Design

9 New Trees and Shrubs for Your Garden

Fine Gardening – Issue 199

The tiniest panicle hydrangea yet

Name: Fire Light Tidbit® panicle hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata ‘SMNHPK’)

Fire Light Tidbit® panicle hydrangea
Photo: courtesy of Proven Winners® Color Choice®

Zones: 3–8

Size: 2 to 3 feet tall and wide

Conditions: Full sun to partial shade; moist, well-drained soil

Native range: China, Korea, Japan, and Russia

Plant breeders seem somewhat obsessed with getting panicle hydrangeas smaller and smaller—and with good reason. First, the smaller the shrub, the easier it is to ship (and the more of it you can pack onto a truck). But breeding more compact versions allows more gardeners to get in the game. Fire Light Tidbit® is touted as the smallest panicle hydrangea to date—but its blooms are full-size. The flowers emerge white and, like those of its bigger brother, eventually age to a bright magenta pink. This little guy is suitable for container growing as well, and it will overwinter in an appropriately sized pot without extra insulation.

Introduced by Proven Winners® Color Choice®

 

Nitty Gritty™ peach rose
Photo: Courtesy of Monrovia®

Heat and humidity don’t bother this rose

Name: Nitty Gritty™ peach rose (Rosa ‘RUIRI0091A’)

Zones: 4–8

Size: 3 feet tall and 4 feet wide

Conditions: Full sun; moist, well-drained soil

Native range: Hybrid

When we first were introduced to this new plant, we thought, “Oh great, another peach-colored shrub rose.” But the sarcasm was thrown aside when we learned that this rose has been trialed in Georgia for quite some time and has shown little to no leaf-spot issues in that hot and humid climate. Expect a spreading, ground-cover habit and blooms all summer long without deadheading.

Introduced by Monrovia®

 

Classic beauty without the seediness

French Cabaret™ rose of Sharon
Photo: courtesy of Bailey Nurseries

Name: French Cabaret™ rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus* ‘MINDOUV 5’)

Zones: 5–8

Size: 5 to 6 feet tall and 4 to 7 feet wide

Conditions: Full sun; well-drained soil

Native range: China

For all of its good traits (long bloom time, tolerance for lean soil, resistance to abuse and neglect), rose of Sharon has a well-deserved reputation of being a nuisance shrub/tree. That moniker is due to its propensity to seed itself everywhere. Where you have one rose of Sharon, you easily will have 100 in a year. French Cabaret™ is sterile, though, allowing you to enjoy its frilly double flowers for eight weeks in summer without having to worry about it taking over your entire garden.

Introduced by Bailey Nurseries

Keep it in mind

Size is a moving target

With new perennials, it’s fairly easy to pinpoint a mature size, since they usually max out after three years. With trees and shrubs, however, it’s not the same. These woodies can take 10 or more years to reach their mature size. So when you’re reading the label on a new tree or shrub, remember that it could get much bigger.

 

Jade Parade® sand cherry
Photo: courtesy of Bailey Nurseries

 

A native plant with too many good traits to count

Jade Parade® sand cherry
Photo: courtesy of Bailey Nurseries

Name: Jade Parade® sand cherry (Prunus pumila ‘UCONNPP002’)

Zones: 3–7

Size: 2 to 3 feet tall and 4 to 6 feet wide

Conditions: Full sun; lean, well-drained to dry soil

Native range: Eastern North America

We love it when a new native plant enters the nursery market, and it’s even sweeter when that plant is as incredible as Jade Parade® sand cherry. This shrub has a low profile, with branches that arch upward and give it a striking silhouette. The leaves are a glossy blue-green and shift to brilliant shades of yellow, orange, and red in fall. In early spring, the branches are covered with small white flowers that are beloved by early pollinators. Mature plants form a thicket of stems, providing shelter for overwintering birds. It’s a winner on all counts.

Introduced by Bailey Nurseries

 

These big blooms won’t flop (Editor’s Pick)

‘Snowcicle’ oakleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Snowcicle’)
Photo: courtesy of Plants Nouveau

Name: ‘Snowcicle’ oakleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Snowcicle’)

Zones: 5–9

Size: 4 to 6 feet tall and wide

Conditions: Partial shade; moist, well-drained soil

Native range: Southeastern United States

The bigger the blooms on an oakleaf hydrangea, the greater the chances are that it’s going to flop over and collapse in on itself by midsummer. That’s what makes ‘Snowcicle’ different. It has the same double-flowered panicles as the well-known ‘Snowflake’, but the blooms are bigger (12 to 14 inches long) and the branches are exceptionally strong to hold those giant blossoms aloft. Great fall color and improved vigor add to the list of this plant’s great traits.

Introduced by Plants Nouveau

 

Meet the best option for replacing boxwoods

Chubby Hubby™ Japanese holly
Photo: Chubby Hubby™ Japanese holly

Name: Chubby Hubby™ Japanese holly (Ilex crenata* ‘MAD-IC-I’)

Zones: 6–8

Size: 5 to 7 feet tall and 3 to 4 feet wide

Conditions: Full sun to partial shade; moist, well-drained soil

Native range: Japan and Korea

The push of late was to develop Japanese hollies with a straight and narrow habit, but Chubby Hubby™ goes in the opposite direction. The breeders did a better job than we could ever do in describing this shrub: “The dad-bod features of this holly are perfectly suited for evergreen hedging, replacing boxwoods and other evergreens that are plagued by diseases, insects, or are weak stemmed.”

Introduced by Bailey Nurseries

*See invasive alert below

Keep it in mind

Sometimes it’s time for an upgrade

It can be harder to incorporate new trees and shrubs into your garden if it’s already established. However, as new varieties are released with greater disease resistance or perhaps better habits, it may be time to consider a replacement.

Short in stature but big in color intensity

Wee Bit Grumpy® bigleaf hydrangea
Photo: courtesy of Proven Winners® Color Choice®

Name: Wee Bit Grumpy® bigleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Stragrum’)

Zones: 5–9

Size: 2 feet tall and 3 feet wide

Conditions: Partial shade; moist, well-drained soil

Native range: Japan and Korea

Admittedly, it was the name of this hydrangea that first captured our attention. Then we read about how, despite being ultracompact, it produces full-size blossoms on long, strong stems. We knew there was something more here than just a cute name. Wee Bit Grumpy® would make an excellent replacement for the popular dwarf ‘Pia’ bigleaf hydrangea—and it blooms off new and old wood, ensuring more reliable flowering. In acidic soils the blue-purple pigment of this variety is unmatched.

Introduced by Proven Winners® Color Choice®

 

The Petite Knock Out® rose
Photo: courtesy of Plants Nouveau

 

The teeny, tiny version of the most popular rose ever created

Name: The Petite Knock Out® rose (Rosa ‘Meibenbino’)

Zones: 5–9

Size: 18 inches tall and wide

Conditions: Full sun to partial shade; moist, well-drained soil

Native range: Hybrid

Knock Out® roses: You either love them or hate them. Regardless, it’s hard to deny their disease-resistance and never-ending flower show. These shrubs get big, though, often topping out at 5 feet tall and wide. For those who don’t have that kind of space, meet the mini-version. The Petite Knock Out® rose has the same flower power and toughness, in a package a fraction of the size.

Introduced by Star® Roses and Plants

 

‘ReJoyce’ drooping laurel
Photo: courtesy of Plants Nouveau

‘ReJoyce’ drooping laurel purple
Photo: courtesy of Plants Nouveau

This shrub looks great in every season

Name: ‘ReJoyce’ drooping laurel (Leucothoe axillaris ‘ReJoyce’)

Zones: 6–9

Size: 2 to 3 feet tall and 3 to 4 feet wide

Conditions: Partial to full shade; moist, well-drained soil

Native Range: Southeastern United States

Why don’t more people grow drooping laurel? Perhaps they have been waiting for a variety that sports gorgeous wine red winter color—like ‘ReJoyce’. This shrub also is disease-free, shade-loving, and evergreen. In addition, it has an excellent weeping form and white bell flowers in spring that are sweet smelling.

Introduced by Plants Nouveau

 

Back to collection


Danielle Sherry is the executive editor.

*Invasive alert: Japanese holly (Ilex crenata)

This plant is considered invasive in NJ and TN.

Please visit invasiveplantatlas.org for more information.

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