Exciting Hardy Plants for Your Outdoor Perennial Garden
By Laurelynn Martin
It’s always exciting to grow perennials that are unusual and eye-catching, and seeing them return year-after-year. Especially when low growing raspberries or patio blueberries are part of the mix. We especially like the Hardy Banana that brings a tropical look but is hardy to zone 5 and brings a bit of surprise to the northern garden…
The Hardy Banana (Musa basjoo) has been a mainstay in my garden for the past 10 years. I love the tropical look of large banana leaves and the way my banana pups, or sends out young offshoots, during the season creating a larger plant than before. Although this variety, also known as the Japanese Fiber Banana, produces inedible bananas, the blossom is exciting to behold and is edible. Its large conical shape points down like a pendulum and the cream-colored flower appears once the pseudostem is mature. In one season the Hardy Banana grows 6-12’ tall and at the end of the season can be cut back to about a foot and mulched with hay for the winter. It is hardy to zone 5. Give plenty of fertilizer, water and sunshine during the growing season and be prepared to be amazed.
Blueberry ‘Top Hat’ (Vaccinium angustifolium) is a compact, fruiting blueberry and grows well in a pot or in an edible landscape. The growth habit usually reaches about 2’ tall by 2’ round and it sets fruit with large delicious berries. This is a self- fertile variety and doesn’t need a cross-pollinator. I’ve grown this in my edible landscape for years. White blossoms appear in spring followed by fruit in mid-summer. Netting helps protect your berries from hungry birds. Best if grown in well-drained, acidic soil in zones 3-7.
The best features about Arctic Raspberries are their low growing habit and delicious fruit. Arctic Raspberries ‘Beta’ and ‘Sophia’ (Rubus arcticus x stellarcticus) make an edible ground cover without the tall, running canes that traditional raspberries have. Plus, at the end of the growing season, they don’t need to be pruned but simply let the plants die-back to the ground in winter and re-grow in spring. They will reward you time and again with sweet red raspberries. They sport lavender flowers in spring and come into their full berry production by mid-summer. One plant can produce up to one pound of berries. They do need another variety for cross-pollination to set fruit. We are offering ‘Beta’ and ‘Sophia.’ Arctic Raspberries are hardy in zones 2-8 and the foliage changes from green to crimson in fall.
Maypop Passion Flower (Passiflora incarnata) is a native North American Passion Flower that is often overlooked as an edible fruit, since it’s grown mostly for its fragrant flowers, Beautiful, 3” wide blossoms have purplish-pink petals in a fully banded corolla. Once the blossoms pass, ‘Maypop’ produces round fruit that when cut open has a custard-like, tart flavor. It blooms throughout the summer and is one of the hardiest passion flowers growing in New England. (photo P8851-4 Maypop)
Coneflowers have been popular in perennial gardens for their medicinal qualities and their daisy-like flowers. Coneflower ‘Green Twister’ (Echinacea hybrid) has big, bold, 4” flowers with light green petal edges and red inner petals arranged around the brown central cone that attracts pollinators to your garden. Blooming from summer to fall, this perennial adds color and eye-catching appeal to your garden and it flowers the first year it’s planted. Hardy in zones 3-8.
Thank you for visiting Logee’s and learning about these popular plants for your outdoor garden. We hope a few of these hardy perennials will bring you great joy and delicious berries in the years to come. Before you go, please be sure to request your free Logee’s catalog. You can learn more about the outdoor perennials mentioned in this article below: