Each year the Perennial Plant Association chooses a perennial of the year, and the winner for 2020 is…. Aralia cordata ‘Sun King’.
Aralia is a leafy, deer resistant perennial that can get quite large. It grows to a height of 4’ each season resembling a small shrub, but then dies back to the ground each fall making it a perennial. They thrive in zones 3-9 making them a hardy choice for northern gardens.
Aralias can tolerate an impressive amount of shade, and the bright yellow-green leaves of the variety ‘Sun King’ really pop and stand out in a shady garden. The large size of the leaves contrast well with finely textured shade perennials and make a wonderful background plant.
In mid summer the plant features clusters of white airy flowers which then turn into blueish-black berries.
Each year well known plant brand Proven Winners also chooses a “National Perennial of The Year”, and their choice for 2020 is Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian Sage) ‘Denim n Lace’. This variety is on trend with the 2020 color of the year “classic blue” and features long blooming purple-blue flower spikes from mid summer to mid fall.
This zone 4-9 variety is a dwarf form, getting only 2’ – 3’ tall and wide at maturity. The spicy fragrance of both the leaves and the flowers make this tough perennial deer resistant. It attracts hummingbirds and many different pollinators to your garden. With an upright form and smaller size, this perennial is a great choice for a mid-height perennial garden addition. It also makes a great foundation planting choice because of it’s tight, neat nature and long bloom period.
Consider trying one of these “perennials of the year” in your garden this season!