Unique plants for your landscape.

5 New & Seldom Used Plants for Your Landscape

April is upon us, my gardening friends!  No more staring out the window snuggled up in a blanket.  It’s time to get your hands dirty and do some serious gardening!  Find something new for your garden this year and check out these new and seldom used plants!


Spring may be a great time for planting, but it’s also the best time to get your hands on the new and seldom used plants that you just can’t find the rest of the year.  Plants that are typically in limited supply but, as the hardcore gardener that you are, you HAVE TO HAVE!

Save June and July for planting the great standby plants – Lilac, Spirea, Boxwood.  April and May?  Those are the months to find the really cool plants.

Check out these new and seldom used plants that would make great additions to your garden!


Invincibelle Wee White ® Hydrangea

Hydrangea arborescens Invincibelle ‘Wee White®’

As a new introduction from Proven Winners this year, Wee White® is the first true dwarf ‘Annabelle’ hydrangea.  Topping out at a whopping 2.5 feet (let me repeat – 2.5 feet!!), this is huge!

Or tiny…ahem, you get my drift.

These pure white blooms are held atop sturdy, velvety green foliage even after a storm.  Say bye, bye to the typical floppy arborescens.

AND you get consistent blooming from spring to frost regardless of whether or not your husband or maintenance crew mistakenly whack it back.  You can’t say that about many hydrangea!

To create sturdy stems and to keep the hot St. Louis sun from scorching those beautiful green leaves, allow Wee White® at least 6 hours of sun in the morning and shade to filtered light in the afternoon.

Because this Hydrangea is new to garden centers this year, it will likely be in limited supply.  Shop early for this little pearl.


Add white to your garden to make other plants stand out

Wee White Hydrangea from Proven Winners adds a touch of elegance to the garden. Image Source: Proven Winners


Electric Lights™ Red Exbury Azalea

Rhododendron ‘Electric Lights™’

I’m not a huge Azalea fan.  The colors do help brighten the spring landscape, but they tend to be a bit on the pastel side of the color spectrum.

Instead, I want an explosion of warm color that wakes me from my winter doldrums.  I want something to push away the cold.  I want something that shows off so briefly and so spectacularly that I spend the rest of the year anticipating the upcoming floral explosion!

Enter Electric Lights™ Red Exbury Azalea.

Exbury azaleas are unique in 2 ways:  they are deciduous, meaning they lose their foliage every winter, and they are available in more that just pastel shades.  Think red, orange, and gold!

Deciduous azaleas aren’t new.  But, despite the first crosses made back in 1957, they still haven’t become big players on the plant market in St. Louis.

Electric Lights™ Red is a true garden performer whose flower buds are hardy to -30°.  Its upright form only reaches 4-5 ft. tall and 3-4 ft. wide so it’s perfect for the back of a perennial or landscape border.

The fire engine red flowers will have your neighbors thinking you’ve figured out how to grow tropical plants in a not-so-tropical locale.  Obviously you’re some super garden guru!

Shop in April for this gorgeous plant – once they are done flowering they can be hard to find.



True red flowering spring bloomer.

Electric Lights Red Azalea adds heat to the spring landscape. Image Source: First Edition Plants


Oso Easy Hot Paprika® Rose

Rosa Oso Easy ‘Hot Paprika®’

If you even just ‘kind of’ keep up with the gardening world and new plant introductions, you’re probably wondering why I would pick an Oso Easy® Rose over the highly marketed Knock Out® Rose release.

It’s not so much that I’m NOT excited about the new Knock Out® roses – there’s 3 of them being released this year if you’re not already in the know.  I’m actually very excited to see the Coral Knock Out.  (Which I’ll have in the garden center this spring – get them while you can – they’ll likely be in limited supply this year).

I think it’s more-so that I’m at a point in my gardening life where I’m a bit tired of the same-old, same-old.  I’m craving spice and color.  I want something different.

I want a rose that says, “Hey, look at me, I’m a rose”.  Not in the prep school sort of way but in the Joey from Friends way.  The “how you doin'” sort of way.  And I think I found it in Hot Paprika®.

According to Proven Winners website, Oso Easy Hot Paprika® Rose is finally available in ‘better garden centers in spring 2018’.  This newly introduced pop of orange is a classic, easy to grow landscape rose that has outstanding hardiness and disease resistance.

Like all shrub roses, Hot Paprika® blooms from summer through fall and performs best in full sun.  This rose can be cut back to one-half its size but with it topping out at 2 foot (much smaller than Knock Out), you’ll probably never have to.

Because it’s new to garden centers this season, I’m not sure what the availability will be like, but I do have some booked for spring so get them early!


Oso Easy roses are a smaller alternative to Knock Out Roses

Oso Easy Hot Paprika Rose adds warmth to a garden. Image Source: Proven Winners


Heritage® Oak

Quercus macrocarpa x robur

Umm, an Oak you say?  Why, yes, I do!

I love oak trees and completely fell in love with Heritage® last summer.  Like, late summer.  You know, that point when your oak is tattered and mildewy and is potentially covered with galls?

Late last summer during a shopping trip for fall nursery stock, I was riding through the tree fields and I’m like – “let me out, I want this tree now”!  Needless to say, they looked at me funny but let me out and the rest was history.  Guys!  This tree.

Heritage® was clean.  The foliage was a nearly pristine, dark, glossy green and the acorns were absolutely gorgeous.

As with all oaks, you need a large space for it to grow.  Heritage® is a relatively vigorous grower and will reach around 60 – 80 feet high and 40 – 50 feet wide.  It tends to be broadly pyramidal in its youth but will eventually become rounded to oval as it matures.  I feel like I have so much in common with this oak…

Even if you have space in your yard, the biggest drawback for most people is the acorns that it produces.  Yes, it produces acorns.  Potential baby trees and a trememdous food source for wildlife.  Embrace the acorns.  Love the acorns.


Acorns are a great food source for wildlife.

Heritage Oak offers clean foliage on a strong, stately tree. Image Source: Baxter Gardens


Hello Yellow Butterfly Weed

Asclepias tuberosa ‘Hello Yellow’

Last year, Americans fell in love with our native orange Butterfly Weed.  They were everywhere, even HERE, and rightfully so!  But, what if I told you, non-orange-loving gardeners, that there is another option to this native beauty?

With its golden flowers blooming non-stop from July to August, ‘Hello Yellow’ offers a reprieve to those of you who just can’t do orange.

‘Hello Yellow’ was hybridized from the native Asclepias tuberosa and is a host plant to a multitude of butterfly species but is the sole host plant for the Monarch.  This golden Butterfly Weed loves the sun, good drainage, and is deer resistant.  At 18″ – 24″ in size, it works well in mass plantings.

Don’t think that this plant is all golden, though.  In the fall, decorative, large pods explode with cottony seeds that float on the breeze creating an opportunity for swaths of color the following season.

Butterfly Weed is slow to appear in the spring so don’t expect this one too early at the nursery.  Start checking in May for this yellow wonder – supplies may be limited.


Butterfly weed creates cottony seeds in the fall

When orange just isn’t your color, try Hello Yellow Butterfly Weed. Image Source for Hello Yellow Butterfly Weed: Midwest Groundcovers Image Source Butterfly Weed Seed Pod: Baxter Gardens