Top 10 New Perennial Plants for Spring 2017

High Country Gardens names prairie phlox, a yucca plant, and an ice plant among its favorite new perennial plants.

Blue Boa Hummingbird Mint (Agastache Blue Boa) is a stunning new hybrid that blooms for many months from mid to late summer, with showy spikes of deep violet-blue flowers.

Photo courtesy High Country Gardens

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High Country Gardens was established in 1993, and has been a reputable online source for beautiful plants for more than two decades. It is a division of American Meadows, an online retailer of wildflower seeds, perennial plants, flower bulbs, and vegetable seeds. Check out their website, www.AmericanMeadows.com.

Each spring and fall, High Country Gardens introduces new award-winning plant varieties. Following are this year’s top new perennial plants for spring. All of them, along with hundreds of other perennial favorites, can be ordered online, at www.HighCountryGardens.com, where you’ll also find more information and shipping schedules.

Blue Boa Hummingbird Mint

Blue Boa Hummingbird Mint (Agastache Blue Boa) is a stunning new hybrid that blooms for many months from mid to late summer, with showy spikes of deep violet-blue flowers. This perennial plant is a stiffly upright grower, with large green leaves that grow best in fast-draining soil and average moisture levels. It’s not a xeric species, so it needs regular watering. The fragrant flowers of this variety attract butterflies, but the plants are resistant to deer and rabbits. Leave the stems in place over the winter months to improve the plant’s cold hardiness.

Zones: 5 through 8
Light Requirements: Full sun
Planting Time: Spring/summer
Mature Height: 30 to 36 inches
Mature Spread: 15 to 18 inches

Engelmann's Daisy

Engelmann's Daisy (Englemannia peristenia) is a tough, colorful native plant that blooms all summer. Its bouquets of bright yellow daisies start in late spring and continue throughout the heat of summer. The nectar-rich flowers are especially attractive to butterflies and bees. This wildflower is native across the western Great Plains into Texas, New Mexico, and Colorado, and it's extremely adaptable and resilient. Engelmann’s Daisy grows well in all types of soil, including clay. It's easy to grow and will re-seed itself gently, like blue flax, when happy in its garden home. It's also deer and rabbit resistant.

Zones: 4 through 8
Light Requirements: Full sun
Planting Time: Spring/summer, fall
Mature Height: 18 to 36 inches
Mature Spread: 15 to 18 inches

Gentle Giant Sulphur Buckwheat

Gentle Giant Sulphur Buckwheat (Eriogonum umbellatum) is an especially large-growing selection of the western native E. umbellatum. It blooms with a profusion of bright yellow, flat-topped flowers in early summer. This long-lived, shrubby perennial is an excellent choice for planting in hot, dry, poor soil. Gentle Giant will attract numerous native bee species and other beneficial insects. This is an especially attractive companion plant for pairing with English and French hybrid lavenders. The evergreen foliage makes this an attractive plant even when it’s not in flower.

Zones: 4 through 8
Light Requirements: Full sun
Planting Time: Spring/summer, fall
Mature Height: 18 to 24 inches
Mature Spread: 24 to 28 inches

Long-Blooming Lavender Collection

Lavender is one of the most dependable flowering perennials in the garden. The Long Blooming Lavender Collection delivers beautiful lavender blossoms from late spring through fall with a carefully selected assortment of fragrant and hardy English and French hybrid varieties.

English Lavenders (Lavandula angustifolia) begin the season, starting with twice-blooming Sharon Roberts English Lavender, which has long, thin spikes of bicolored lavender-blue over gray-green foliage, and Miss Katherine Lavender, an unusual pink variety. Next up is Blue Cushion English Lavender, which will start with profuse deep blue blooms in late June, lightening to pale blue as they continuing blooming throughout the summer. As the season progresses, French Lavender (Lavandula intermedia) will become the focal point. In midsummer, Grosso Lavender, a large-growing variety will come into bloom with dark blue flower spikes. Grosso is wonderfully fragrant and makes a good choice for lavender sachets and culinary use. Grosso will be complemented by Gros Bleu, a compact-growing lavender with indigo-blue calyces and lavender flowers that have a sweet, long-lasting fragrance. And finally, in September, re-blooming Sharon Roberts English Lavender again fills your fall garden with fragrant blooms.

Zones: Sharon Roberts and Grosso, 5 through 10; Miss Katherine and Blue Cushion, 5 through 9; Gros Bleu, 6 through 10
Light Requirements: Full sun, all varieties
Planting Time: Sharon Roberts, Miss Katherine, and Gros Bleu, spring/summer; Blue Cushion and Grosso, spring/summer and fall
Mature Height: Sharon Roberts, 24 to 30 inches; Miss Katherine, 15 to 18 inches; Blue Cushion, 12 to 16 inches; Grosso, 30 to 32 inches; Gros Bleu, 24 to 30 inchesMature Spread: Sharon Roberts, 24 inches; Miss Katherine, 24 to 30 inches, Blue Cushion, 12 to 16 inches; Grosso, 36 to 48 inches; Gros Bleu, 30 to 36 inches

New Jersey Tea Plant

New Jersey Tea Plant (Ceonothus americanus) has luxuriant glossy leaves and bright white flowers that make this durable shrub a real winner in the landscape. Use several of these cold-hardy plants, two to three feet apart, to create a low-growing, drought-tolerant native hedge. The thick, woody roots grow deep to help this plant withstand drought conditions. New Jersey Tea Plant likes well-drained soil, and is excellent for attracting hummingbirds, which eat the tiny insects that pollinate the white flowers.

Zones: 3 through 8
Light Requirements: Full sun or morning sun and afternoon shade
Planting Time: Spring/summer
Mature Height: 24 to 36 inches
Mature Spread: 36 inches

Prairie Phlox

Prairie Phlox (Phlox villosissima) blooms in late spring with hundreds of fragrant, bright pink flowers. Use this native perennial as a groundcover in growing sites with harsh, poor soil, where it will form colonies of low-growing plants. This selection hails from central Texas and is an excellent choice for areas with hot, humid summers. Prairie Phlox is deer and rabbit resistant, yet its flowers are delicately scented.

Zones: 5 through 9
Light Requirements: Full sun
Planting Time: Spring/summer
Mature Height: 4 to 6 inches
Mature Spread: 15 to 18 inches

Straight Up Red Texas Yucca PPAF

The High Country Gardens 2017 Plant of the Year is Straight Up Red Texas Yucca (Hesperaloe parviflora), an exclusive introduction that introduces the reddest flower color to ever grace a Texas Yucca. This plant provides gardeners with a summer-long display of red flowers held on upright flower spikes. Use this Texas Yucca selection when uniformity of size and shape are important. Essentially a sterile plant, Straight Up Red puts all its energy into growing flowers instead of seeds. This plant is a hummingbird magnet in the late summer garden, and is also drought tolerant.

Zones: 5 through 9
Light Requirements: Full sun
Planting Time: Spring/summer, fall
Mature Height: 5 to 6 feet
Mature Spread: 3 to 4 feet

Texas Blazing Star

Texas Blazing Star (Liatris mucronata) is a large, showy perennial that blooms in late summer to attract numerous butterflies to its nectar-rich lavender-pink flowers. This Liatris species offers an amazing display of tall, lavender-pink flowers, and each flower stalk is a true magnet for pollinators. Originating from the plains of northern Texas, Oklahoma, and the Southern Great Plains, this resilient plant is a more xeric (waterwise) choice than Meadow Blazing Star (Liatris ligulistylus) and Rough Blazing Star (Liatris aspera), and it is best for drier planting sites.

Zones: 5 through 9
Light Requirements: Full sun
Planting Time: Spring/summer, fall
Mature Height: 24 to 30 inches
Mature Spread: 18 inches

Tufted Ice Plant

A miniature gem that’s native to South Africa, Tufted Ice Plant (Delosperma sphalmanthoides) is a fabulous cold-hardy succulent for use in rock gardens and containers. The prolific blooms start in early to midspring, when the plant's evergreen foliage literally disappears under a mat of bright magenta flowers. Out-of-bloom, the tiny, cylindrical blue-green leaves resemble a miniature ocean anemone. This is a true groundcover plant. Use Tufted Ice Plant to fill small spaces in a rock garden or between flagstone pavers, or plant in masses to cover larger expanses of garden space.

Zones: 5 through 9
Light Requirements: Full sun
Planting Time: Spring/summer
Mature Height: 1 inch
Mature Spread: 3 to 4 inches

White Prairie Clover

White Prairie Clover (Dalea candida) is a wonderful prairie wildflower that boasts showy white flowers in the summertime. The flowers of this legume are sweetly fragrant and very attractive to butterflies. The plants have finely textured cloverlike foliage and add nitrogen to the soil, thereby helping the plants around it to grow more robustly. White Prairie Clover is a tough, waterwise perennial that is well-adapted to growing in poor, dry soils.

Zones: 3 through 8
Light Requirements: Full sun
Planting Time: Spring/summer
Mature Height: 15 to 18 inches
Mature Spread: 12 inches