Click below to listen to my 2 min. Garden Bite radio show: 2020 Perennial of the Year
Drumroll please! This year’s perennial plant of the year is Aralia ‘Sun King’. And I happen to have one! It 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.
‘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.
A little about the PPOY: The Perennial Plant of the Year® (PPOY) program began in 1990 to showcase a perennial that is a standout among its competitors. Perennials chosen are suitable for a wide range of growing climates, require low maintenance, have multiple-season interest, and are relatively pest/disease-free.
I also want to share the 2017 past winner. It’s one of my favorites! I also have is Asclepias tuberosa also known as butterfly weed. A virtually hassle-free, very long lived perennial, offering three months of tangerine orange blooms (occasionally red or yellow) from early through late summer. Deadheading the flowers will stimulate another bloom cycle about a month after the first one. The flowers, which are heavily laden with nectar and pollen, are particularly attractive to hummingbirds, Monarch butterflies, bees, and other beneficial insects.