PPA mulls 2013 perennial of the year

Members are voting for one of four plants

November 22, 2011

Members of the Perennial Plant Association are in the process of naming the 2013 Perennial Plant of the Year. They are  voting on four nominees:

Polygonatum odoratum ‘Variegatum’ is a Solomon’s seal cultivar with upright, arching stems, which are 2-3 feet tall. White bell-shaped flowers on short pedicels dangle in the spring from the leaf axils along and underneath the arching stems. Flowers are followed by blue-black berries in the autumn. The oval, parallel-veined leaves are a soft green with white tips and margins. The fall foliage color is a nice soft yellow. Combine this cultivar with other shade lovers, including ferns and hostas. This selection prefers a shaded site with moisture-retentive soil. Cold hardy in USDA Hardiness Zones 3-9.

Panicum virgatum
‘Northwind’ is a tall ornamental switchgrass cultivar, which features one of the best vertical forms of any of the switchgrass cultivars currently available in commerce. Olive-green to bluish-green foliage forms a compact, narrow, erect, 4- to 5-foot tall clump of foliage which is topped in late summer by finely-textured, yellow flower panicles which hover over the foliage like an airy cloud. Flower panicles typically bring the total plant height to 6 feet. This selection prefers full sun and moist fertile soil; however, it will tolerate sandy or clay soils or dry slopes. Hardy in Zones 4-9.

Chelone lyonii ‘Hot Lips’ is a long-blooming perennial that thrives in moist conditions. This cultivar has bronze-green foliage that turns a deeper green than the species, but is equally as showy. Short spikes of rosy-pink flowers that look like a turtle’s head with its mouth open occur in late summer. The upright, red stems provide additional interest throughout the season. This is the kind of plant that makes a great backdrop for shorter plants in the garden all season long, and suddenly catches everyone’s attention when in bloom. Hardy in Zones 4-7.

Sedum reflexum ‘Angelina’ is an easily grown and quick spreading ground cover with needle-like foliage. Leaves emerge with a chartreuse color and then turn to a golden yellow in the sun. In the fall the leaves turn to shades of orange and red. Yellow flowers are present in mid-summer. Sedum reflexum ‘Angelina’ prefers average to dry, well-drained soil in full sun. This sedum is great for containers and hanging baskets, or as an under planting in the full sun or bright shade garden. Height is 4-6 inches. Hardy in Zones 3-8.