Bestsellers for the Sun

“What constitutes a good, basic set of sun-loving perennials?” is a popular question at the trade shows. Easy, straightforward, and popular would describe a program for someone just starting out. When creating a perennial bench the primary focus should be on the popular varieties. It’s important for your program to get traction in the market, and that means sales. Without a solid financial base, your perennial program is vulnerable to closing.

Inevitably, the first year is when you make most of your mistakes, so these are also the most forgiving cultivars. They are good teaching crops, and they will help you decide issues of soil, pot size, lushness, and a number of other factors that organize your production logistics.

After that first flush of success, make it a point to gather feedback from your growers and your customers on the direction of diversity mostly likely to succeed. Don’t diversify in your first year—that year should be reserved for the basics. Explores diversity in your second year.

So, how do you assemble a good first year list of starter perennials for the sun?

A good list of starter perennials for the sun has the following qualities:

  • Select recognized varieties of familiar genera. Famous names and common varieties are best.
  • Choose cost effective varieties to grow and hold at the grower. Look for forgiveness about watering and minimal upkeep as far as pesticides, cutting back, and fungicides. Let nature do the heavy lifting if you can. It happens these same valuable qualities for successful growers also make a plant successful in the garden, especially for beginners.
  • And of course, opt for eye-catching flowers or foliage that stays appealing on the shelf and lasts a long time.

Based on this criteria, we recommend:

  • COREOPSIS ‘Zagreb’
  • ECHINACEA ‘Cheyenne Spirit’
  • ECHINACEA ‘Pow Wow Wild Berry’
  • GERANIUM ‘Rozanne’
  • LAVANDULA ‘Phenomenal’
  • PENNISETUM ‘Fireworks’
  • RUDBECKIA ‘Goldsturm’
  • RUDBECKIA ‘Little Goldstar’
  • SALVIA ‘May Night’
  • YUCCA ‘Color Guard’

If you are looking for more diversity, here are some additional cultivars to bring the list to 25. This lineup adds more diversity, but still sticks to the best sellers that are reasonably easy-care.
  • ASCLEPIAS tuberosa
  • ASTER ‘Wood's Blue’
  • DIANTHUS ‘Firewitch’
  • DIANTHUS ‘Kahori’
  • ECHINACEA ‘Hot Papaya’
  • ECHINACEA ‘Kim's Knee High’
  • GERANIUM ‘Biokovo’
  • GERANIUM ‘Max Frei’
  • HIBISCUS ‘Kopper King’
  • HYDRANGEA ‘Merritt Supreme’
  • LAVANDULA ‘Provence’
  • LEUCANTHEMUM ‘Becky’
  • NEPETA ‘Walker's Low’
  • PENNISETUM ‘Cherry Sparkler’
  • PENNISETUM rubrum
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