The Perennial Plant Association Chooses 2019 Plant of the Year
The Perennial Plant Association has awarded the title Perennial Plant of the Year 2019 to Stachys ‘Hummelo’. Stunning in massed plantings, and popular with designers, this late June to July bloomer is as trouble-free and dependable as it is eye-catching.
Selected and introduced by famed German grower Ernst Pagels in the late 1990s, this perennial further gained popularity as it was used by renowned designer and plantsman Piet Oudolf in some of his signature works. “Hummel” means “bumblebee” in German — appropriate, as Ernst observed many pollinators visiting the flowers. The cultivar name also honored Ernst’s close connection to Piet and his nursery and home at Hummelo, Netherlands.
Stachys ‘Hummelo’ and related cultivars go by the common name of betony or woundwort. Stachys is in the mint family (Lamiaceae) with its characteristic opposite leaves and square stems. The genus also includes lamb’s ear — Stachys byzantina — known for its woolly silver leaves. However ‘Hummelo’ features basal rosettes of ovate, glossy, bright green leaves. Tiny, two-lipped, rose-lavender flowers appear in dense spikes atop mostly leafless flowering stems, rising well above the foliage to 1 ½ to 2 feet tall in summer. Clumps will spread over time to form a dense ground cover. It is valued for its crinkled foliage and long display of prolific flowering spikes.
Above photo was provided by Janet Draper, Perennial Plant Association president. For more information, visit www.perennialplant.org.