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GardenSMART :: 4 New Gotta Have It Problem Solving Plants for 2017

4 New Gotta Have It Problem Solving Plants for 2017

By Kate Karam, Monrovia
Photographs courtesy of Monrovia

What a time to garden! We’ve worked with the best breeders around the world as well as at our own facilities to develop a slate of new plants for 2017 that have improved characteristics such as hardiness, and a refined or more compact habit. All to make gardening easier, more fun, and with a big payoff.

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Want plants with loads of color, texture, and beauty in even smaller spaces, but which are also tough, easy-care, and low-maintenance? Check out six new compact hydrangeas and two new compact clematis, all with supersized returns in terms of bloom size and number of blooms, some with a re-blooming habit, and which are exceptionally hardy even in very cold zones.

Need a hardy, fuss-free evergreen backbone shrub, but with a twist? These two new ones are virtually bulletproof, but they also are splashed with crazy color. So hot where you garden that plants essentially put themselves to bed in the dog days of summer? New salvias sail through it all.

Layer a few of these new and improved varieties into your garden (or start a fresh new bed, border, or container) and then just get out of their way and let them do their thing! Here are just four of the new and exclusive problem solving plants you can order online or purchase at garden centers near you.

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Seaside Serenade® Cape Cod Hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla 'HMUPSI' P.P.A.F.)

Our hearts are always set to swoon for a classic Hamptons-style hedge, foundation planting, border, or even a container of brilliant blue hydrangeas. But we’re a bit short on space and need one that blooms like crazy all season long. Here’s the answer! This one’s a hardy, repeat blooming machine with large blue or pink (depending on soil pH) mophead flowers on a tidy, mounded form. ‘Cape Cod’ quickly reaches 4 ft. tall and wide so it’s not just a little fabulous when massed, or even as a single specimen tucked into a large pot near the back door. Great cut flower, too, especially around the 4th of July when you want that red/white/blue scheme. Deciduous. Zone: 4 – 9

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VIBE® Ignition Purple Salvia (Salvia x jamensis 'Ignition Purple' P.P.A.F.)

No one really likes August all that much (admit it!) and that includes so many of our favorite plants. Many simply shut down and refuse to bloom instead putting their energy into staying alive. That’s the time you’re so happy to have planted heat-lovers such as salvia. What makes prolific, compact, small-leaved ‘Ignition Purple’ so remarkable is that it comes from a breeding program to develop salvias with exceptional beauty, length of bloom time, environmental adaptation, and strength. This one is notably prolific of bloom, extremely heat and humidity tolerant, and quite cold hardy within its type. Use in borders and cutting gardens. Herbaceous perennial. 2 ft. tall and wide. Zone: 7 – 11

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Boulevard® Nubia™ Clematis (Clematis 'Evipo079' P.P.A.F.)

Vines are on the rise (look for them to trend big over the next few years) because they solve the problem of instant height in the garden, can work in really tight, tall spaces, and love to cover surfaces such as walls and fences (some need help, some are happy to twist and turn all on their own). So any clematis, with its rich, elegant flowers, would be a great addition. What makes the Boulevard series of clematis even more gotta-have-it is the nature of the plants to stay compact, topping out at about 6” tall, to bloom in late spring and again throughout the summer, and to flower from the ground up so there are no bare knees to deal with. ‘Nubia’ is an improved variety (replacing the popular ‘Rebecca’) with deep, dark red, very large blooms. Use in large containers, train onto short pillars, espalier onto walls, or plant under taller, leggy clematis to hide bare stems. Up to 6 ft. tall. Deciduous. Zone: 4 – 9

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Jazzy Jewel™ Andorra Juniper (Juniperus horizontalis 'MonGeo' P.P.A.F.)

Junipers might be one of the most unsung heroes of the garden, victims of their own success. They’re so tough, easy-care and happy to grow pretty much where they land, that it’s easy to take them for granted. But they do so much for the landscape. They knit soil on slopes, add texture to the front of borders, and hide often less-than-attractive foundations—all while requiring little in the way of hand holding. So when a new one comes along and does all that AND adds lots of zip to the landscape, best to take notice. ‘Jazzy Jewel’ has gold-splashed foliage for most the year and holds that color better than other variegated varieties. Plus, come winter, its tips become tinged with purple and bronze for added interest. Use it to line a driveway, add it to a rock garden, or mass it next to a sidewalk. Spreads to 2 ft. tall and 6 ft. wide. Evergreen. Zone: 3 – 9

Find many more “gotta have it” plants perfect for solving problems and creating long-lasting beauty at While you’re there, be sure to sign up for our award-winning monthly newsletter, Plant Savvy.


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