Welcome to our top 10 plants to grow in Alaska page! These plants will grow in other zone 3-4 or other Northern climates too. We have selected plants that are easy to grow, and require little or no maintenance. Hopefully our selections will encourage you to think what are your top ten choices too. These plants are in alphabetical order not order of preference:
1). Delphinium Elatum - Being alpine plants delphiniums thrive in Alaska. We grow English delphiniums usually from seed obtained from the UK and from Dowdeswell delphiniums of New Zealand. For tips on how to grow these "Queens" of the border properly you may wish to visit our web site dedicated solely to English delphniums. There you will find ideas on how to grow delphiniums from seed, thinning, fertilizing and staking delphiniums too.
2). Ligularia - These plants are great shade plants! Grow them for their interesting foliage alone, as some have huge leaves that are green on top and burgundy on the underside, such as Othello, or Desdemona. Brit Marie Crawford is a newer variety with dark red leaves. These ligularias have large orange daisy-like flowers wheareas the other types such as the Rocket have tall yellow flower spikes as in the picture below.
3). Asiatic Liles/Asiflorum/LA Hybrids - Today's hybridizers are offering us lilies that come in a wondrous assortment of colors and sizes. We grow two types of lilies: Asiatic and Asiaflorum(LA Hybrids).
Asiatic Lilies: Asiatic lilies are the hardiest in my Anchorage garden, but alas, not fragrant. However, they are still some exciting plants to grow such as the deep red, almost black, Black Jack shown above. There are Asiatic lilies that look like they have been sprinkled with stardust, where no two flowers are the same. Latvia and Suncrest below are two examples.
Asiflorum/LA Hybrid Lily - Asiflorum lilies or LA Hybrids as they are often called , are a cross between asiatic and Easter lilies. They have large waxy flowers and can get tall like the trumpet lilies. These LA hybrids seem incredibly vigorous and those huge waxy flowers are a jaw dropper.
For a wide selection of LA hybrids you can go to the www.lilynook.com. If you order any lilies from the Lilynook you will have to pay a $15 dollar phytosanitary fee since the Lilynook nursery is in Canada, but I think this slightly extra cost is well worth it since you have such a varied selection of LA hybrids to choose from.
Here are links to where you may purchase some of the lilies mentioned above:
4). Mecanopsis Sheldonii(formerly Lingholm) - There are few super blue plants and this one from the Himmalaya is special. The Lingholm strain available from Chiltern seeds is relatively eay to grow.
5). Monarda - The fragrant foliage of Monarda reminds me of Earl Grey tea, This plant can be invasive, but in the right spot it is truly eye-catching.
6). Paeonia(Peony) My favorite peony is Red Charm. It has deep red blooms which appear early and the plant seems to double in size every year. The ever popular pink, Sarah Bernhardt is easy to grow and smells good too.
7). Primula Auricula - Auriculas come with light centers or gold centers. ther are border auriculas too. These plants bloom early, can be divided yeary, so you get more plants for your money. Many recent introductions are named after characters from the Lord of the Rings trilogy. You may want Bilbo Baggins in your garden, but Gollum well thats up to you. There are doubles too.
Auriculas need good drainage and they do sometimes try to exit their spot in the garden during those awful freeze and thaw cycles.
8). Rosa Rugosa, If I could only grow 1 plant this would be it. The rose, Hansa is said to have a clove-like scent, but to me its fragrance is pure old-rose. Fragrant and hardy what more can we say about this rose. Others to try include the white Marie Bugnet, the taller rugosa, Jens Munk. Therese Bugnet is another good choice.
9). Syringia(Lilac) Lilacs come in many sizes. The tall Canadian lilacs are not bothered by moose. They can get up to fifteen feet tall. If you want something a little less in size try the dwarf lilac, Miss Kim.
10). Trollius Europeus - There are early and late blooming trollius. They can provide you with your first great color of the season. Trollius spread quickly so again you get many plants for the price of one. Divide by cutting with a shovel.
Please feel free to email me if you have any comments or questions about this web site.