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GardenSMART :: Great Plants to Grow in 2019

Great Plants to Grow in 2019

By Therese Ciesinski, GardenSMART

As a garden writer, I am fortunate to receive a horticultural preview of coming attractions from growers each spring. They send samples of plants that will be introduced the following year for me to grow and try in my own garden.* Of the 20 or so I grew in 2018, these were the standouts: plants that outperformed expectations even when they weren't given optimal growing conditions or care. I grew the annuals and edibles in pots on my deck, where there's the most sun. The perennials went into the garden, which gets part sun.

These plants are new for 2019 and are available in nurseries, garden centers and by mail order.

Perennials

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Photograph courtesy of Stonehouse Nursery.

Veronica longifolia 'Marietta' and Veronica longifolia 'Melanie White'. I had never grown veronica (common name speedwell) when I received 'Marietta' and 'Melanie White' to try in my garden, so wasn't entirely sure what to expect. I didn't give these poor girls the most optimal treatment or conditions: I planted them late, and my garden doesn't get the amount of sun they need to reach their bloom potential. That said, I was delighted with both. Each filled out and bloomed well – perennials don't always do much their first year – and provided great color. They didn't get as tall as they might have in full sun, but their upright shapes were a nice contrast to the mounds of perennials and shrubs around them.

There were no problems with pests or diseases on either variety. I'm looking forward to seeing how they perform this coming summer. Both attract bees and butterflies, and are hardy in zones 4-8.

'Marietta's' flowers are a deep, saturated blue, easily the deepest blue in my garden. It starts blooming in early summer and will bloom a second time if deadheaded. 24-36" tall.

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Photograph courtesy of Rijnbeek and Son Perennials.

'Melanie White' has flowers that are a very bright white, and they really glowed amongst its neighbors. Their color and flower shape reminded me of swans, and were so pretty when they swayed in the breeze. Strong stems make it a good cut flower. 26-30" tall.

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Photograph courtesy of Paul Westervelt.

Geranium sanguineum 'Pink Summer'. I love everything about G. sanguineum (common name cranesbill): its creeping groundcover habit, how the leaves change color in the fall, and of course, the small flowers that cover the plant in early summer and bloom intermittently for months. This is the first pink-flowered one I've grown, and I was not disappointed. Soft pink flowers spangled beautifully dissected foliage that turned red in fall. I planted it in a dry spot and did need to water regularly. Attracts butterflies and bees but not deer. Sun to part shade. 6-12" tall; spreads to 18". Zones 4 to 8.

Annuals

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Photograph courtesy of Proven Winners.

Diamond Mountain Euphorbia. A blizzard of frothy white flowers on soft green foliage, this "filler" plant was quite a thriller for me. In fact, it out-bloomed and almost swallowed the petunias it was planted with. This euphorbia gets to be two to three feet tall and wide. Mine were in window boxes, so they didn't get that big, but it wasn't for lack of trying. They spilled out of the boxes. I would plant Diamond Mountain this year in bigger pots as an effervescent backdrop to other plants. Part sun to sun. 24-36" tall. Hardy in zones 10 and 11.

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Photograph courtesy of Proven Winners.

Rockin' Fuchsia Salvia. Another annual I planted in a container. Rockin' Fuchsia was terrific in bloom, and terrific out of bloom. The deep purple-black calyxes that remain after the electric fuchsia blossoms drop off are just as interesting as the flowers. Hummingbirds and pollinators love it. Blooms all summer. It can get lanky; a good trim keeps it full. Height: 24-36" Part sun to sun. Annual, but hardy in zones 9 to 11.

Edibles

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Photograph courtesy of Proven Winners.

Berried Treasure Strawberry (Fragaria). This is a beautiful plant; the red flowers are so exquisite that the fruit is almost a bonus. Berried Treasure is everbearing, so the small but sweet berries arrived all summer, dangling delicately off the plant. Bright green leaves set off the flowers and fruit nicely. Especially recommended for containers. Keep soil evenly moist and fertilize regularly. Full sun. Hardy in zones 4 to 9.

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Photograph courtesy of Proven Winners.

Amazel Basil (Ocimum). I will grow this every year. Huge, lush puckered leaves that just kept coming, giving me lots for sandwiches, pesto and caprese salad. The leaves weren't bitter or tough. It filled its container; I wonder how much bigger it would get in the ground. Amazel basil is sterile, so its energy goes to leaf production rather than seed. If flowers do appear, pinch them off. Resistant to downy mildew, which plagues basil. Height: 20-36". Full sun.

*The plants I receive are sent free of charge. I am not paid or obligated to write about them.

 


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