Yeah, I am actually getting around to talking about landscapers favorite perennials. I mean it was after all only May when I started talking about landscapers favorite trees and it’s only now what? August?
I might was well get to straight to the point. What great new perennials have I discovered since I have gotten into the biz as you could say?
Well let me start by saying that I won’t cover every cool new perennial, just the ones that seem to be used the most in my area.
Let’s start with one’s you might already know. Today, I will cover eight I have known about for a while. They are all great plants that deserve the wide use they get. Although they are sometimes overused. We will cover ones that are new to me in part two.
Landscapers favorite perennial, Stella De Oro Daylily
Hemerocallis ‘Stella de Oro’
Everytime I see this plant spec’d in a design a little voice in my head yells in the voice of Marlon Brando “STELLLAAA!”. Yeah really, even though the closest I remember to seeing “A Streetcar named Desire” was a Simpson adaption where it was Flanders playing Stanley.
I personally tired of this flower color about a decade ago, but this rebloomer is still used in masses. It’s goldish yellow blooms do look very nice with the deep purple of my Jackmanii clematis. They thankfully bloom at the same time every year in June when there is not a lot else in bloom in my yard. Which of course I can’t find a photo of!
Their foliage looks ratty after a while, so I recommend cutting it to the ground in August to get a flush of fresh green foliage through Fall.
Pardon Me Daylily
Hemerocallis ‘Pardon Me’
We might as well get the #2 Daylily out of the way as well. I think bloom color of “Pardon Me’ is much more pleasant to look at then the Stella, but it does seem to not rebloom as much. I would prefer this one for ease of mixing with other flower colors as I think it does not clash like Stella often can.
Leucanthemum x superbum
The Shasta daisy, is a hybrid developed by Luther Burbank in the 1890s near snow covered Mt. Shasta in northern California. He crossed European oxeye daisy, Pyrenees chrysanthemum, Portuguese field daisy and the Japanese field daisy to produce the Shasta daisy. This hybrid typically grows to 2-3′ tall with a spread to 18″ wide.
I am lazy and just spec the cultivar ‘Becky’, although there are other cultivars that are just as good. ‘Snowcap’ is a fine lower growing form that is also used a bunch. I grew ‘Becky’ in my yard from plants I started from seed in my laundry room and I think they helped sell my house.
They are nice strong plants with white and yellow flowers that have a long bloom that can be extended with deadheading. They do however have little value when they are not blooming, so don’t go nuts planting too many.
Magnus Purple Coneflower
Echinacea purpurea ‘Magnus’
Landscape designers like to use cultivars. No better example could be the purple coneflowers (Echinacea purpurea). While I don’t care for many of the coneflower cultivars, Magnus is a winner. This one is seems to be the winner of the popularity contest among the designers I know.
It was designated as the “1998 Perennial Plant of the Year TM” by the Perennial Plant Association. It is a vigorous and large growing coneflower cultivar.
It’s bright reddish-pink petals are held flat as they radiate out from the cone, instead of curving backwards like most coneflowers. It makes a good cut flower. While I don’t care for many of the coneflower cultivars, Magnus is a winner.
Goldsturm Black Eyed Susans
Rudbeckia fulgida ‘Goldsturm’
The “Perennial Plant of the Year TM” for 1999. This late summer bloomer is VERY popular and very easy to grow. It is best used in bold drifts in the perennial border, cottage garden, or meadow. It provides excellent bloom and color for late summer as well as attracts butterflies and birds.
The plant’s gold daisy like flowers bloom for seven to eight weeks beginning in midsummer.It is also easy to grow from seed.
Another “Perennial Plant of the Year TM” winner. This one is from 1992. Coreopsis ‘Moonbeam’ is a dependable bloomer and all-round plant. It is also one of the most used perennials in the landscape designs I see. If the Landscape designers and architects I work with are that comfortable using this plant in designs maybe you should be too.
The flowers are lemon-yellow color which grows on top of lacy delicate looking green foliage that has an wispy appearance. The flowers are abundant and bloom throughout the entire summer. If dead headed, the flowers will be more abundant.
Autumn Joy Sedum
With a Latin name like that, no wonder everybody calls this by it’s common name.
I don’t see this Fall bloomer planted super often, but for Fall bloom it is probably the most commonly used plant. It is a dependable choice for the late summer and fall garden with it’s colorful display of flowers.
It also offers foliage interest earlier in the season when it’s green broccoli-like buds appear in mid-summer.
Landscapers favorite perennial grass, ‘Karl Foerster’ feather reed grass
Calamagrostis × acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’
This is the most used perennial ornamental grass in the landscaping industry without a doubt! It was the “Perennial Plant of the Year TM” for 2001.
This terrific hybrid is used in every town where landscapers can grow it. I might add, for very good reason.
I like that it is able to grow great in heavy clay soil. It is always neat, stands up straight till the end of winter, and is a STERILE plant. That means it won’t do that oh so nasty habit the Miscanthus have of having sex and spreading there ugly little seedlings around. Use without worry about spreading an invasive.
Maybe you already knew all of these landscapers favorite perennials. We will cover some I bet you don’t know (I didn’t) in part two.
LOL…. love your humour Jim! Enjoy your comments… and advice. Must say I have to do a ‘head flip’ when reading overseas websites… “fall” is not the same months as our Autumn…. etc… but I’ll get there 🙂 Loved your suggestions on this article. I’ll definitely be using more with confidence! You may not love ‘daylillies’ but I”m finding that in our increasingly hotter Summers and water restrictions, they come into their own and do really well. Phew! Cheers from Jean in Cape Town, RSA.
Glad you like it. I think you are my first comment from South Africa. I have to admit Chicago is a long way from Cape Town, so your results may certainly vary!
Could you tell me when is the best time to move the moonbeam coreopsis. I want mine to spread. I think they might be in a bad area. They get a lot of sun, but die early. do you have any advice for me. Thank you.
You can move them anytime pretty much during the growing season, as long as you avoid the worst heat of the Summer and too late in the Fall where they won’t have a chance to re-establish. So now sounds like a great time.
kathleen reilly says
I discovered your site when I was searching for information about a “Bird’s Nest Spruce”, and your comments and images were very helpful!
Bob Marckese says
I always look forward to reading your posts. They have been very helpful. I have a question. I have an Oak Leaf Hydrangea in my front yard which has not bloomed for the last two years. Always bloomed before. It is in a somewhat shaded area. Any ideas as to why it has not bloomed these last two years?
I would guess two bad winters in a row.