2023 Perennial Plant of the Year Announced
The Perennial Plant Association has named rudbeckia ‘American Gold Rush’ as the 2023 Perennial Plant of the Year. ‘American Gold Rush’ is a stunning addition to any garden. At the height of summer, it turns up the volume for a long season of dazzling color right up to autumnal frosts. The bright golden-yellow flowers feature arching rays and a reddish halo surrounding dark chocolate cones. Three-inch flowers blanket the compact plant, which is only 22-27 inches tall with a broader width to 40 inches if given room to grow.
The green leaves and stems are covered in hairs, which gives them a silvery cast—on sunny days, peeking through the blooms to the leaves is a luminous silver-and-gold treat. More than just boosting the ornamental show, the hairy foliage is resistant to Septoria leaf spot—a debilitating fungal disease that causes unsightly black spotting and premature seasonal decline on some Black-eyed Susans. ‘American Gold Rush’ is a reliable hardy perennial and a great substitute for popular, brassier ‘Goldsturm’, which is highly susceptible to leaf spotting.
Brent Horvath, owner of wholesale growing operation Intrinsic Perennial Gardens in Illinois, speaks highly of the ‘American Gold Rush’ and says, “I’ve always liked my plant introductions to speak for themselves and this one speaks volumes. From start to finish this plant is generally trouble free and easy to propagate, grow and finish in a container and a breeze to garden with.”
Richard Hawke, Director of Ornamental Plant Research of the Chicago Botanic Gardens says, “‘American Gold Rush’ is the black-eyed Susan that made me want to grow them again! It ticks all the boxes for a superior garden plant—bountiful golden flowers, long-blooming, disease-free, and a robust habit.”
‘American Gold Rush’ is a stunning focal point in perennial borders and meadows and is brilliant when massed in public or corporate landscapes. Butterflies caper over the blooms and songbirds feast on the plentiful seed long after the flowers have passed—the seedheads also provide winter interest. Garden companions are many, including alliums, asters, sages, and native grasses such as little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) and prairie dropseed (Sporobolus heterolepis).
The Perennial Plant of the Year program began in 1990 to showcase a perennial that is a standout among its competitors. Perennials chosen for this honor are suitable for a wide range of growing climates, require low maintenance, have multiple-season interest, and are relatively pest/disease-free. The Perennial Plant Association (PPA) Board of Directors reviews the nominated perennials and selects the finalists, which PPA members vote on to select the Perennial Plant of the Year®. In addition, PPA members have access to a flyer, poster, bench card, and other resources to assist with promoting the Perennial Plant of the Year.
Photo credit: Richard Hawke of Chicago Botanic Gardens.