2020 Perennial of the Year

Mon. Jan. 13, 2020

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.

Aralia cordata ‘Sun King’ with various sedum by Teri Knight

 ‘Sun King’ emerges in mid-spring with bright gold leaves held on contrasting reddish-brown stems.

Aralia cordata ‘Sun King’ by Walters Gardens. This plant is older than mine


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.

2019 butterfly weed (asclepia tuberosa) and coneflower