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Regional Picks: Underused Perennials – Northwest

Fine Gardening - Issue 187

1. Hardy Begonia

Name: Begonia grandis

Zones: 6–9

Size: 24 to 30 inches tall and wide

Conditions: Morning sun or dappled shade; consistently moist, well-drained soil

Native Range: Japan and China

Hardy begonia lends a tropical feel to the shade garden and is surprisingly tolerant of freezing temperatures. Succulent shoots appear in late spring with bold, deep green leaves that often have red to burgundy tones on the underside. Waves of pink flowers, dangling in clusters, dot the vigorous patch from midsummer well into autumn. When fall frosts collapse the plant, leave the debris in place and top it with a light layer of mulch. Small bulblets will form along the stem and sprout to form new plants next spring.

 

2. Variegated Japanese Iris

Name: Iris laevigata ‘Variegata’

Zones: 5–9

Size: 3 feet tall and 3 to 4 feet wide

Conditions: Full sun to partial shade; average to wet soil

Native Range: Japan

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