Perennial of the Year

Perennial of the Year 2020

Aralia 'Sun King'

The Perennial Plant Association revealed their pick Aug. 1 during the PPA National Symposium in Chicago.

'Sun King' has a tropical look, but it's a fast-growing perennial that's hardy to USDA Zone 3 and grows to about 3 feet high and wide or larger in some cases. The large compound leaves measure up to 3 feet long, as well.

According to Walters Gardens, 'Sun King' emerges in mid-spring with bright gold leaves held on contrasting reddish-brown stems. If given at least a few hours of sun a day, the foliage will remain yellow all summer. In heavier shade, the foliage ranges from chartreuse to lime green.

It forms a large clump of foliage and produces racemes of small white flowers in mid to late summer followed by deep purple berries. It's a pollinator plant and is reportedly deer resistant. 

For cultural information, go here.

'Sun King' is not patented and was brought to market by Barry Yinger. 

 

 

Perennial of the Year 2019

Stachys 'Hummelo'

Hardiness: USDA Zones 4 to 8, foliage may remain evergreen in warmer climates.

Light: Full sun to part shade.

Soil: Well drained soil; water as necessary.
Uses: This colorful and compact winner makes an excellent addition to the full sun perennial border.  Terrific in combination with ornamental grasses, Echinacea purpurea, and Asclepias tuberosa (2018 Perennial Plant of the Year®).  Wiry stems make for a great cut flower as well.
 
Unique Qualities: Pollinators can't resist the striking midsummer spikes of magenta flowers rising above bright green, trouble-free foliage.  'Hummelo' was the highest rated Stachys in the Chicago Botanic Garden Evaluation Trials for its strong flower production, vigor, habit, quality and winter hardiness.
 
Maintenance: Spreads slowly by creeping rhizomes.  May benefit from division every few years.  Strong stems and seed heads add to winter interest.  Considered deer-resistant!