Five Best New Perennials of 2022

Growers and garden centers have some interesting new and compact twists on tap for several favorite perennial flowers as spring 2022 unfolds.

1. Amsonia ‘String Theory’

Amsonia String Theory

© Walters Gardens, Inc.

Amsonia hubrichtii, commonly called “bluestar,” is an under-used native perennial with blue spring flowers and showy fine-textured foliage that turns gold in fall. The main rap against it is that some people think it gets a little tall and floppy with its three-foot height.

New for 2022 is ‘String Theory,’ a compact version that knocks a foot off of this plant’s usual height.

The variety blooms a little later in spring than the species but still retains the periwinkle-blue flower color as well as the brilliant golden fall-foliage color.

Plants grow just under two feet tall, ideally in full sun. Amsonia is also heat-tolerant, it’s not a favorite of deer, and it’s hardy in Zones 4-9.

2. Hibiscus Summerific ‘Edge of Night’

Hibiscus Edge of Night

© Walters Gardens, Inc.

Hardy hibiscus flowers look much like their big, showy, tropical counterparts, but they grow on plants that are cold-tough enough to withstand even northern-U.S. winters.

Summerific ‘Edge of Night’ is distinctive for its dark leaves and pink, bubblegum-colored flowers that are splashed with white.

At three-and-a-half-feet tall and four-and-a-half-feet wide, it’s slightly more compact than most hibiscus plants. Flowers span seven to eight inches wide.

Hibiscus grows best in full sun, and this one is hardy in Zones 4-9.

3. Anemone Spring Beauty Pink

Anemone Spring Beauty Pink

© Plants Nouveau

This new perennial is being touted as the first deep-pink, spring-blooming anemone. (Most anemones of this type bloom in late summer or early fall.)

Spring Beauty Pink is virtually covered in bubblegum-pink flowers in late spring, when early pollinators appreciate the early snack.

Plants seldom run into any bug or disease issues and grow 10 to 12 inches tall in Zones 4-8, ideally in full sun to part shade.

4. Sedum Rock ‘n Grow ‘Back in Black’

Sedum Back in Black

© Walters Gardens, Inc.

Sedum has long been a late-summer favorite for its succulent leaves that make it heat- and drought-tough.

The new Rock ‘n Grow ‘Back in Black’ variety is a standout newcomer because it adds dark foliage to the show along with nicely contrasting garnet-red flowers in late summer into early fall.

The variety also maintains its upright habit throughout the season, avoiding the flopping apart that plagues many sedums when the heavy flowers get wet.

‘Back in Black’ plants grow about two feet tall in Zones 3-9, ideally in full sun.

5. Artemisia SunFern™

Artemisia SunFerns™

© Ball Horticulture

This new two-variety series looks like a fern but is actually a fern-like type of Russian wormwood that’s much more suited for drought and sun than ferns, most of which prefer damp soil and afternoon or full-day shade.

SunFerns make good accent plants in the landscape as well as good textural companions to flowers in a container. They’re also cold-hardy, mounding perennials that grow about 18 inches tall in Zones 4-9.

SunFern Olympia has dark-green leaves with red stems, while SunFern Arcadia has gray-green foliage.

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