking any bitterness, produces sweet and crispy 9 to 11 inch (23–28 cm) long, narrow fruits in profusion. For straight fruits, do be sure to grow this climber on a support or trellis. Start indoors a few weeks before the last frost, in peat pots, but don’t plant out until both soil and air have warmed up. 

Height: 3–6 feet (90–180 cm) 
Diameter: 12 inches (30 cm)
Light: sun
Soil: rich, well-drained
Watering needs: keep evenly moist
Days to harvest: 54 days

Sunflower Sunbelievable Brown Eyed Girl

(Helianthus x ‘TMSNBLEV01’)


This is not your traditional sunflower! A cutting-grown annual, multi-branching with a rounded habit, it blooms all summer long and even well into fall (no, that is not an exaggeration!), with flower after flower, all with yellow rays and a dash of rich red around a chocolate center. That’s up to 1,000 2 to 3.5 inch (5–9 cm) flowers per plant! Heat tolerant and seedless, so it is non-invasive, but on the downside, although it will attract bees and other pollinators, it offers nothing to feed birds, unlike traditional sunflowers (Helianthus annuus). For borders and containers and it’s an excellent cut flower too! This innovation won a 3rd prize at the famous Chelsea Flower Show in London in 2018. It’s actually a perennial in the tropics, but should be grown as an annual elsewhere.

Height: 32 inches (80 cm) 
Diameter: 40 inches (100 cm)
Light: sun
Soil: rich, well-drained
Watering needs: keep evenly moist
Hardiness zones: 11–12

Polka Dot Plant Hippo® Rose

Hypoestes phyllostachya ’G14160’


I first grew the polka dot plant as a houseplant decades ago. It had small green leaves with a few pink spots on a rather wimpy plant we all thought was cute. Well, Hippo Rose is a whole new plant! First, no spots of pink. Most of the leaf is now deep rose with only a bit of green marbling. And the leaves are huge! 3 inches (7.5 cm) long, borne not on short, weak stems, but thicker upright ones, giving a bushy plant with color galore that doesn’t need bloom to add color to your garden. The flowers, however, are quite ordinary and no one will blame you if you pinch them off. Now, if rosy pink isn’t your thing, the Hippo series also comes in pink, red and white too. Makes a great houseplant too!

Height: 16–22 inches (40–55 cm) 
Diameter: 8–14 inches (20–35 cm) 
Light: sun to shade
Soil: average
Watering needs: evenly moist
Hardiness zones: 10–12

Nepeta ‘Cat’s Pajamas’

(Nepeta ‘Cat’s Pajamas’)


Nepetas or catmints just keep getting better and better, don’t they? This is the most compact one yet, blooming from the ground to the tip with dense indigo flowers that pretty much hide the tiny mint-scented leaves whose odor keeps deer and rabbits at bay. Behind the late spring through midsummer flowers are rosy purple calyxes that will help carry the plant through the rest of the season, although you can also shear it back after its first flush of bloom to stimulate rebloom. The blooms attract bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. An ideal border plant and great in containers too. 

Height: 12–14 inches (30–35 cm)
Diameter: 18–20 inches (45–55 cm) 
Light: sun
Soil: well drained, not overly acid
Watering needs: low
Hardiness zones: 3–8

Panicle Hydrangea Lavalamp™ Candelabra™

Hydrangea paniculata ‘Hpopr013’


Who doesn’t like panicle hydrangeas? But most are a bit big for today’s landscape. The Lavalamp™ series changes that, remaining a reasonable 4 to 6 feet (120–180 cm) with no pruning and less than 4 feet if cut back annually. There are 2 other cultivars in the series, but I prefer Candelabra for its numerous huge upright flower stalks that go from creamy white when they open midsummer to a deep pink cone with a white top by late fall, then turn beige and stay on the shrub for a stunning winter display. The flowers are fragrant, too! The red stems not only help the flowers stand out, but are thick and sturdy. That means no flopping! If you feel the need to prune, do so in early spring. Winner of a Retailer’s Choice Award at Cultivate ’17. 

Height: 4–6 feet (120–180 cm) 
Diameter: 4–6 feet (120–180 cm)
Light: sun
Soil: well drained
Watering needs: average
Hardiness zones: 3–9

Tomato ‘Patio Choice Yellow’ F1

(Solanum lycopersicum ‘Patio Choice Yellow’)


What a stunning little tomato plant! Developed, as the name suggests, for growing in a pot on a patio or balcony, it’s a determinate tomato, very short and compact and needs no staking. It blooms heavily and beautifully, then produces hordes of perfectly round golden-yellow cherry tomatoes about 1 inch (2.5 cm) in diameter: 100 or more per plant! The fruits are delicious: mild and sweet with just a touch of acidity. Easily grown from seed: start them indoors about 5 weeks before setting out. Good disease resistance. And ‘Patio Choice Yellow’ is quite widely available, too: check your favorite seed catalogs and see. Winner of an All-America Selections award in 2017.

Height: 15–18 inches (37–45 cm) 
Diameter: 18–60 inches (45–60 cm) 
Light: sun
Soil: rich, well-drained
Watering needs: average
Days to harvest: 45

Clematis ‘Taiga’

(Clematis ‘Taiga’)

Clematis Taiga

This stunning new clematis was bred in Japan in 2007. The 3- to 6-inch (7.5–15 cm) flowers open semi-double, then fill in with extra petals until they’re about as double as a flower can be. Its name, ‘Taiga’, means big river, as the purple-blue and greenish white flowers are said to resemble the flow of a rushing river with white-capped waves. It’s small for a clematis, and for that reason, ideal for pot culture, although it grows perfectly well in the ground too. It blooms on both old and new wood, from early summer to late summer, although sometimes with a bit of a break between flushes. It’s not a very hardy plant and is being sold as a “temperennial” (i.e. an annual) in colder climates. Or you could try moving it to a cold but frost-free basement or garage for the winter and keeping it dormant. It does best when cut back to just above ground level at season’s end. ‘Taiga’ won a silver medal at Plantarium 2016 and was on the short list at the Chelsea Flower Show in 2017.

Height: 4–7 feet (1.2–2 m) 
Diameter: 3–4 feet (90–120 cm)
Light: sun or partial shade
Soil: well drained
Watering needs: average
Hardiness zones: 7 to 8

Korean fir ‘Ice Breaker’

(Abies koreana ‘Ice Breaker’, syn. ‘Kohout’s Icebreaker’)


This very dense dwarf conifer has actually been around for ages in conifer collections, but only seems now to be making it into mainstream nurseries. It forms a small “bun” of short, stubby branches covered with recurved needles showing their silvery-white underside, making it look like a snowball! It first appeared as a witch’s broom on the popular silvery Korean fir ‘Horstmann’s Silberlocke’. It grows slowly, about 1 to 3 inches (2.5–8 cm) per year, but, as with all dwarf conifers, will continue to increase in size over time, eventually losing its globular shape to form a leader and thus becoming a small squat tree. You may also find it sold grafted onto a straight trunk, lollipop fashion. 

Height: 2 feet (60 cm) after 10 years
Diameter: 2 inches (60 cm) after 10 years
Light: sun
Soil: well drained
Watering needs: average
Hardiness zones: 3

And there you go: sixteen great plants for you to discover this coming summer!

New Plants From the Garden Writers Conference!



I recently returned from the annual Garden Writers Association Annual Conference & Expo in Chicago where, as usual, I met many fellow garden communicators, visited beautiful gardens and took tons of photos.

Among the attractions is the GWA trade show where some truly beautiful new plants are on display, notably in the New Varieties Showcase organized by the National Garden Bureau. Here are some of the most striking plants from that display as well as booths in the trade show, all new plants scheduled to be available in a garden center near you near spring. Some are even available on a limited basis this summer.



Makana™ Silver Artemisia (Artemisia mauiensis ‘TNARTMS’)

Although in real life a shrub native to Hawaii and hardy to zone 9 and above, Makana silver artemisia can easily be grown as an annual in other climates. It has extremely deeply cut, soft-looking silver leaves and a mounding habit. Insignificant greenish-yellow flowers may appear in late summer. It reaches 2 feet (60 cm) in height and 3 feet (90 cm) in diameter. Drought resistant. For full sun and well-drained soils. If it looks homesick, playing a ukulele will perk it right up!

Supplier: Terranova Nurseries

Canary Wings Begonia (Begonia x hybrida ‘Canary Wings’)

20180830C Begonia_Canary_Wings, Ball Horticultural Company.JPG

Source: Ball Horticultural Company

Seriously brighten up your shady nooks with this new begonia, with large, shiny angel wing leaves in a particularly luminous shade of chartreuse. Of course, the arching stems bear tons of brilliant red blooms as well—indeed, it will bloom nonstop all summer and it’s self-cleaning to boot!—but it’s the leaves that make this mutation of Dragon Wing Pink (‘Bepapink’) really stand out from the crowd. ‘Canary Wings’ makes an excellent choice for a specimen or companion plant in containers and hanging baskets, or as a bright addition to the garden and landscape. It will do best in partial shade (and will take full sun in cool summer areas). Bring it indoors in the fall as a houseplant (only in the tropics will it be hardy outdoors). Expect yours to reach 12 to 18 inches (30-45 cm) in height and about 15-18 inches (40-45 cm) in diameter.

Supplier: Ball Ingenuity

Soiree Kawa*i*i® White Peppermint Madagascar Periwinkle (Catharanthus roseus ‘White Peppermint’)



You’ve never seen a Madagascar periwinkle anything like this! The star-shaped blooms, white with a red eye, are tiny, but numerous on a dense, compact plant. It reaches 6 to 10 inches (15 to 25 cm) in height and 12 to 18 inches (30 to 45 cm) in diameter: a tight bun of plant! It loves full sun and hot summers. Designed for use in containers. Totally charming! Poisonous in all its parts: don’t eat it!

Supplier: Suntory

Tattoo™ Papaya Madagascar Periwinkle (Catharanthus roseus ’PAS1192834’)

This Madagascar periwinkle couldn’t be more different from the previous one. Its flowers are large instead of small and come in a most unusual color combination: deep orange pink highlighted by brushstrokes of black. In fact, the other colors in the Tattoo series share the same unusual dark markings, but I thought Papaya was the most striking. It’s a mounded, upright annual 10 to 14 inches (25 to 35 cm) tall and 6 to l8 inches (15 to 20 cm) wide with dark, shiny leaves. The flower petals overlap for a denser appearance. It will love sun and heat and will be at its most colorful under those conditions. Again, poisonous, so foodies, keep away!

Supplier: PanAmerican Seed

First Flame™ Purple Celosia (Celosia argentea plumosa ’PAS1295065’)

20180830R First Light Purple Celosia .jpg


When I saw this plant in the PanAmerican Seed booth, I felt like sneaking into the show room at night and stealing a pot … but I didn’t. Still, it’s a stunning plant … and such an unusual color for a celosia! Its deep purple plumes are the densest I’ve seen in a celosia and are set on an upright, well-branched, vigorous plant reaching 10 to 14 inches (25 to 35 cm) in height and 10 to 16 inches (25 to 40 cm) in diameter. Easy from seed and an excellent garden and container plant, plus it makes a great cut flower and dried flower to boot. It holds its color all summer.

Supplier: PanAmerican Seed

Angel Wings Senecio (Senecio candicans ‘Senaw’)

20180830F Senecio Angel wings EC Growers.jpg

Source: EC Growers

Wow! Let me repeat that: wow! Simply the star of the show: it blew everything else out of the water! This upright subshrub (grow it as an annual in zone 8 and below) bears sturdy stems of large, broadly ovate, brilliantly silver leaves with scalloped edges. Do run your fingers over them: they’re sturdy on the inside, but soft and silky on the outside. The plant may produce yellow flowers in the summer, but still, it’s the foliage that counts. For full sun in any well-drained soil, both in the ground and in containers. Drought resistant and salt tolerant (it originally comes from stony beaches in Patagonia). Try it indoors as a houseplant in the winter. 10-12” (25-30 cm) tall and 10” (30 cm) wide.

Supplier: Concept Plants

Super Hero™ Spry French Marigold (Tagetes patula Super Hero ‘Spry’)

20180830G Marigold-Super-Hero-Spry


This super easy annual grows fast and furiously from seed, producing sturdy dense plants with dark green deeply cut foliage. It flowers nonstop all summer with the deepest dark maroon lower petals yet seen in marigolds, topped with a tuft of golden-yellow upper ones. It’s one of the most uniform marigolds ever, comes to bloom in the wink of an eye and requires no deadheading to stay in bloom. It won both an All-America Selection award and a Fleuroselect Novelty award, a sign of a true quality plant. At 10 to 12” (25 to 30 cm) tall and wide, it’s of medium size for a French marigold. It will catch everyone’s eye in full sun in just about any soil, both in flower beds and in pots.

Supplier: Benary

‘Queeny Lime Orange’ Zinnia (Zinnia elegans ‘Queeny Lime Orange’)

A double award winner: All-America Selections and Fleuroselect Gold. When a plant wins the top awards in the world’s two main plant testing programs, you have to sit up and take notice! This easy-from-seed annual sports big, dahlia-like blooms on a sturdy compact plant and blooms all summer. The orange to peachy orange flowers have a distinctive touch of green in the center to set them off. Highly double, although with a dark center, it makes both a great garden plant and a superb cut flower, lasting about 3 weeks in a vase. Full sun in any soil. Dimensions: 1.5 to 2 feet(45 to 60 cm) in height, 14 inches (35 cm in diameter. Note that this plant also being sold as zinnia ‘Queen Lime Orange’ (rather than Queeny).

Supplier: Floragran


Sombrero® Tres Amigos Echinacea (Echinacea x hybrida ‘Balsomtresgo’)

20180830I Tres Amigos echinacea


Three colors on one sturdy, compact, well branched, highly floriferous echinacea: hats off to the hybridizers! The flowers open peachy-coral, age to rose and fade to burgundy, starting early in the season and continuing until fall. (Deadheading will help prolong bloom.) The plant is drought and deer resistant, hardy to at least zone 4 and attracts butterflies. Expect it to reach 18 to 20″ (45 to 50 cm) in height and somewhat more (22 to 24″/55 to 60 cm) in diameter. Full sun is best.

Supplier: DarwinPerennials

Pop Star™ Balloon Flower (Platycodon grandiflorus Pop Star)

20180830J Pop Star Playtcodon, Benary.png

Source: Benary

The shortest, most heavily branching balloon flower yet. It forms an upright mound only 7 inches (18 cm) high of green foliage, bearing inflated buds that “pop open” into star-shaped flowers in violet blue (Pop Star Blue), light pink (Pop Star Pink) or pure white (Pop Star White). (I thought Pop Star Pink was the prettiest.) They practically cover the plant! Long-lived and easy to grow, with a long blooming season. This is the ideal balloon flower for borders and rock gardens. Try it as a pot plant as well! Hardiness zone 3.

Supplier: Benary


Canna Cabana™ Cosmopolitan™ (Canna x generalis ‘Cabana Cosmopolitan’)

20180830K Cabana Canna Cosmopollitan.


A compact, repeat blooming canna with dramatic, glaucous green, tropical foliage and striking deep red flowers. It loves full sun, heat and moist soils. Only 2 to 3 feet (60 to 90 cm) tall and 1 foot (30 cm) in diameter, so you can fit it in anywhere. Hardiness zone 7. In colder climates, bring the rhizomes indoors in fall and store them dry for the winter.

Supplier: J. Berry Nursery


Amazel™ Basil (Ocimum Amazel)

20180830L ocimum_amazel


If you’ve been struggling with powdery mildew on your basil over the last few years, there is good news. Amazel is the first Italian sweet basil that is resistant to the disease (there is no report of it being resistant to fusarium wilt, though). It forms a large, vigorous plant with equally large, highly aromatic, curiously wrinkled leaves. Unlike typical basil, Amazel is seed sterile and therefore continues to produce leaves and shoots even after flower initiation (other basil varieties focus most of their energy on seed production once flowering begins). For best flavor and leaf production, though, harvest and/or pinch regularly to promote fresh tender growth. Watch that it doesn’t overwhelm your other basils, as it can measure up to 3 feet (90 cm) in height and 2 feet (60 cm) in diameter. In order words, give this big basil plenty of room!

Amazel is more “perennial” than other sweet basils. Of course, it will only be hardy outdoors in the tropics, but you could try overwintering cuttings indoors in strong light. Outdoors, full sun and warm to hot temperatures are required. Given its size, it will do best in the ground or in a large pot.

Supplier: Proven Winners


Chef’s Choice Red F1 Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum ‘Chef’s Choice Red’)

20180830M Tomato-Chefs-Choice-Red


Winner of an All-America Selections award, ‘Chef’s Choice Red’ is the fifth addition to the popular Chef’s Choice tomato series. It produces globe-shaped, bright red, firm-fleshed beefsteak tomatoes with just the right balance of acid to sugar. It produces prolifically, yielding 8-ounce (225 g) fruits on strong indeterminate vines about 5-foot (1.5 m) high. You’ll enjoy harvesting 30 or more scar-free fruits throughout the season from this disease-resistant plant with dark green leaves and a well-behaved form. Full sun and rich soil ensure best results. Disease resistance: VF, F

Supplier: Johnny’s Selected Seeds

Valentine F1 Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum ‘Valentine’)



Yet another All-America Selections award winner, ‘Valentine’ is a grape tomato with an appetizing deep-red color and a very sweet taste (Brix of 7-9). It holds well on the vine without cracking or losing its excellent eating quality. Earlier than most grape tomatoes (55 days from transplant), it’s a tall-growing, indeterminate plant that will require staking. Tomato lovers will appreciate the sweet, firm flesh that is meaty enough to resemble a Roma tomato but in a smaller sized fruit. Very heat tolerant.

Supplier: Johnny’s Selected Seeds

Woody Plants

Icebreaker Korean Fir (Abies koreana ‘Ice Breaker’, syn. ’Kohouts Icebreaker’)

20180830N AbieskoreanaIceBreaker


A unique dwarf conifer, mutation of the popular variety ‘Horstmann’s Silberlocke’ with which it shares the same strongly curled needles, revealing the shimmering silver undersides and giving the whole plant a permanently frosty appearance. Slow-growing, putting on 1 to 3 inches (2,5-8 cm) per year, it will be about 2 feet (60 cm) tall and wide after 10 years in the garden, depending on its size when you buy it. Eventually though, it will form a leader and become a broadly pyramidal small tree. Very hardy (zone 4 is given, but I know for a fact it thrives in zone 3a). Sun or partial shade. Any well-drained soil will do. Winner of the American Conifer Society’s Collectors Conifer of the Year program in 2014.

Supplier: Iseli Nursery

Panther™ Ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius ’N5’)

20180830P physocarpus-panther.


The darkest ninebark yet, making Diabolo look a wimpy purple-red in comparison. The smaller leaves are a shiny deep black-purple, while the stems are totally black. And it’s a modestly sized shrub, almost columnar in habit: 4-5’ tall (120-150 cm) high and only 2-3’ (60-90 cm) wide. Plus, it’s mildew-resistant! Plant it next to brightly colored selections if you want to stun your garden visitors. For best color, give it full sun. It’s not a heavy bloomer, but do expect some clusters of pink flowers … but with leaves like these, who really cares? Hardiness zone 3.

Supplier: Bloomin’ Easy

Hebe Canadian Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis ‘Hebefolia’)

20180830Q Tsuga canadensis 'Hebefolia' David Olszyk,

Source: David Olszyk,

Tiny dark gray-green needles almost wider than long look more like leaves than needles and cluster tightly together, resembling the leaves of the New Zealand shrub Hebe, whence its name. I’ll bet some people will mistake it for a boxwood (Buxus)! Green on top, the leaves are held very close to the stems so that the white undersides are exposed. Given the short needles, lots of stem is exposed, giving the plant a twiggy look. It’s expected to reach about 3 feet (90 cm) tall by 2 feet (60 cm) wide in 20 years, larger thereafter, growing about 2 to 4 inches (5 à 10 cm) per year, taking on a broadly upright form. Sun to partial shade. Hardiness zone 4.

Supplier: Iseli Nursery