Perennials Top Picks

We are fortunate to be living in a time where perennial breeders around the world are very engaged in producing improved versions of garden favourites, resulting in plants that have superior vigour, longer bloom times, nicer growth habits for the landscape, and much better disease resistance compared to many older varieties. Of course, there are still plenty of tried-and-true classic varieties that continue to be favourites with gardeners and landscapers because of their proven reliability. This means we have a bigger than ever selection of perennials to choose from, even in our cold climate!


With so much choice out there, it’s hard for me as Greenland’s perennial buyer to narrow down the choices to the absolute best varieties, and I know it can be even more daunting for our customers to look through all the information that is available and make the best choices for their yards. That’s why I’ve decided to create a list of “top picks”: my favourite perennial varieties that will be available this year which, based on my experience and feedback I’ve received from staff and customers, I have judged to be some of the best performers for Alberta gardens. This is by no means an all-inclusive list, but I hope it will make it easier to narrow down your choices, or at least give you a starting point.


-Joe Gadbois, Greenland Perennials Manager

Actaea Hillside Black Beauty

'Hillside Black Beauty' Bugbane (Actaea simplex)

Bugbane is one of those plants that just seems to endure no matter what kind of season we get. We have had them in our display garden at Greenland for many years, and through years of wet, drought, extreme heat, and extremely cold winters with little snowcover, they come back each year without fail. ‘Hillside Black Beauty’ is my favourite variety because of its near-black foliage and tall, stately spikes of fragrant white flowers (opening from pink buds) in late summer to fall. This plant does best with rich, consistently moist soil, but will grow equally well in shade or sun (we sell it as a shade plant). The foliage colour is strongest with some direct sun exposure. This is simply one of the best contrast plants for the back of a border. A similar variety that doesn’t grow quite as tall is ‘Black Negligee’.

  • Tall spikes of fragrant white flowers from pink buds in late summer to fall; attracts pollinators.
  • Forms a large clump of divided, near-black foliage.
  • Fertile, moist, well-drained soil; shade to sun.
  • Deer and rabbit resistant.
  • 1.2-1.8m (4-6 ft.) Sp. 90-120cm (3-4 ft.) Zone 3
Allium Millennium

‘Millennium’ Allium (Allium sp.)

Also called ornamental onions, alliums come in both spring- and summer-blooming varieties, with the spring-blooming types typically only available as fall bulbs. We sell summer-blooming types as perennials, and ‘Millennium’ is probably the best of the bunch. This plant forms a very tidy clump of deep green, strap-shaped leaves which have an onion scent when crushed. In the second half of summer, masses of globe-shaped clusters of rich purple-pink flowers appear which are attractive to bees and butterflies. I love it for its summer display, tidy habit, and virtually indestructible nature: it rarely experiences insect or disease problems; thrives in heat, drought, and poor soil; and comes through extreme winters like a champ. I wouldn’t be without it!

  • Globe-shaped clusters of purple-pink flowers in summer; attracts pollinators.
  • Forms a tidy clump of deep green foliage.
  • Average to poor, well-drained soil; drought tolerant once established. Sun.
  • Deer and rabbit resistant.
  • 40-50cm (16-20 in.) Sp. 30-40cm (12-16 in.) Zone 3
Aristolochia macrophylla

Dutchman’s Pipe (Aristolochia macrophylla)

This vine deserves to be seen in more gardens. People are often looking for a fast-growing vine that can be used as a privacy screen, and this is one of the best options. The large, heart-shaped leaves form a dense canopy, making it especially well-suited for screening or creating shade on a porch or pergola. It doesn’t hurt that the foliage is very attractive as well! Kids will be enchanted by the unusual flowers, which are hidden behind the leaves but really resemble little smoking pipes. Plant in fertile soil with good moisture, and it will thrive in sun or shade. You only need to prune to control the size.

  • Small, brown, pipe-shaped flowers in summer (obscured by foliage).
  • Forms a thick canopy of large, heart-shaped leaves.
  • Average to fertile, moist, well-drained soil; sun to shade.
  • 3.5-7m (12-22 ft.) Zone 3

‘Lady in Red’ Fern (Athyrium filix-femina)

When people want a good hardy fern to plant in a shady spot, this is the first one I show them. It’s a selection of a native species, which has red petioles (leaf stems) to contrast with the finely divided green foliage. It forms a nice tidy clump and provides beautiful textural contrast in the landscape. It’s also easy to please and reliable.

  • Forms a clump of finely divided leaves with contrasting red petioles.
  • Does not produce flowers.
  • Fertile, moist, well-drained soil; shade.
  • Rabbit resistant.
  • 80-90cm (32-36 in.) Sp. 60cm (24 in.) Zone 2
Baptisia Honey Roasted

‘Honey Roasted’ False Indigo (Baptisia sp.)

I have chosen the variety ‘Honey Roasted’ here because of its unusual colour, but believe me, you can’t go wrong with any variety of false indigo. They form a bushy clump of pea-like foliage (this is a legume) from a deep taproot that is very drought tolerant and thrives in poor soil. In summer, spires of lupine-like flowers appear, followed by attractive seedheads that rattle when ripe. ‘Honey Roasted’ has brown and yellow bicoloured flowers; if that isn’t your jam, false indigo comes in many other colours: check out ‘Grape Escape’, ‘Pink Lemonade’, ‘Twilite’, and the traditional blue, to name a few. Be sure to plant this in a permanent location, as they are difficult to move.

  • Spires of pea-like, brown and yellow bicoloured flowers in summer; attracts pollinators.
  • Forms a large, bushy clump of pea-like foliage.
  • Average to poor, well-drained soil; drought tolerant once established. Sun.
  • Deer resistant.
  • 90-100cm (36-40 in.) Sp. 100-120cm (40-48 in.) Zone 3
Brunnera Alexander's Great

‘Alexander’s Great’ Siberian Bugloss (Brunnera macrophylla)

I wouldn’t have a shade garden without one of these. As the leaves emerge in spring, airy stems of sky-blue, forget-me-not-like flowers appear. A few weeks later, you have a stunning mound of heart-shaped silver leaves which are etched with green veining, providing colour contrast the rest of the season. Another great variety, with almost pure silver leaves, is ‘Alexandria’. Plant either of these with a dark-coloured variety of coralbells such as ‘Obsidian’ for a dramatic effect near the front of a shady border.

  • Airy stems of tiny, sky-blue flowers with a yellow eye in spring.
  • Forms a mound of large, heart-shaped, silver leaves with green veining.
  • Fertile, moist, well-drained soil; shade.
  • Rabbit resistant.
  • 30-35cm (12-14 in.) Sp. 60-75cm (24-30 in.) Zone 3
Calamagrostis Lightning Strike

‘Lightning Strike’ Feather Reed Grass (Calamagrostis x acutiflora)

‘Karl Foerster’ feather reed grass continues to be one of the most popular perennials, and here we have a bit of a different take on it. Like Karl, ‘Lightning Strike’ is a well-behaved clump-forming grass that adds vertical interest to the landscape. It will also give you the feathery plumes of purplish flowers in summer that turn tan later on. However, the foliage itself has a wide white streak down the centre, like ‘Avalanche’ but even brighter, which allows it to stand out more in the landscape than its peers. This variety is a little shorter, so it can be used where you don’t need as much height. Like other varieties of feather reed grass, it is pretty bulletproof which makes it easy to recommend.

  • Feathery plumes of purplish flowers in summer, turning tan later in the season.
  • Forms an upright clump of white-streaked foliage.
  • Average to fertile, moist, well-drained soil; drought tolerant once established. Sun to part shade.
  • Ht. 90cm (3 ft.) Sp. 60cm (2 ft.) Zone 3
Clematis Joe Zary

‘Joe Zary’ Clematis (Clematis sp.)

My colleague Bob Stadnyk, who needs no introduction for perennial enthusiasts in Alberta, is a huge fan of this clematis, which was bred on the Canadian Prairies. No wonder! It’s a spring blooming Atragene type, but unlike similar varieties like ‘Bluebird’, you will get some rebloom out of this one throughout the summer. It’s tough as nails, shade tolerant, vigorous, and doesn’t require a lot of pruning: all big pluses for anyone who wants a clematis. Frilly violet-purple flowers are produced in great profusion, especially during the initial spring/early summer bloom period.

  • Frilly violet-purple flowers in spring to early summer, reblooming throughout summer; attracts pollinators.
  • Vigorous vine requires support for upright growth.
  • Fertile, moist, well-drained soil; sun to part shade.
  • Pruning Group A.
  • Deer resistant.
  • 2.5-3.5m (8-12 ft.) Zone 2
Clematis Rain Dance

‘Rain Dance’ Clematis (Clematis sp.)

Not many people are familiar with rambling-type clematis, and while they don’t tend to present well in containers in the greenhouse, they are gorgeous in the garden. “Rambling” means non-clinging, so these will not climb supports unless they are tied to them. They look attractive if allowed to grow up and over an obelisk, or if simply allowed to ramble along as a groundcover; or spilling over rocks or retaining walls: they have many potential uses. ‘Rain Dance’ has really impressed me because it blooms ALL summer and well into the fall, something we don’t see with older varieties of this type. The flowers are a nice mid-blue colour. Rambling clematis are herbaceous and should be cut back to ground level in fall or spring.

  • Masses of bell-shaped, mid-blue flowers in early summer to fall; attracts pollinators.
  • Rambling (non-clinging) growth habit.
  • Fertile, moist, well-drained soil. Sun to part shade.
  • Deer and rabbit resistant.
  • 100cm (40 in.) Sp. 75cm (30 in.) Zone 3
Dianthus Mad Magenta

‘Mad Magenta’ Pinks (Dianthus caryophyllus)

Wow! This must be one of the best (if not the best) introductions of Dianthus in a long time, and that is saying something because we have had some impressive new varieties come out in the last few years. This plant has enormous clove-scented neon-pink flowers, double the size of any other variety, and they continuously bloom from late spring until fall frosts. Unbelievable! I can’t say enough about this plant. It’s a must-have if you need a punch of colour in the front of a border or a rock garden. The mounding evergreen foliage contrasts with its frosty blue-green colour as well. Pinks need to be planted in well-drained soil and will not tolerate heavy clay or waterlogged soil.

  • Masses of large, fragrant, neon-pink flowers in spring to fall; attracts pollinators.
  • Forms a low mound of evergreen, blue-green foliage.
  • Average to sandy, well-drained soil; drought tolerant once established. Sun.
  • 15-20cm (6-8 in.) Sp. 25-30cm (10-12 in.) Zone 3
Dicentra King of Hearts

‘King of Hearts’ Fernleaf Bleeding Heart (Dicentra sp.)

Fernleaf bleeding hearts are not as widely grown as the old-fashioned type, but they have some serious benefits over the latter. While they are plants for the front of a border or rock garden due to their smaller stature, they don’t peter out in the summer heat and will continuously bloom into the fall. ‘King of Hearts’ has locket-shaped carmine-pink flowers held just above a mound of frosty blue green, finely cut leaves. Plant it in a spot with morning sun or dappled shade all day and well-drained soil.

  • Masses of nodding locket-shaped, carmine-pink flowers in spring to fall.
  • Forms a low mound of ferny blue green foliage.
  • Average to fertile, moist, well-drained soil. Part shade.
  • Deer resistant.
  • 25-30cm (10-12 in.) Sp. 30cm (12 in.) Zone 3
Dicentra Ruby Gold

‘Ruby Gold’ Bleeding Heart (Dicentra spectabilis)

The old-fashioned bleeding heart remains a favourite among gardeners and one of the best perennials for shady areas. ‘Ruby Gold’ is the most colourful variety available, with the characteristic strands of heart-shaped flowers being red with white tips in this variety, contrasting with bright golden leaves branching from red-tinged stems. It’s a real knockout when in full bloom, and if you shear it back a bit after blooming the foliage will still look great all summer against darker leaved plants (refer to ‘Hillside Black Beauty’ bugbane at the top of this list). A similar variety is ‘White Gold’, which has pure white flowers and is without the red colouration on the stems; it’s a really luminous and beautiful plant (maybe for a moon garden?).

  • Strands of heart-shaped, red flowers with white tips in spring to early summer.
  • Forms a large mounding clump of golden foliage with red-tinged stems.
  • Average to fertile, moist, well-drained soil. Shade.
  • Deer resistant.
  • 65-80cm (26-32 in.) Sp. 90cm (36 in.) Zone 3
Echinacea Kismet Raspberry

KISMET Raspberry Coneflower (Echinacea sp.)

Echinacea fall into the category of plants that many people want to grow, but many people also have trouble with. In Alberta, part of that problem is variety selection (not all are winter hardy), and part of it is unsuitable soil conditions. The KISMET series have excellent genetics, as evidenced by the thick crowns the plants produce, and this is a sign of good overwintering potential. The Raspberry selection has done particularly well in our display garden here at Greenland, and I have had great feedback from customers who have tried it as well. Many flowers are produced on a compact, well-branched plant, and they are an intense raspberry colour. Echinacea must have excellent soil drainage and will not tolerate heavy clay soil; they are ideal for hot and dry areas.

  • Daisy-like, intense raspberry-pink flowers with a raised central cone in summer to fall; attracts pollinators.
  • Forms a compact clump of coarse leaves.
  • Average to sandy, well-drained soil; drought tolerant once established. Sun.
  • Deer resistant.
  • 45cm (18 in.) Sp. 60cm (24 in.) Zone 3
Eupatorium Euphoria Ruby

‘Euphoria Ruby’ Joe Pye Weed (Eupatorium purpureum)

Joe pye weed is a native plant, and the wild species as well as any of the selections on the market are great plants for late season colour and for attracting pollinators. ‘Euphoria Ruby’ is a newer introduction with a more compact habit that makes it well-suited for smaller spaces, and it also starts blooming earlier which extends the bloom season. ‘Gateway’ is a great alternative if you do want a bigger plant. Either way, these plants are virtually unaffected by insect or disease problems, and they will tolerate both drought and wet.

  • Large clusters of purple-pink flowers in summer to fall; attracts pollinators.
  • Forms a mounding clump of umbrella-shaped leaves from reddish stems.
  • Average to fertile, moist to wet soil; tolerates drought once established. Sun to part shade.
  • Deer resistant.
  • 60-80cm (24-32 in.) Sp. 60-80cm (24-32 in.) Zone 2

‘Bonfire’ Cushion Spurge (Euphorbia polychroma)

Cushion spurge is one of our top-selling perennials, impossible to keep in stock when they are blooming in gardens. But I can never figure out why more people don’t try ‘Bonfire’, the red-leaved version! Perfect mounds of red foliage contrast with clusters of yellow bracts, which appear in late spring to early summer. The foliage colour intensifies in fall. A virtually carefree plant for sunny borders, xeriscape, or rock gardens. Plant in a sunny, open location to prevent powdery mildew, the only major problem with cushion spurge.

  • Clusters of yellow bracts in late spring to early summer.
  • Forms a perfect mound of smoky red foliage.
  • Average to sandy, well-drained soil; drought tolerant once established. Sun.
  • Deer and rabbit resistant.
  • 25-30cm (10-12 in.) Sp. 40-45cm (16-18 in.) Zone 3
Festuca Beyond Gold

‘Beyond Gold’ Fescue (Festuca glauca)

I love this recently introduced ornamental grass, whose new growth emerges gold before maturing to icy blue. The short tufts of foliage look great clustered together in rock gardens or at the edge of borders, and they are resistant to summer browning sometimes seen on fescue. Feathery spikes of flowers appear in late spring to early summer. If you prefer a fescue that is just blue, ‘Pepindale Blue’ is my favourite as it has the most intense blue colour and is also resistant to browning. Fescue should be divided every few years to rejuvenate them.

  • Short, feathery spikes of tan flowers in late spring to early summer.
  • Forms a low tuft of hair-like, gold foliage that later matures to icy blue.
  • Average to sandy, well-drained soil; drought tolerant once established. Sun.
  • Ht. 25-30cm (10-12 in.) Sp. 40-45cm (16-18 in.) Zone 3

'Happy Returns' Daylily (Hemerocallis sp.)

The daylily is one of the most versatile and reliable perennials for Alberta gardens. You really can’t go wrong with any variety! So-called because each flower lasts just a day, daylilies are not true lilies and are therefore not bothered by scarlet lily beetle. In fact, they are seldom affected by insect or disease problems. ‘Happy Returns’ is part of the reblooming Happy Ever Appster series. These plants bloom over an extended period in summer, but even when not in bloom, their grassy foliage looks great. I prefer this variety to ‘Stella d’Oro’ as the flowers are a brighter yellow colour, and they are also a little bigger and nicer formed.

  • Fragrant, lily-like, bright yellow flowers on medium scapes in summer; reblooming.
  • Forms a tidy clump of grassy foliage.
  • Average, well-drained soil; drought tolerant once established. Sun to part shade.
  • Ht. 45cm (18 in.) Sp. 45-60cm (18-24 in.) Zone 2
Heuchera Obsidian

‘Obsidian’ Coralbells (Heuchera sp.)

Coralbells are invaluable contrast plants for shade, but many of the varieties on the market have questionable winter hardiness in Alberta. If you’ve never grown one before, ‘Obsidian’ is the one to start with. This variety has proven itself over decades to be reliable in our climate, and its near-black mounds of foliage are hard to beat for the dramatic display created when combining them with brighter coloured plants like Siberian bugloss (see above), gold-leaved bleeding hearts (see above), or chartreuse coloured hosta. This variety is also very sun tolerant. The flowers are somewhat nondescript; I just cut them off, but bees may visit them if you prefer to leave them on. Be sure to plant coralbells in well-drained soil, and every few years they may need to be dug up and replanted at the proper depth since they like to climb out of the soil! As the foliage is semi-evergreen, do not cut back in fall but instead remove any dead leaves in spring.

  • Nondescript creamy white flowers on tall stems in summer.
  • Forms a low mound of semi-evergreen, glossy near-black foliage.
  • Average to fertile, moist, well-drained soil. Shade to sun.
  • 20-25cm (8-10 in.) (without flowers) Sp. 40cm (16 in.) Zone 3
Hosta Spartacus

'Spartacus' Hosta (Hosta sp.)

Easily one of the most reliable shade plants, many hosta also tolerate sun (look for yellow and green leaved cultivars)! These are grown primarily for their beautiful foliage. It’s hard to pick a favourite, but ‘Spartacus’ is my “desert island” hosta because of its big, ruffled and wavy leaves with gold margins. With thousands to choose from, you aren’t likely to be disappointed with any of them. These clump-forming plants are a little slower to establish and won’t reach their full size until a few years after planting. However, they seldom need dividing and are rarely affected by pests (slugs being the only potentially troublesome one).  For best results, amend your soil well with compost before planting and add 1-2″ of compost around the plants each spring. Evenly moist soil also results in the happiest hosta, but they will tolerate dry periods once established.

  • Lily-like, pale mauve flowers on tall scapes in midsummer.
  •  Forms a clump of large, ruffled and wavy, blue-green leaves with gold margins.
  • Fertile, moist, well-drained soil. Shade.
  • Ht. 45cm (18 in.) (without flowers) Sp. 90cm (36 in.) Zone 2
Monarda Cherry Pops

Sugar Buzz Series Beebalm (Monarda sp.)

Modern breeding in beebalm has made such great strides in growth habit, flower production, and disease resistance, that there is really no reason to stick to the old varieties, in my opinion. Sugar Buzz is a great choice if you are looking for something near the 2-foot mark height wise; there are both shorter (Balmy, Leading Lady) and taller (Upscale) series on the market as well. Sugar Buzz comes in a number of vibrant colours (‘Cherry Pops’ pictured here) and the plants form a dense mound that is loaded with frilly blooms, which are bee magnets over an extended period in summer. The foliage has the bergamot aroma characteristic of all beebalm.

  • Loads of frilly blooms, available in several colours, in summer; attracts pollinators.
  • Forms a compact mound of aromatic foliage.
  • Average to fertile, moist, well-drained soil. Sun.
  • Deer resistant.
  • 50cm (20 in.) Sp. 65cm (26 in.) Zone 3

‘Kitten Around’ Catmint (Nepeta x faassenii)

If you are looking for something that attracts pollinators, blooms all season, and isn’t fussy, catmint should be near the top of your list. ‘Kitten Around’ is such a huge improvement over the scraggly looking older varieties, and I think it’s the best on the market right now. It forms a tidy mound of aromatic, grey-green foliage, and will be loaded with violet-blue flowers all summer which are a favourite place for bees to hang out. Consider planting this near your veggie garden to improve your yields. While cats do love the leaves, I wouldn’t be worried about attracting cats into your yard if they aren’t already a problem. If they are an existing problem, however, they are likely to bother this plant instead of others (like your veggies), and catmint can take a lot of abuse! It will grow almost anywhere there is sun with ease.

  • Loads of violet-blue flowers all summer into the fall.
  • Forms a compact, tidy mound of grey-green, aromatic foliage.
  • Average to poor, well-drained soil; drought tolerant once established. Sun.
  • Deer and rabbit resistant.
  • 30-35cm (12-14 in.) Sp. 50-55cm (20-22 in.) Zone 3

‘Prime Time’ Russian Sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia)

Russian sage is one of the best plants for hot, dry areas with poor soil and one of the best for late season colour. ‘Prime Time’ is the latest in breeding with these; an earlier start to blooming extends the season, while it has an excellent full, bushy, upright habit. Spikes of violet-blue flowers appear in the second half of summer and last well into the fall, complementing the aromatic, grey-green foliage. This is a subshrub that should not be cut back in fall; instead, cut back to where foliage begins to emerge in late spring.

  • Spikes of violet-blue flowers in summer to fall.
  • Forms an upright, bushy clump of grey-green, aromatic foliage.
  • Average to poor, well-drained soil; drought tolerant once established. Sun.
  • Deer resistant.
  • 75-90cm (30-36 in.) Sp. 60-75cm (24-30 in.) Zone 3
Phlox Violet Pinwheels

‘Violet Pinwheels’ Moss Phlox (Phlox sp.)

Spring-blooming moss phlox are fantastic groundcovers which are exceptional in rock gardens. ‘Violet Pinwheels’ is one of the best, with fragrant, purple-blue flowers which bloom heaviest in spring but will sporadically rebloom in summer and fall. During the peak bloom period, the mat of needle-like evergreen foliage will be almost completely obscured by flowers. Plant in a hot, sunny location in sharply drained soil.

  • Pinwheel shaped, fragrant, purple-blue flowers in spring, sporadically reblooming in summer and fall.
  • Forms a flat mat of needle-like evergreen foliage.
  • Average to gritty, sharply drained soil; drought tolerant once established. Sun.
  • 5-10cm (2-4 in.) Sp. 60-90cm (24-36 in.) Zone 2
Phlox Sunset Coral

Luminary Series Summer Phlox (Phlox paniculata)

Summer phlox are another group that have experienced some significant improvements thanks to modern breeding. The Luminary series from Proven Winners represents the best genetics available in tall summer phlox today. I have yet to see powdery mildew affect these plants either in the greenhouse or in the garden. What’s more, they are sturdy and well-branched, with many large hydrangea-like clusters of fragrant flowers, and they will rebloom well into the fall if deadheaded. Summer phlox are easily grown in well-drained soil in full sun, and this series is just as winter hardy as older varieties. Available in several vibrant colours (‘Sunset Coral’ shown).

  • Large hydrangea-like clusters of fragrant flowers in summer to fall, available in several colours; attracts pollinators.
  • Forms an upright, bushy clump; disease resistant.
  • Average to fertile, moist, well-drained soil; full sun.
  • 75-80cm (30-32 in.) Sp. 75-80cm (30-32 in.) Zone 3
Salvia Violet Riot

Color Spires Series Salvia (Salvia nemorosa)

Proven Winners also has some of the best genetics available in Salvia right now. These are simply superior to older varieties like ‘May Night’. The Color Spires series boasts a denser growth habit and a better display of flowers compared to older varieties. They are long-blooming, and if you deadhead you will get a second show a few weeks later. There are several colours available; my favourites are ‘Violet Riot’ (pictured) and ‘Back to the Fuchsia’. Salvias are so easy to grow, reliable, and trouble-free that no sunny garden should be without them.

  • Spikes of showy flowers available in several colours in summer, reblooming if deadheaded; attracts pollinators.
  • Forms a mounding, bushy clump of aromatic foliage.
  • Average to fertile, moist, well-drained soil; drought tolerant once established. Sun.
  • Deer and rabbit resistant.
  • 55cm (22 in.) Sp. 50-60cm (20-24 in.) Zone 3

‘Standing Ovation’ Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium)

Little bluestem is a native grass that deserves to find itself in more gardens, and ‘Standing Ovation’ is one of my favourite varieties. It produces a dense, upright clump of graceful blue-green foliage with red tips, which gradually turn a smoky maroon-red colour in late summer to fall. Purplish flowers rise above the foliage in late summer. This is a plant for poor, dry soil in hot, sunny locations, and it is best divided every few years to rejuvenate. Note that it is late to emerge, often taking until June during cool springs.

  • Plumes of purplish flowers, maturing bronze, in late summer to fall.
  • Forms a dense, upright clump of blue-green foliage with red tips; smoky maroon-red fall colour.
  • Poor to average, well-drained soil; drought tolerant once established. Sun.
  • Deer resistant.
  • 90-120cm (3-4 ft.) (with flowers) Sp. 45-60cm (18-24 in.) Zone 3
Sedum Mr. Goodbud

‘Mr. Goodbud’ Stonecrop (Sedum spectabile)

Upright, fall blooming stonecrops are invaluable choices for hot and dry areas and for late season colour. I must admit though that it frustrates me a little that so many people just look for ‘Autumn Joy’ and ignore the better varieties (like this one) that are available. Compared to ‘Autumn Joy’, ‘Mr. Goodbud’ does not flop and has larger flowerheads with more intense neon-pink colour. The blooms start at the end of summer and reach their peak in fall; and are an important late season source of food for bees.

  • Large heads of neon-pink flowers in late summer to fall; attracts pollinators.
  • Forms an upright, mounding clump of succulent blue-green foliage.
  • Average to poor, well-drained soil; drought tolerant once established. Sun.
  • Rabbit resistant.
  • 45cm (18 in.) Sp. 45-50cm (18-20 in.) Zone 2