Everlasting™ Garnet hydrangea
Plants Nouveau’s Everlasting™ series of big-leaf, strong-stemmed, re-blooming hydrangeas is sure to be a favorite for gardeners, and those who enjoy cutting flowers for indoor arrangements.
Originally bred for the cut-flower trade in the Netherlands, Opal, Garnet, Jade, Revolution, Harmony, Coral, Amethyst, and Ocean hydrangeas (H. macrophylla) will be in garden centers and nurseries this year for home gardeners in Zones 5–9. They grow to be 3 ′–4 ′ tall and as wide, and are suitable for shrub or mixed borders, and large containers.
Everlasting™ Revolution (‘Hokomarevo’) hydrangea
The flowers of Everlasting™ Revolution are a kaleidoscope of color, emerging in shades of green, and then maturing to pink, purple, blue, red and back to green with just a kiss of the previous hues. Each flower looks like a bouquet atop sturdy stems with shiny, crinkled leaves.
Hardy in USDA Zones 5 – 9, Everlasting™ hydrangeas grow about 2' – 4' tall and wide, depending on the cultivar. The habit and size of Everlasting™ hydrangeas makes them appropriate plants for long-blooming summer containers. Plant in full sun to part shade, in moist soil that drains well.
As a re-blooming hydrangea, the Everlasting™ series blooms on both current and past season growth. Pruning usually is not necessary unless the plant gets too large for its space or to remove spent blooms. If necessary, prune after the shrub is done blooming in late summer; pruning later in the year will remove next years developing flower buds.
Summer Cascade™ wisteria
If you’ve been struggling unsuccessfully with wisteria in your garden, meet First Editions® Summer Cascade™. This 2013 introduction of native Kentucky wisteria (Wisteria macrostachya) is a species that has a light fragrance, but blooms the first year in the garden.
Despite its southern roots, Summer Cascade™ is a climbing vine hardy in USDA Zones 4 – 8. It is a great addition for the upper Midwest and elsewhere where other wisterias struggle. Its lilac blooms occur on the current seasons' growth, meaning that the branches that grow this year will bear flowers and seedpods this year. Prune as growth begins in spring.
Summer Cascade™ is a big improvement over the more popular Japanese (W. floribunda) and Chinese (W. sinensis) species that bloom on year-old growth. Japanese and Chinese wisteria flower buds are frequently killed or damaged by winter temperatures or late-season cold snaps, making them unreliable bloomers; they may take 10 years or more to bloom. Pruning is tricky too. The exotic wisterias are dubbed "invasives" in many states.
Plant Summer Cascade™ in full sun. It will reach 15′–25′ tall at maturity, so make sure it has a sturdy arbor, fence, gazebo, pergola or other structure to climb.
Breeders and growers have heard gardeners’ pleas for a dwarf hydrangea that is hardy, blooms every year, and is not fussy.
Although it has a funny name, Proven Winners/Color Choice Plants’ Bobo® hydrangea is nothing to laugh at. At maturity, Bobo® will be about 3 feet tall and 4 feet wide, a perfect size to provide structure in a perennial garden or as a specimen in the shrub border or container.
Bobo® (Hydrangea paniculata) blooms on current season growth so its flower buds are unlikely to be damaged by winter temperatures or late spring frosts. Prune after bloom in fall or in early spring after hard frost is passed.
Bloom begins in late spring and early summer with large, upright cone-shaped flower heads or panicles of white flowers. These continue to lengthen through the season, becoming pale to medium pink as they mature in fall.
Plant in part sun or full sun in average soil. Bobo® is hardy in USDA Zones 3a–9b, perfect for the country’s coldest climates. This is another long-blooming hydrangea that would do well in a container.
Sonic Bloom™ Red weigela
Prized for their trumpet-shaped flowers in spring and early summer, weigela has been a staple in the landscape for decades.
Two new weigelas (W. florida) for 2013—Sonic Bloom™ Pearl and Sonic Bloom™ Red— have been bred for their reblooming characteristics, extending their beauty for months.
Lipstick red flowers on Sonic Bloom™ Red come on the scene in late spring and continue with waves of color until frost. Sonic Bloom™ Pearl’s flowers open white and gradually change to pink throughout the summer into fall. For gardeners who prefer pink, Proven Winners/Color Choice Plants introduced Sonic Bloom™ Pink in 2012. Self-cleaning, there’s no need to remove the spent flowers on Sonic Bloom™ weigela, so maintenance is minimal for this easy-to-grow and care for shrub.
Sonic Bloom™ Pearl weigela
Plant weigelas in part sun to full sun, with average, well-drained soil. Sonic Bloom™ weigelas will reach 5 feet tall and wide at maturity, so give them enough space. Bloom occurs on new growth; as the shrubs grow during the season, they will continue to bear flowers. Sonic Bloom™ weigelas are hardy in USDA Zones 4a-8b.
Other shrub-growing tips:
- Avoid high-nitrogen fertilizer for flowering shrubs because it will encourage foliage at the expense of flowers. Work a slow-release, all-purpose balanced fertilizer in the soil around newly planted shrubs in spring. Always read and follow the product label instructions.
- Flowering shrubs do best when given adequate moisture steadily throughout the growing season, especially during hot, dry weather. New plantings need about 1 inch of water a week from rainfall or the hose. Irrigate at ground level to conserve water.
- Control weeds around flowering shrubs. Preen Mulch Plus provides six months of protection from broadleaf weeds and annual grasses around trees, shrubs and perennials. It is the only mulch on the market treated with Preen, valued for preventing weeds in landscape beds. Made with high quality hardwood, Preen Mulch Plus comes in Chestnut Brown, Midnight Black and Russet Red, which are guaranteed for a year without fading. Preen Mulch Plus conserves soil moisture and moderates soil temperature, reducing watering tasks. You can find Preen Mulch Plus at Lowe’s and select independent garden centers.