Yur best *first time* perennials of 2012

rouge21_gw(5)December 2, 2012

Now that we are must into the first 'real' winter month i.e. December *and* I just received my first garden catalogue showing selections for 2013 (T&T Seeds) I am hoping that this thread might consolidate other posts in GW which details our 'best and brightest' perennials in our gardens of 2012. The only stipulation for this thread is that these best performing perennials must be completely new to your garden and so planted in 2012..

Of course it can take several years for a perennial to realize its potential but it is always gratifying when the plant performs in only its first season.

And of course I will start:

SOLAR ECLIPSE heucherella

I am not a big fan of heuchera and the like but the colours for this SE were to me quite striking, quite unique.


I have always liked the 'traditional' triloba but this bi-colour flowered plant was so cool. (I just wonder what the flower colours will be for the offspring).


This plant seems to correct the 'cons' of GOLDSTRUM. i.e. LG is quite compact and no blight or any other leaf issues as I had often got with Goldstrum. LG bloomed early and lasted very long.

BLUE HEAVEN FLUTTERBY (dwarf) buddleia :

I obtained a spindly specimen of a plant in early June and in the ground it went right away. It grew rapidly and by the end of June it had already begun to bloom and this continued into October. It's final size this season was a nicely proportioned 3' by 3'.

Okay now it is your turn. Please tell us your best *first year* perennials.

(I guess one is unable to edit the subject of a post? :( )

This post was edited by rouge21 on Sun, Dec 2, 12 at 15:21

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aachenelf z5 Mpls

I don't have photos, but here are my 3:

Agastache Golden Jubilee - I bought this one because of recommendations on this forum last year and although it still has a lot of growing to do, I can already see its potential. It handled the heat and drought just fine, the color was lovely (foliage and blooms) and the flowers didn't stop.

Aster leavis 'Bluebird' - Again, it has a lot of growing up to do, but the flowers were lovely and most importantly they didn't fry in our ridiculously hot and dry fall. Fall heat has been toasting the blooms on a lot of my fall asters in recent years and I was almost ready to give up on them. Glad I tried this one.

Caryopteris x clandonensis âÂÂWhite Surpriseâ - I found a pot of these at HD marked down. They were probably 9 inches tall. When I got the pot home, I discovered there were 3 plants in the single pot. I split them up and by fall had plants almost 3 feet tall and wide. Simply gorgeous! For some reason, this was a very good year for Caryopteris. All mine did exceptionally well and I will most assuredly be looking for new plants this spring.



    Bookmark   December 2, 2012 at 3:42PM
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Thanks Kevin for these plants as many of us are on the lookout for water sipping plants. (As I recall wasn't it echinaceamaniac that sang the praises of this particular Agastache?)

And funny you mention a 'Caryopteris' as I have always had my heart set on the variety "Lil Miss Sunshine". The problem is that they grow a bit too large for the space I have remaining. Kevin, how late in the summer did your "White Surprise" begin to flower?

(Kevin, I notice that all of the picks you have included are quite large plants. I take it you have lots of property to accommodate these wonderful but larger perennials? And you still have space for new ones in the coming years?)

Here is a link that might be useful: Lil Miss Sunshine

This post was edited by rouge21 on Sun, Dec 2, 12 at 16:20

    Bookmark   December 2, 2012 at 4:13PM
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aachenelf z5 Mpls

I'm not entirely sure, but I believe the Caryopteris started blooming sometime in late Aug. What was amazing was how long they bloomed - a good 2 months until a hard freeze got 'em.


    Bookmark   December 3, 2012 at 6:13AM
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I am putting 'Caryopteris' on my 'to consider' list of plants for 2013. If my BB bush doesn't return next spring then 'Caryopteris' (Lil Miss Sunshine) is "in like Flynn" ;).

    Bookmark   December 3, 2012 at 6:31AM
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hostaholic2 z 4, MN

I'm always a bit leary of singing the praises of any first year perennial. The two that made me sit up and take notice are heuchera "Berry Smoothie" and hosta "Whee". Both looked great right out of the pot and throughout the summer. Good as they looked, I still prefer to withhold judgement for a year or two.
The "Prairie Glow" triloba certainly piqued my interest, I'll have to keep my eyes open for that one. I know many people don't like rudbeckia Goldsturm but I have NEVER seen any leaf problems on it.(Now that I've said that I suppose I need to watch out for next summer.) LOL The rudbeckia hirta varieties are another story, they always get nasty leaves, no matter what. I'll be interested to know how "little Miss
Sunshine" does long term. I would love to grow it but I'm doubtful it would make it out here on the prairie.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2012 at 12:04PM
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aachenelf z5 Mpls

hostaholic - I'm with you on Goldstrum. Never, never, ever have I had a leaf or anything problem with that plant. If I have a bare spot and want to fill it fast, I just stick a few Goldstrum plants there until I make a future decision as to what to grow. It's one of the most carefree, problem free, dependable plants I grow. Wouldn't be without it.


    Bookmark   December 3, 2012 at 12:17PM
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Even putting aside any possible leaf issues with "Goldsturm" many of us could use a less spreading more compact rudbeckia and "Little Goldstar" seems to be such a plant (18" by 18" which includes flower ht.). (As well I found that it began flowering sooner and actually flowered longer than my previous stand of "Goldsturm".)

    Bookmark   December 3, 2012 at 2:05PM
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I'm always a bit leary of singing the praises of any first year perennial.

For sure. But it is cool when a plant impresses in just its first season in your garden.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2012 at 2:07PM
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I'll be interested to know how "little Miss
Sunshine" does long term. I would love to grow it but I'm doubtful it would make it out here on the prairie.

I have read and it seems confirmed by Kevin that these plants are drought tolerant (once established) so good on the dry prairie but your zone 4 might make it problematic getting them through the winter.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2012 at 2:45PM
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christinmk z5b eastern WA

Yeah, guess I am kind of the same way about not liking to give to much praise for a newbie plant. It is even sadder if you find the plant that had impressed you so much the first year dead the next, lol.

More often than not, it takes me two if not three growing seasons to tell if a plant will be a "winner" here. Second year to make sure it wasn't just a fluke it lived thru the first, and third year to see if it stays as robust and vigorous as it was previous years.

Pennisetum alopecuroides 'Burgundy Bunny' is one though. We sold a lot of those at the nursery this year. The small (4in pot) start I brought home early this year was pretty slow growing, but the 2gal ones I planted around the nursery were fantastic and took off fast.

Hope I don't jinx anything here, but my own personal fav Alstromeria 'Inca Ice'. The flowers faded some (I do prefer them when first open/darker colored), but overall very nice plant. Bloomed right up until frost.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2012 at 3:12PM
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CMK, thanks for your experiences. Please report back when you know if your "Inca Ice" has survived your zone 5b winter. Even if not I may still give it a try and if all is good for sure I will have it in my 2013 garden.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2012 at 3:41PM
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river_crossroads z8b Central Louisiana

Photo 5/24/12: Hummingbird Plant/Uruguayan Firecracker Plant/Dicliptera suberecta, hardy z7-11. Got starter plant locally in Feb 2012 as monthly plant that we get in our gardening group. Bloomed well in pot, now planted in ground & looking good after 2 hard freezes vs banana trees that are almost brown enough to cut down. Propagates easily from cuttings, stood up well to insects last summer & insects are a big problem in our warm climate. Hopeful!

    Bookmark   December 3, 2012 at 9:03PM
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hostaholic2 z 4, MN

It's not the dry prairie conditions I'd be concerned with, it's getting it through a "normal" zone 4 winter. I have Caryopteris divaricata "Snow Fairy" which acts as a perennial. It made it through last winter but that was pretty much a zone 5 winter, so though I really liked it this summer I wouldn't give it a strong recommendation based on surviving one winter. In a few more years, maybe.
Yes, it is fun when a plant performs well right out of the gate. I've had some plants do that and continue to be star performers but I've also had some fast starters that didn't make it through the first winter, thus my caution.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2012 at 9:06PM
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ontnative(5b Can/USDA 4)

I agree with "hostaholic" re her comments on Caryopteris. It is not the most "winter-hardy" plant in the world. I wish it would grow more reliably for me. The "golden" form of agastache is also not overly winter-hardy in this zone. Sometimes it overwinters, and other times the original plant dies but leaves a couple of seedlings (golden) growing in the spring. By the way, it is often advertised as A. foeniculum, but is actually a cross of foeniculum and A.rugosa (from Korea). I get annoyed when it is advertised as a North American native, which it is not.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 9:16AM
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I was quite impressed by Teucrium hircanicum...very floriferous...beautiful form...and VERY drought tolerant...only watered a handful of times all summer.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 1:05PM
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river_crossroads, I received some cuttings of a Hummingbird Plant late last spring and they rooted well. They did not get very big, however, probably due to the time it took to root them and get them potted up. I kept them in the pot the rest of the growing season and have them growing indoors now. And they are doing well inside. I hope to keep them going until the warm weather returns here next spring and then plant them out. Thanks for posting that pretty picture. I now know what my plant will look like when it blooms.


    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 1:20PM
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