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The Great Perennial Preview

Occasionally I’ll write a preview of new plant introductions only to disappoint later in season when these shrubs or perennials don’t show up. There are a lot of reasons for this, including crop failures, a lack of liners, larger nurseries buying the entirety of a limited supply, or even plant patent issues. Regardless of the excuse, we really don’t want to disappoint our customers, which is why this preview is a little different, as every perennial featured is currently growing in our greenhouses out back, so that you can be assured to find it here at Amsterdam Garden Centre come spring.

We have curated a diverse collection of perennials for attracting pollinators, providing months of bloom, offering deer and drought resistance, as well as displaying stunning foliage for some eye-catching contrast. Everything you need to know has been provided below, including sun exposure, height, bloom time, and even companion plants.

Veronica longifolia ‘First Glory’ (Speedwell)

Veronica 'First Glory' - Speedwell Plant

(Veronica 'First Glory' | 📸 Darwin Perennials)

True blue is a rare colour in any garden and yet here’s a long-blooming perennial that also doubles as a cut flower. Veronica ‘First Glory’ also thrives in containers, and its upright habit makes it essential for small-space gardens.

  • Companion plant = Coreopsis verticillata ‘Zagreb’.
  • Full sun.
  • Blooms June-August.
  • Grows 16-22” tall by 16-18” wide.
  • Attracts bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds.
  • Deer resistant.
  • Hardy to USDA zone 4

Coreopsis ‘Uptick Red’ (Hybrid Tickseed)

Coreopsis 'Uptick Red' - Plant

(Coreopsis 'Uptick Red' | 📸 Ball Horticultural Company)

If you’re having problems with the summer heat and a lack of colour in July and August, then Coreopsis ‘Uptick Red’ has both those issues solved. The burgundy-red blooms are highlighted with golden tips that don’t fade in the blazing sun and they also make an excellent short-stemmed cut flower.

  • Companion plant = Campanula carpatica ‘Blue Clips’.
  • Full sun.
  • Blooms June-September.
  • Grows 12-14” tall and wide.
  • Attracts bees and butterflies.
  • Deer resistant.
  • Hardy to USDA zone 5.

Nepeta ‘Picture Purrfect’ (Catmint)

Nepeta 'Picture Purrfect' - Catmint Plant

(Nepeta 'Picture Purrfect' | 📸 Walter's Gardens Inc.)

Here’s a variety of Catmint that is just as compact as ‘Kitten Around’ but grows slightly broader for a showier flower display. ‘Picture Purrfect’ also begins blooming about two weeks earlier than most Nepeta and the flowers are noticeably bluer in hue.

  • Companion plant = Dianthus ‘Kahori’.
  • Full sun. Blooms June-September.
  • Grows 10-12” high by 22-24” wide.
  • Attracts bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds.
  • Deer and rabbit resistant.
  • Hardy to USDA zone 3.

Dicentra spectabilis ‘Ruby Gold’ (Bleeding Heart)

Dicentra 'Ruby Gold' - Bleeding Heart Plant

(Dicentra 'Ruby Gold' | 📸 Terra Nova Nurseries)

We had a limited supply of these beauties last year but they sold so fast that we decided to grow our own crop. The unique gold foliage of Dicentra 'Ruby Gold' has rich amber highlights as well as deep red and white heart-shaped blooms.

  • Companion plant = Dryopteris erythrosora.
  • Part to full shade.
  • Blooms May-July.
  • Grows 26” tall by 30” wide.
  • Attracts hummingbirds.
  • Hardy to USDA zone 4.

Scabiosa columbaria ‘Flutter Deep Blue’ (Pincushion Flower)

Scabiosa 'Flutter Deep Blue' - Pincushion Plant

(Scabiosa 'Flutter Deep Blue' | 📸 Ball Seed Company)

With a little deadheading this workhorse perennial will flower from late spring right into autumn. The lavender-blue blooms of Scabiosa 'Flutter Deep Blue' are also larger and richer in tone than the old standard ‘Butterfly Blue’.

  • Companion plant = Gypsophila repens ‘Alba’.
  • Part to full sun.
  • Blooms May-September.
  • Grows 12-14” tall and wide.
  • Attracts butterflies and hummingbirds.
  • Deer resistant.
  • Hardy to USDA zone 5.

Anemone ‘Harlequin Pastel’ (Japanese Anemone)

Anemone 'Harlequin Pastel' - Plant

(Anemone 'Harlequin Pastel' | 📸 Terra Nova Nurseries)

This particular Japanese Anemone has a bouquet branching habit, bearing a myriad of semi-double mid-pink blossoms. ‘Harlequin Pastel’ also works well in containers and is a must-have perennial for that cottage garden look.

  • Companion plant = Aster dumosus ‘Wood’s Light Blue’ in sun.
  • Part to full sun.
  • Blooms July-October.
  • Grows 10-18” tall by 12-15” wide.
  • Attracts bees and butterflies.
  • Deer resistant.
  • Hardy to USDA zone 4.

Heuchera ‘Forever Red’ (Coral Bells)

Heuchera 'Forever Red' - Coral Bells Plant

(Heuchera 'Forever Red' | 📸 Terra Nova Nurseries)

I can still remember the first time I saw this variety as I was walking through a coldframe filled with different heuchera cultivars and the ‘Forever Red’ foliage just glowed, even at a distance. Whether you use them as container accents or bed edging, this evergreen perennial will not disappoint.

  • Companion plant = Liriope muscari ‘Purple Explosion’.
  • Shade to full sun.
  • Blooms August-September.
  • Grows 8” tall by 14” wide.
  • Attracts butterflies and hummingbirds.
  • Deer resistant.
  • Hardy to USDA zone 4.

Lavandula stoechas ‘Primavera’ (Spanish Lavender)

Lavandula 'Primavera' - Spanish Lavender Plant

(Lavandula 'Primavera' | 📸 Darwin Perennials)

Here’s a newer cultivar of Spanish lavender that can’t wait to burst into bloom, even when young, and it also flowers heavily through the summer heat. I could not keep these drought tolerant plants in stock last year as they were always smothered with flowers and very happy pollinators.

  • Companion plant = Achillea ‘Terracotta’.
  • Full sun.
  • Blooms May-September.
  • Grows 14-16” tall and wide.
  • Attracts bees and butterflies.
  • Deer and rabbit resistant.
  • Hardy to USDA zone 7.

Lysimachia alfredii ‘Night Light’ (Black Moneywort)

Lysimachia 'Night Light' Plant

(Lysimachia 'Night Light' | 📸 Ball Seed Company)

The bright gold flowers are the perfect foil for the smoky-black foliage. Try Lysimachia 'Night Light' in a container or as a groundcover and just enjoy the spring to frost bloom period.

  • Companion plant = Hosta ‘Dancing Queen’ in shade.
  • Part sun to shade.
  • Blooms May-September.
  • Grows 10-12” tall by 12-14” wide.
  • Attracts bees.
  • Hardy to USDA zone 5.

Kniphofia ‘Papaya Popsicle’ (Red-Hot Poker)

Kniphofia 'Papaya Popsicle' Plant

(Kniphofia 'Papaya Popsicle' | 📸 Terra Nova Nurseries)

Here’s a great perennial for all those tropical garden lovers, as the evergreen grass-like foliage explodes with bicolor blooms of reddish-orange and gold drumsticks all summer long. ‘Papaya Popsicle’ also performs well in a container, so those sunny decks and patios can still enjoy these drought tolerant beauties.

  • Companion plant = Echinacea ‘Sombrero Lemon Yellow’.
  • Full sun.
  • Blooms June-October.
  • Grows 12-18” tall by 18” wide.
  • Attracts butterflies and hummingbirds.
  • Deer and rabbit resistant.
  • Hardy to USDA zone 6.
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