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Try These Great New Plants in Your Garden

One of the joys of gardening is to be able to experiment with new varieties every year. Thanks to advances in plant breeding, new outdoor plants are hitting the highs and lows: higher eye appeal and lower maintenance. Here are 10 great new outdoor plants to consider for your garden, from vines and shrubs to perennials and annuals.

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Dracula Celosia

Don't be frightened: This Dracula isn't dangerous. In fact, these plants are a lot of fun to have around! Dracula celosia is a novelty annual with large, unusually shaped flowers. The dark-purple flowers of this plant pair well with the purple-toned foliage, bringing eye-catching color and drama to the summer garden. Plus: Our top bush pruning tips.
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Gilded Sun Floribunda Rose

Yellow roses tend to bleach out in sunlight, losing their vivid color. Gilded Sun is a new introduction with non-fading yellow blooms atop large, glossy green leaves. Some older roses have problems with diseases such as black-spot, but Gilded Sun is exceptionally disease resistant. As for pests such as Japanese beetle, which are attracted to all roses, check out these tips. Gilded Sun has an upright, bushy form, reaching 4-5 ft. in height, 3-4 ft. in width. It is hardy in Zones 5-9.
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Strawberry Blonde French Marigold

This Strawberry Blonde will turn heads all right—just look at all the multicolor blooms on one plant! The flowers open deep pink with rustic yellow highlights, then mature to straw yellow. It's a completely different look, yet the typical marigold qualities (mounded form, heat tolerance) are still readily apparent. Strawberry Blonde grows 8-10 in. tall and 6-8 in. wide, so it's great in containers. (Learn more about container gardening here.)

Plus: Learn how to create an amazing river rock flower bed.

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Nubia Clematis

The Boulevard series of clematis earn their stripes for a very simple reason: they have more blooms and a longer season of color as well among garden flower plants. Boulevard flowers up and down the entire vine, not just at the top. Nubia is a new introduction with dark red blooms. It grows 4-6 ft. tall and blooms in spring and summer. Like other clematis, Nubia is best enjoyed when it has something to climb on (see our copper trellis here). It is hardy from Zones 4-9.
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Mesa Red Gaillardia

For a different twist on a popular outdoor plant, try Mesa Red gaillardia. Its intense red color won't fade in the sun. This heat-tolerant perennial, sometimes grown as an annual, reaches 14-16 in. tall and 20-22 in. wide. It's drought tolerant once established, and is great for pollinator gardens in particular. The Mesa series is also available in peach, yellow and bicolors if you're looking for plants with colorful leaves. Build a low-maintenance water feature for your garden.
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Vernique Shining Seas Veronica

Vernique Shining Seas joins its sibling, Vernique Blue, as stellar outdoor plants worthy of any cottage-style garden and great landscaping bushes. While the latter has rich purple flowers in summer, Shining Seas (shown) offers bicolor spikes of lavender-blue flowers. Both grow 18 in. tall and 16 in. wide and are hardy in Zones 4-8. Like other veronicas, Shining Seas and Blue are deer- and rabbit-resistant, making them brilliant landscape plant ideas. Check out these affordable garden path ideas you can do yourself.
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Mint Julep Annual Geranium

Mint Julep could almost make you forget about flowers. Almost. Just look at the beautiful variegated foliage with broad swatches of white along the borders?that alone is reason enough to grow this geranium. By all means, enjoy the scarlet-red flower clusters throughout the summer. But when the time comes to deadhead your geraniums, despair not. You've still got the foliage. Mint Julep grows 1 ft. tall and wide. Check out these frugal gardener tips.
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Ignition Purple Salvia

VIBE 'Ignition Purple' is a Salvia and jamensis hybrid with both beauty and brawn. The vibrant purple blooms are prolific in spring and summer. But it also has excellent heat and humidity tolerance. 'Ignition Purple' grows 18-24 in. tall and wide and is perfect for flower borders, cutting gardens and wildlife plantings. It is hardy in Zones 7-11. Build a rain garden with this how-to guide.
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Blackbeard PenstemonPhoto courtesy of Ball Horticultural

Blackbeard Penstemon

This heat-, humidity- and cold-tolerant perennial is great at attracting hummingbirds. 'Blackbeard' boasts white-accented lilac flowers rising above dark-purple, mounded foliage. It grows 28-34 in. tall and 2 ft. wide and blooms from early to midsummer. Burgundy seedpods follow, extending the season of interest. 'Blackbeard' is hardy in Zones 3-8. Check out these essential lawn and garden maintenance tips.

Luke Miller
Luke Miller is an award-winning garden editor with 25 years' experience in horticultural communications, including editing a national magazine and creating print and online gardening content for a national retailer. He grew up across the street from a park arboretum and has a lifelong passion for gardening in general and trees in particular. In addition to his journalism degree, he has studied horticulture and is a Master Gardener.