2013 Perennial Plant of the Year Announced
Since 1990, the Perennial Plant Association (PPA) has been showcasing standout perennial plants with their annual Perennial Plant of the Year (POY) selections. Perennials selected obviously need to be attractive but (considering this being a national selection) must also be adaptable to a wide range of growing conditions, require little or no maintenance, have multiple seasons of interest and be relatively pest and disease free. Sounds like a good list of plants to use in your gardens doesn’t it!
Every summer, the PPA asks its members to vote for the plant they think deserves the honor of plant of the year and also nominate up to 2 plants for future consideration. The association has a wide range of members including growers, propagators, retailers and lots of folks who just love perennials. A committee reviews the nominations (up to 400 in some years) providing 3 or 4 of the most popular suggestions that appear on the POY ballot the following year.
In 23 years the PPA has accumulated a list of must have, perennial plants that any gardener can plant with confidence.
1990 Phlox stolonifera Creeping Phlox
1991 Heuchera micrantha 'Palace Purple' Coral Bells
1992 Coreopsis verticillata 'Moonbeam' Tickseed
1993 Veronica 'Sunny Border Blue' Speedwell
1996 Penstemon digitalis 'Husker Red' Beard Tongue
1997 Salvia 'Mainacht' May Night’
1998 Echinacea purpurea 'Magnus’ Coneflower
1999 Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii 'Goldsturm’ Black Eyed Susan
2000 Scabiosa columbaria 'Butterfly Blue’ Pincushion
2001 Calamagrostis xacutiflora 'Karl Foerster’ Reed Grass
2005 Helleborus xhybridus Lenten Rose
2009 Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola Hakone Grass
The 2013 PPA Plant of the Year is Polygonatum odoratum, pronounced
po-lig-o-nay’tum o-do-ray’tum vair-e-ah-gay’tum. Commonly known as Variegated Solomon’s Seal, this tough, deer resistant perennial is attractive for the entire growing season with striking, white and green striped foliage that grows 18-24” tall. Greenish-white flowers appear in late spring and dangle from the lower portion of the upright arching stems. The plant has an attractive yellow fall color and prefers to grow in moist soils in partial to full shade. Best planted in groups, the spreading clumps form rhizomes are easily divided and transplanted in spring or fall. We utilize this plant often in perennial and woodland garden areas where a strong, upright shaped plant is desired. We also suggest Variegated Solomon’s Seal for foundation plantings when a shade plant is needed to brighten a dark corner under trees or in cases where there isn’t room for a shrub to be planted. The attractive foliage is also suitable as a long lasting cut flower. This isn’t a plant that will knock your socks off when you see it in the garden center but when seen in gardens along with Ferns, Hosta and other woodland plants, Variegated Solomon’s Seal is a standout plant bringing interesting shape, color and texture to any shady garden space.
It may be too early to plant but it is a great time to plan for this seasons plantings. By using these plants in your plans you will be well on your way to a beautiful and easy care garden.
Now go outside and (think about) having fun in the dirt.