Nov 28, 2018
Top Perennial Performers at CSU By Jasmina Dolce

Earlier this year, I was able to attend Colorado State University’s trial garden. I shared some of the favorites in the annuals category a few weeks back, but today I’d like to focus on the increasingly popular perennials segment.

The two-year perennial trial program at CSU is designed to evaluate newer perennial cultivars that have been introduced in the past three years or less. Entries in this trial are allowed to overwinter twice before they are switched out for new entries.

With the perennials category growing rapidly, breeders are bringing new genetics to the market each year. It can become difficult to decide which crops to grow and offer your customers. The goal at CSU is to select varieties that provide visual interest throughout the year with minimal care.

To learn more about the CSU trial garden, go to For now, here are the top perennial performers from the 2018 trial.

Geum ‘Rustico Orange’
Terra Nova Nurseries

The bright orange flowers on this variety were very prolific, and the dark-green foliage was equally impressive and looked fresh all season. The growth habit was very controlled and presented a uniform appearance.

Phlox ‘Flame Purple Improved’
Dümmen Orange

This improved phlox showcased abundant purple flowers at peak bloom time. Plants had a very uniform growth habit with dark green foliage. A small splash of white at the base of each petal added a nice “sparkle” to each flower. Blooms remained attractive even once fading late into season.

Delosperma ‘Alan’s Apricot’
Plant Select

The uniquely colored flowers and continually blooming made this plant a standout. At peak bloom, plants formed a carpet of apricot-colored flowers. This variety exhibits great vigor and has better cold hardiness than most delosperma. It is good for low water plantings but will also tolerate extra water in areas typically not ideal for delosperma.

Echinacea ‘Kismet Raspberry’
Terra Nova Nurseries

Plants formed a solid canopy of attractive blooms with a rustic appearance as they faded from peak bloom. The dark green foliage created interest even when flowers were not present. Plants were uniform with good branching.

Gaillardia ‘SpinTop Yellow Touch’
Dümmen Orange

This gaillardia was unique with a relatively small, compact, mounded habit but packed with a lot of flower power. Blooms were very showy and predominantly red but had a yellow edge around the tip of each flower. Cold hardiness was very impressive with a good survival rate.

Are you growing any of the above perennial varieties? What are some of your top perennial performers? Shoot me an email at; I’d love to hear from you.

— Jasmina

Jasmina Dolce

Jasmina Dolce is managing editor of GPN magazine. She can be reached at

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