Outstanding Perennials

Perennial Plant of the Year

By: Sandy Feather 2007
Penn State Extension

Q. I am a beginning gardener. I see some plants marked as "Perennial Plant of the Year" at local garden centers. Can you tell me more about them?

A. The Perennial Plant of the Year is voted on annually by members of the Perennial Plant Association. This is a trade group of growers, landscape designers and architects, landscape contractors and garden writers dedicated to improving the production and usage of perennial plants in gardens, commercial landscapes and parks. The program was started in 1990.  

Perennial Plant of the Year

Plants designated as "Perennial Plant of the Year" have been chosen based on their outstanding performance in a wide variety of climates, resistance to insect and disease problems, multiple-season interest, and ease of propagation. Flowering plants chosen for this designation often have a long period of bloom or rebloom later in the season, as well as interesting foliage characteristics.


The program is not limited to flowering plants but includes ornamental grasses and ferns as well. Most of these plants will perform well in the garden with minimal maintenance.


Past "Perennial Plant of the Year" winners:

1990 -- Creeping phlox (Phlox stolonifera)

1991 -- 'Palace Purple' alumroot (Heuchera micrantha)

1992 -- 'Moonbeam' threadleaf coreopsis (Coreopsis verticillata)


1993 -- 'Sunny Border Blue' speedwell (Veronica spicata)

1994 -- 'Sprite' star astilbe (Astilbe simplicifolia)

1995 -- Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia)

1996 -- 'Husker Red' beardtongue (Penstemon digitalis)

1997 -- 'May Night' perennial salvia (Salvia x superba)

'May Night' Salvia

1998 -- 'Magnus' purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)

1999 -- 'Goldsturm' black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii)

2000 -- 'Butterfly Blue' pincushion flower (Scabiosa columbaria)

2001 -- 'Karl Foerster' feather reed grass (Calamagrostis x acutiflora)

2002 -- 'David' garden phlox (Phlox paniculata)

2003 -- 'Becky' Shasta daisy (Leucanthemum x superbum)

2004 -- 'Pictum' Japanese painted fern (Athyrium niponicum)

2005 -- Lenten rose hybrids (Helleborus)

2006 -- 'Firewitch' cheddar pinks (Dianthus gratianopolitanus)

2007 -- 'Walker's Low' catmint (Nepeta x faassenii)


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