2017 Plants of the Year

Isn’t it lovely? This is Asclepias tuberosa.

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The Perennial Plant Association has chosen it to be the perennial plant of 2017.  I think it is a great choice.  It is a native throughout much of the U.S.  It grows naturally in prairies, dry, rocky woods, and roadsides but it performs well anywhere with good drainage.  It is slow to emerge in the spring but worth the wait.  It blooms for a very long time, going from late spring through the summer.  The orange flower clusters are a great nectar source for many kinds of butterflies and the plant itself is a larval host for Monarch and Gray Hairstreak butterflies.  When the blooms are done, it has these cool seedpods.

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By the way, you can dry those for use in dried flower arrangements or let them go to seed to help them spread.  If you are planting it for the Monarchs, I would recommend also planting swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) or common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) if you have the space.  Asclepias tuberosa does not have the bitter sap that causes the caterpillars to taste bad to predators. Besides, if you are lucky enough to get Monarch caterpillars, you’ll want to have enough leaves to feed them all!

 

Chosen by the American Hosta Growers Association, the Hosta of 2017 is Brother Stefan.

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Brother Stefan is said to have been named after breeder Olga Petryszen’s brother on his birthday.  I wouldn’t mind a birthday present like that!  Brother Stefan has thick, heavily corrugated leaves with irregular green edges and a gold center. The more mature the plant is, the more corrugated the leaves will become.  For the best coloration, plant in a site with bright shade or morning sun.  Near white flowers open in June.  Like many of the larger sized Hosta, Brother Stefan is a slow to moderate grower and can take 4-7 years to reach the mature size of 22” tall and 35” wide.  Very hardy, all the way to zone 2!

 

Proven Winners has also started a plant of the year program.  Here is the Annual of 2017.

Supertunia Vista Bubblegum.

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An excellent performer in the garden and in containers, it produces bubblegum pink flowers all summer.  It is very vigorous with a mounding, cascading habit.  In the garden, it will get about 18″ tall and spread around 2′ wide. In a basket or a patio pot, it can trail up to 4′ long.  It doesn’t stop flowering all summer but, because it is self cleaning, it requires very little deadheading.  As with all your Annual plantings, Vista Bubblegum will benefit from the addition of a slow release fertilizer when planted.

What do you think of the plants that were chosen for 2017?

 

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Written by

Cathy Maxson is Sargent's Gardens Annual and Perennial Growing manager. In addition to making sure Sargent's grown plants thrive, she enjoys growing in her own garden, canning fruits and vegetables, traveling and staying fit with Taekwondo.