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Best Zone 7 Plants for 2010

It’s cold and there’s still snow in the ground but the planting season is just around the corner. With this in mind it’s time to start thinking about what we want to plan this season.

As with every year, this is about the time the 2010 plant catalogs start rolling in and if you are like me, you always have your eye out for that something special that will set you apart from the rest. So lets take a preview at those special plants that will make our gardens stand out from the rest.

Hydrangea Forever and Ever Red

Hydrangea Forever and Ever Red

Hydrangea Forever and Ever Red

Hydrangeas are one of the most popular shrubs for Zone 7 but if you are tired of the old fashioned white variety, here is a new variety that will stand out in your garden.

This stunning new Hydrangea variety start with red blooms that gradually turn purple. Another awesome feature is its ability to set blooms on new growth. NO need to worry about damaged flower buds with this variety.  This is actually quite important for blooming as it is very common for “old” growth blooming hydrangeas to suffer damaged flower buds, thus leaving you with a bloomless shrub. I have one in my yard which I have never seen blooms from. This particular variety is sure to bloom from from summer until frost.

As with other Hydrangeas, this will do best in part shade with and well drained rich soils in zones 4-9. So if you like Hydrangeas and want to try a new variety, then this one is for you. Avaliable from DirectGardening.com

Kleim’s Hardy Gardenia

Gardenia Kleim's Hardy

Gardenia Kleim's Hardy

Ever wanted that wonderful tropical Gardenia fragrance in your garden but figured that Gardenias only grew in warm climates? Well, think again because this variety will do just fine here in Zone 7. Not only will it do fine, it will even stay green for you all winter! Mine have survived single digits and several snow storms without minor leaf damage. So I can vouch that this is one strong little plant.

Unlike tropical gardenia shrubs, this is a small variety that grows up to 3′ wide and 3′ tall.  As you can see, the blooms are also different from standard Gardenias but the fragrance is unmistakably all Gardenia! In addition to the lovely blooms, Kleim’s hardy features tough and attractive dark green waxy evergreen leaves. Perhaps the best thing about this little shrub is that it is very easy to grow.  Simply plant it in a shade to part shade area in your garden, give it some rich soil, water it during droughts and it will reward you with nice growth and great smelling blooms.

It should be noted that many local garden centers carry similar “hardy” gardenias but it should be noted that those are no Kleim’s Hardy and thus not nearly as hardy as these.  This is new for 2010 from DirectGardening.com

Hibiscus, Turn of the Century

Hibiscus Turn of the Century

Hibiscus Turn of the Century

Don’t let the tropical look of this awesome perennial fool you because it’s capable of growing perfectly well all the way down to zone 4.  Despite such exotic blooms, seeing these in every day zone 7 gardens is extremely rare.  So if you really want to stand out, this is one you have to consider.

If you have never seen a temperate hibiscus bloom in person, then you are really missing out because they are extremely large, growing up 10″ across!  I know the first time I saw these in person I was shocked and could not believe these could actually grow here.  Another plus is that their stems are quite strong so they are more than capable of supporting such large blooms.

Simply plant them in rich soil, either sun or part sun and watch them take off.  These are late bloomers so when everything else is fading, these will just begin to take off.  Other pluses include drought tolerance and deer resistance. This one is a real treat and I highly recommend it. Local availability may be tough but they are available through DirectGardening.com

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