New Plants for 2015 – For Sun

By January 15, 2015 Great Plants

I’ve previously posted about my favorite new shade garden plants for 2015, and this time I’m posting about my favorite new 2015 plants for sunshine.  In the midst of January in Portland, Oregon — as I write this — lots of regular sunshine is a bit of a dream, but here we go anyway!

In my garden, plants in the sunshine need to wear a few hats — they need to handle our lack of rain in the summer, they need to either flower to benefit insects or have an interesting structure, they need to play well with others, and they need to have multi-season interest.

So with all of that in mind, here are my favorite new 2015 plants for sunny spots:

Laos Giant Elephant Ear
Colocasia gigantea ‘Laosy Giant’
colocasia“We are thrilled to introduce another in the line of giant forms of Colocasia gigantea, this seed strain from a 2011 Alan Galloway collection from Laos. Colocasia gigantea ‘Laosy Giant’ forms giant upright leaves that are one third larger than Colocasia gigantea ‘Thailand Giant’, although the overall clump size is about the same. The clumps are adorned in late summer with amazing clusters of pure white flowers.” Learn more on the Plant Delights site…

LOOK AT THE SIZE OF THOSE LEAVES! How could you not want this in your garden? This past year I tried colocasia in my garden for the first time. It was in a container, and it had dark leaves with a lovely underside. I can’t remember the name of it, but it was tremendously easy to grow, and it even bloomed! This coming year I’d like to try one in the ground, in a mixed border to add a bit of a tropical feeling to a particular section. But now that I’ve seen this, I might have to rethink my plan. The question remains, will it fit?!


SunSparkler® xSedoro ‘Blue Elf’
sedoro“World’s very first Sedum x Orostachys hybrid! Nearly seven years ago, Chris carefully crossed a Sedum species with Orostachys and “patiently” awaited the results. Several seedlings emerged from his cross and during the past six years of outdoor field trial evaluations, it was decided to select the best, most compact, darkest pink, and heaviest flowering seedling for introduction…[it] combines the best of both parents! Steel-blue tufted foliage rosettes and numerous lateral branches that elongate away from the center closely resemble the Orostachys parent as seen in this foliage close-up.” Learn more on the SunSparkler Sedums website…

Last year I tried an Orostachys iwarenge ‘Chinese Dunce Cap’ from Annie’s Annuals. It was delightful! This doesn’t have the funny (in a good way) flower cones of its orostachys parentage, and seems to have the prolific blooms from the sedum side of things instead. But my favorite part is before it flowers — those rosettes are so wonderful both in shape and color, and you can nestle this right in that nice bare spot that needs just a little something to tie things together.


Berry Heavy® Gold Winterberry ‘Roberta Case’
Ilex verticillata ‘Roberta Case’
ilex “The names tells the story, rich golden yellow berries on an Ilex. Bountiful masses of large, bright, golden yellow berries are produced for a colorful winter display. The leaves of Berry Heavy™ drop early in the season producing a better fruit display. Standing 6-8′ tall and wide, this is a treasure you will want to display in your landscape. Ilex grow best in a full sun to part shade location. The berries will attract songbirds and make a great addition to cut floral arrangements.” Learn more from the Proven Winners website…

It could be that I’ve got berries on the brain at the moment because it’s the middle of winter, and plants with berries are a great garden feature of the season.  But you don’t often see berries this color. Probably better for larger spaces as it gets to be a good size, but if you have the space and you plant a screen of these together with a dogwood like ‘Arctic Sun’ and maybe a witch hazel like ‘Orange Beauty’ you would have a pretty great winter view, and a lovely green screen in the summer time. And just think of the beautiful arrangements you could make for the table!


Glowing Embers Licorice Mint Hyssop
Agastache rupestris ‘Glowing Embers’
agastache “24-26″ tall x 16-20″ wide. Agastache ‘Glowing Embers’ is a fantastic selection of Licorice Mint Hyssop with fragrant foliage and glowing orange-red tubular flowers.” Learn more from the High Country Gardens website…

I admit I have a thing for agastache. And I’m lucky to live near the Xera Plants retail shop here in Portland where they have some great options.  But I’m always looking for something new & interesting, and this combines a beautiful contrast of cool blue-grey foliage and fiery blooms.  The reason I love agastache is that they smell amazing, attract hummingbirds to the garden (a favorite visitor), and require absolutely nothing of me.  I mean, they are Easy — with a capital ‘E’ — and they play really well with others.


If you’re interested in what’s on my current “Plants to Get” watchlist, no matter when they were released, check out my Pinterest board.

Featured photo of colocasia by Megan Hansen on Flickr

Kate McMillan

Author Kate McMillan

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