The Best Perennials for 2024

Fine Gardening – Issue 217
new perennials 2024

No matter how large or small a garden is, there’s nothing like a few new plants to make the gardener’s heart sing. We’ve looked over the introductions for 2024 and found some we think you’ll love as much as we do. From jaw-dropping flowers to fabulous foliage and a few tasty edibles, there’s sure to be a plant (or several) that will have friends asking, “Where did you get that?” The challenge with new introductions is that numbers are often limited the first year, so it can be a bit of a challenge to find them at garden centers or online nurseries. So shop early and don’t give up; these gorgeous new plants are sure to be around next year too.

Tons of sky-blue flowers grace this amsonia with a super-compact habit

Hardins Gem smooth bluestar
Photo: courtesy of Plant Delights Nursery

‘Hardin’s Gem’ smooth bluestar (Amsonia glaberrima ‘Hardin’s Gem’)

Zones: 5–8

Size: 30 inches tall and 48 inches wide

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

Native range: North America

What’s not to love about our native smooth bluestars? They’re deer resistant, pollinator friendly, and low maintenance, and they look great from spring to frost. From wild seed collected in Hardin County, Texas, ‘Hardin’s Gem’ is all this and more. It has a dense habit; smooth, narrow green leaves; and, most exciting of all, even more flowering stems than all other smooth bluestars to keep your borders colorful (and pollinators happy) throughout spring.

Introduced by: Plant Delights Nursery


A beautiful solution for hot, dry spots

Midnight Velvet sedum
Photo: courtesy of Walters Gardens

‘Midnight Velvet’ sedum (Sedum ‘Midnight Velvet’)

Zones: 3–9

Size: 22 to 26 inches tall and 30 to 32 inches wide

Conditions: Full sun; well-drained soil

Native range: Hybrid

If you love easy-to-grow sedums, this new variety won’t disappoint. In fact, with its deep purple foliage and color-changing blooms, you’ll love it even more. ‘Midnight Velvet’ begins in spring with rosebud-like new growth that’s just as chocolaty as its mature foliage. Just be sure to grow it in full sun; with too much shade the leaves have a green tint. When flower buds form in summer they’re mauve, but they open to rose-red flowers followed by dark red seed heads that birds feast upon later in the season. ‘Midnight Velvet’ is heat and drought tolerant, so it will look great even in places that are hard to reach with the hose or in spots with lots of reflected heat, such as next to a sidewalk or driveway.

Introduced by: Proven Winners® and Walters Gardens


The perfect choice if you crave extra-bright blossoms

Parade of Parrots penstemon
Photo: courtesy of Terra Nova Nurseries

‘Parade of Parrots’ penstemon (Penstemon ‘Parade of Parrots’)

Zones: 7–9

Size: 36 inches tall and 18 inches wide

Conditions: Full sun; well-drained soil

Native range: North America

When it comes to flowers, ‘Parade of Parrots’ really delivers. Strong upright stems are covered in dazzling 1½-inch trumpet-shaped pink blooms from early summer to fall. Even as the flowers fade, the seed heads are blushed deep pink. Because ‘Parade of Parrots’ penstemon produces few seeds, it has the energy to keep flowering. You don’t have to deadhead, but if you do, flowery side stems will take off more quickly. Well-drained soil is a must for this nativar, although it does best with regular moisture.

Introduced by: Terra Nova® Nurseries


Enjoy a rare flower hue for an herbaceous peony

Wonderous Creation peony
Photo: courtesy of Swenson Gardens

‘Wonderous Creation’ peony (Paeonia ‘Wonderous Creation’)

Zones: 3–9

Size: 2 feet tall and 3 feet wide

Conditions: Full sun; well-drained soil

Native range: Europe, Asia, western North America

Nothing beats the lush blooms of herbaceous peonies in spring, but yellow has long been an elusive color. Thankfully, ‘Wonderous Creation’ has resolved that problem. Each stem produces a ruffled, double bloom that’s 3½ to 4 inches in diameter with strong, sweet fragrance. These are upright plants with strong stems that will save you some work, as they don’t usually need staking.

Introduced by: Swenson Gardens


Deliciously fragrant flowers make this hosta special

Simply Divine hosta
Photo: courtesy of Plant Delights Nursery

‘Simply Divine’ hosta (Hosta ‘Simply Divine’)

Zones: 3–9

Size: 18 inches tall and 45 inches wide

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

Native range: Hybrid

When this new hosta blooms, you’ll be so glad you’re growing it. A cross between H. longipes and H. plantaginea, ‘Simply Divine’ has glossy, robust green foliage topped by white, lavender-striped blooms that have a honeysuckle-like scent. This trait allows it to make any shady path or seating area more enticing. When you wander over to enjoy the fragrance, don’t be surprised if you catch a few hummingbirds sampling its trumpet-shaped blooms.

Introduced by: Plant Delights Nursery


This chartreuse foliage will bring the “wow” factor to your border

Chartreuse on the Loose catmint
Photo: courtesy of Walters Gardens

‘Chartreuse on the Loose’ catmint (Nepeta ‘Chartreuse on the Loose’)

Zones: 3–8

Size: 8 to 10 inches tall and 20 to 24 inches wide

Conditions: Full sun; well-drained soil

Native range: Caucasus, Turkey, northwestern Iran

‘Chartreuse on the Loose’ has long-lasting lavender flowers from spring to fall and amazing chartreuse foliage that holds its color all season. Just be sure the plants are growing in full sun; in too much shade the leaves will be greener. And since flowery new growth overtakes the old, there’s no need to cut the stems back after they fade, like you would do with most catmints. At just 10 inches tall with a mounded habit, this pint-size perennial provides all-season color along with lots of pollinators at the front of your border. It’s vibrant enough and small enough to grow in containers as well.

Introduced by: Walters Gardens


These moody blooms will turn heads

Blackjack agapanthus
Photo: courtesy of Southern Living Plants Collection

Blackjack™ agapanthus (Agapanthus ‘DWAgHyb02’)

Zones: 8–11

Size: 14 to 20 inches tall and 14 to 16 inches wide

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

Native range: South Africa

The almost-black buds of Blackjack™ agapanthus open into a deep, rich purple that adds depth and sophistication to a sunny patio or border. Pair it with white flowering candytuft (Iberis sempervirens, Zones 3–8) or silvery artemisia (Artemisia spp. and cvs., Zones 4–9) for a beautiful heat- and drought-tolerant combo. Blackjack™ doesn’t skimp on blossoms either. It sports more flowering stems that arrive a bit earlier than other agapanthus varieties and has a reliable rebloom, so you can enjoy it longer into the season.

Introduced by: Southern Living Plant Collection


Fall borders will stay orderly and colorful with this pretty nativar

Thunderdome aster
Photo: courtesy of Intrinsic Perennial Gardens

‘Thunderdome’ aster (Symphyotrichum ‘Thunderdome’)

Zones: 3–9

Size: 2 to 3 feet tall and 3 feet wide

Conditions: Full sun; well-drained soil

Native range: North American hybrid

A cross between New England aster (S. novae-angliae) and aromatic aster (S. oblongifolium), ‘Thunderdome’ has an abundance of small purple flowers to provide mid-border color and lots of nectar for migrating butterflies. The plants have a dense, bushy habit with woody stems, so you don’t have to worry about staking or administering the Chelsea Chop. From its aromatic aster parentage, ‘Thunderdome’ gets good drought tolerance and fragrant foliage; just rub a leaf or two together to take in its balsam scent.

Introduced by: Intrinsic Perennial Gardens


Get stunning flowers in late winter to early spring with this new classic

Childhood Sweetheart hellebore
Photo: courtesy of Walters Gardens

‘Childhood Sweetheart’ hellebore (Helleborus ‘Childhood Sweetheart’)

Zones: 4–9

Size: 18 to 24 inches tall and wide

Conditions: Partial to full shade; well-drained soil

Native range: Europe, western Asia

What a way to kick the winter blues out the door! ‘Childhood Sweetheart’ has double yellow blooms with deep red backs, edges, and veins in early to mid-spring. These plants are vigorous and produce lots of flowering stems, so you can cut a few to bring inside for your vase and still have plenty of early-season color left in the garden. And if deer are a problem in your area, no worries—like all hellebores, this one is deer and rabbit resistant. Grow ‘Childhood Sweetheart’ with other shade-tolerant perennials, such as lungwort (Pulmonaria spp. and cvs., Zones 4–8) and epimedium (Epimedium spp. and cvs., Zones 4–8).

Introduced by: Walters Gardens

Sherri Ribbey is the senior editor for Garden Gate, and Danielle Sherry is the executive editor for Fine Gardening.

View Comments


Log in or create an account to post a comment.

Related Articles

The Latest