10 New and Newer Annuals You Should Know

As we eagerly await the beginning of a new season, it’s always fun to see what’s new and find a few new favorites. Which new plants will fit this year’s color scheme? Is it a goal of yours to draw in more pollinators or hummingbirds? Looking for some easy new plants to grow as cut flowers? Let’s see which of our top ten new and newer varieties could help you meet your garden goals this season

1. Superbells® Coral Sun Calibrachoa

It’s hard to think of many other annual flowers that are available in such a broad array of colors and patterns as calibrachoa. We’re excited to add a new tropical coral and sunny yellow bicolor this season to pair with deep purple companions like the new Supertunia® Royal Velvet® petunia shown below. That’s a pairing certain to draw in the hummingbirds.

Aside from their prismatic blossoms, we love Superbells because they bloom non-stop from spring through fall without deadheading. That means you’ll be able to spend all your time enjoying your Superbells instead of constantly picking off the spent flowers. Since calibrachoa are sensitive to heavy, wet soils and high pH, Superbells are best grown in containers rather than in the ground. 

6-12” tall, full sun to part shade

Grow in: hanging baskets, window boxes, container recipes

2. Sweet Caroline Medusa™ Green Ipomoea (sweet potato vine)

We did a double take the first time we saw this one-of-a-kind sweet potato vine! Its palm-shaped leaves are like none other and you won’t find them lining long, sprawling branches either. Instead, Sweet Caroline Medusa Green forms a full, rounded mound that trails slightly over time. You could grow it in place of a Boston fern in a hanging basket for a sunnier spot and not have to worry about watering as often as thirsty ferns demand.

We grew Sweet Caroline Medusa Green in upright container recipes where we noticed it needs to be paired with vigorous companions like Snow Princess® sweet alyssum. This plant would also make a unique, low maintenance edging along a pathway where its shorter stems won’t become a trip hazard. This is an exciting new foliage plant you’ll definitely want to try! 

6-12” tall, full sun to part shade

Grow in: hanging baskets, container recipes, landscapes as a groundcover or edging

3. Luscious® Royale Red Zone™ Lantana

For a heart-stopping splash of color in containers and landscapes, try this new true red lantana. It produces large clusters of fragrant flowers that emerge fire engine red and orange bicolor before transitioning to solid siren red—the ideal colors for luring butterflies and hummingbirds into your garden

If you have a warm, sunny space that tends to be on the dry side, plant lantana. It’s tough enough to handle the reflected heat from your brick paver patio when you grow it in containers and won’t mind drying out a bit before it’s time to water again. Since this variety is sterile, it blooms non-stop all season without putting any energy into producing seeds.  

12-26” tall, full sun

Grow in: hanging baskets, container recipes, cutting garden, landscapes as an accent plan

 

4. Moonlight Knight™ Lobularia (sweet alyssum)

If you close your eyes and think about sweet alyssum, you might imagine its flowers’ heady fragrance floating by on a warm summer breeze. The new Moonlight Knight embodies all of that scented goodness in its creamy yellow blossoms. Until now, sweet alyssum always bloomed with snow white or purple flowers, so we are excited to try this new color paired with other pastels in container and landscape combinations. 

Proven Winners sweet alyssum is unique in that it is sterile, which means it won’t go to seed once the summer heat sets in. Instead, it keeps right on blooming continuously through the fall. The trick is to keep it consistently watered. This is a plant that doesn’t like to dry out. 

8-12” tall, full sun to part shade

Grow in: hanging baskets, window boxes, container recipes, landscapes as a flowering groundcover or edging

5. Supertunia® Royal Velvet® Petunia

You might recognize this classic petunia’s name and wonder why we would include it on a new plant list. This year, Proven Winners has released an improved selection with saturated royal purple flowers that won’t fade in the full blazing sun. Its shape is fuller and more robustly mounded, too. If you’re looking for a bold purple accent in your containers or to make a splash with dramatic purple in your landscape, this is the perfect petunia for you. 

We highly recommend Supertunia petunias specifically because they are self-cleaning, meaning they will bloom non-stop from spring through fall without needing to pick off the spent flowers. When other petunias have gone to seed by August, Supertunias are still going strong, often until frost. 

6-12” tall, full sun to light shade

Grow in: hanging baskets, window boxes, container recipes, landscapes as a flowering groundcover or edging

6. Supertunia Vista® Snowdrift™ Petunia

Did you catch this new member of the Supertunia Vista family last year? It’s everything you love about Supertunia Vista® Bubblegum® but in snow white. These petunias have the unique ability to boost your gardening confidence and make your thumb glow bright green. A single plant can grow up to 4’ wide and 2’ tall, which makes Vistas the best petunias for landscapes. So, if you’re looking to blanket your garden in white this summer or to grow enormous hanging baskets, this is the petunia for you.

PETUNIA SUPERTUNIA VISTA SNOWDRIFT PETUNIA

Like Supertunia Royal Velvet and all Supertunias, the new Supertunia Vista Snowdrift is self-cleaning, so it never needs deadheading. It will bloom from the time you plant it until frost wipes it out in the fall. 

12-24” tall, full sun to light shade

Grow in: extra-large hanging baskets, container recipes mixed with other very vigorous plants, landscapes as a flowering groundcover

7. Rockin’® Blue Suede Shoes™ Salvia

If you’re hoping to have your garden hoppin’ with hummingbirds this year, you definitely need this new salvia. Its magnetism will be obvious once the summer heat sets in, and you’re likely to see butterflies and pollinating bees, too. You may have seen similar salvias with deep purple flowers, but this new variety is a unique shade of blue. Indigo blue buds line the charcoal colored stems, then pop open to reveal large, lighter blue flowers. They make such a pretty pairing with sunny yellow plants like the new Sunbini® creeping zinnia.

SALVIA ROCKIN BLUE SUEDE SHOES SALVIA

Rockin’ salvias grow to be very large plants in one season, so it’s best to plant them in the landscape or in extra-large planters. Give them plenty of sun to see the most blooms.

30-40” tall, full sun to part shade

Grow in: extra-large upright containers, cutting gardens, landscapes as an accent plant

8. Sunbini® Sanvitalia (creeping zinnia)

Do you like sunflowers? What if you could grow a carpet of tiny little sunflower-like blossoms? This heat and drought tolerant annual forms a low, 1-2’ wide mound of dark green foliage that’s dotted with bright yellow, daisy-like flowers all season. As it grows, the new flowers bury the old ones, so you won’t need to worry about spending any time deadheading. We think this would be the perfect low maintenance plant to grow in a rock garden, near the edge of a retaining wall, or lining a pathway in golden blooms. Can you picture it?

SANVITALIA SUNBINI STARBINI CREEPING ZINNIA

6-10” tall, full sun

Grow in: hanging baskets, upright containers, landscapes as a flowering groundcover or edging

9. Whirlwind® Starlight™ Scaevola (fan flower)

It catches people by surprise sometimes when they realize how durable this delicate looking flower really is. Its fan-shaped blossoms flutter in the breeze and draw in honeybees all summer long. What you can’t tell by looking is that Whirlwind fan flowers are extremely durable in heat, humidity, drought and drying winds thanks to their native roots in rugged Western Australia bush country.

We love using this plant in hanging baskets where it won’t mind if we skip a day of watering, and it also brings a fun texture to landscapes. The new Whirlwind Starlight bears bicolor blue and white striped blossoms, joining its solid blue, white and pink siblings in the series. 

8-14” tall, full sun

Grow in: hanging baskets, upright containers, landscapes as a flowering groundcover

10. ColorBlaze® Wicked Witch™ Solenostemon (coleus)

This coleus is wicked cool! If you missed this stunner in its debut last year, here’s another look. If you’re a coleus fan (and really, who isn’t?), we predict that Wicked Witch will make your list of top five cultivars by season’s end. Not only is its toothed foliage wickedly awesome, this plant grows like a beast! It’s one of the largest in the ColorBlaze series, forming a full, bushy clump that reaches upwards of 3’ tall in one season.

SOLENOSTEMON COLORBLAZE WICKED WITCH COLEUS

Why do we love ColorBlaze coleus varieties? They thrive in both sun and shade conditions, are very late to bloom which keeps the plants in great shape all season, and they come in an amazing array of colors and patterns. Try a few in your containers and planted around your yard as a color accent this season and we know you’ll fall in love, too. 

24-40” tall, sun or shade

Grow in: upright containers, cutting gardens, landscapes as an accent plant

Want to see more new plants? Here is Heidi and Rod’s list of Top 15 New Plants for 2021. 

You can also search our plant list by new varieties. 

2 thoughts on “10 New and Newer Annuals You Should Know”

  1. It would be very helpful if you would include the Zone for the plants in your descriptions. I live in Phoenix, AZ, Zone 9. When I fall in love with a plant and spend my time going to a fuller description which includes the zone possibilities, I am often disappointed. Please make it easier for me to make a selection.

    1. Hi Brenda
      You can click on any plant in the article and it will take you to that specific plant’s information page. There you will find all the information you might be looking for on that plant.

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