By Jill Brooke
When you are looking at the fading garden of July, time to think of great plants for next year. Luckily Proven Winners has just announced its 2024 National Plants of the Year.
These plants withstood standards for “garden performance, versatility, iconic style, and abundant availability.
Here is the scoop so get out your notepads. Start dreaming and asking for these plants and flowers at your local nursery.
1)Annual of the Year™ – Supertunia Vista® Jazzberry® Petunia:
Everything you love about Supertunia Vista® Paradise® petunia is now available in electric magenta purple with Supertunia Vista® Jazzberry®. Huge, upright-mounded plants are blanketed in self-cleaning flowers all season long. It takes years of development and trialing to earn a place in this elite series, so it’s no wonder Supertunia Vista Jazzberry has won a whopping 42 awards. Yup, 42 AWARDS. Its vivid coloring draws attention to the landscape and in containers, where the combination options are endless. Plus this color is so happy, isn’t it? And it doesn’t get leggy towards July. Long-lasting blooms are a real plus.
2)Caladium of the Year™ – Heart to Heart® ‘Lemon Blush’ Caladium:
Heart to Heart® ‘Lemon Blush’ turns heads with its brightly colored leaves that feature a contrasting rose-red center and wide, chartreuse margin. This fancy-leaved variety performs well in shade to part shade in containers and in the landscape where it shines as a border plant or in mass plantings. Growers will appreciate that all Heart to Heart caladium bulbs come de-eyed and painted for easy planting and consistent crops.
3)Perennial of the Year™ – ‘Pink Profusion’ Salvia nemorosa:
‘Pink Profusion’ perennial salvia will stand apart on your benches for its pristine habit, high flower count, and bright, eye-catching color. This cultivar has quickly gained traction among professional landscapers for its polished, high-end look. Dark pink flowers held on darker calyxes appear multiple times per season if cut back after each round of blooms. Hardy in zones 3-8. Furthermore, this color is trending and always sold out. Glad that more will be on the market. It really pops in the garden and adds brightness.
4)Hosta of the Year™ – Shadowland® ‘Hudson Bay’ Hosta:
Shadowland® ‘Hudson Bay’ Hosta features showy tricolor leaves that form a large mound. Each broad, heavily textured leaf features a bright blue margin, apple green jetting and a creamy white center. Over time, it matures into a very showy, large specimen with thick, slug-resistant leaves. Though this hosta is a strong grower, we recommend that growers plant all hostas in late summer to early fall the year prior to sale to yield the highest quality finished product. Hardy in zones 3-9.
5)Flowering Shrub of the Year™ — Wine & Spirits® Weigela florida:
An update to the classic Wine & Roses® weigela, Wine & Spirits® has an even more dramatic look with dark purple foliage and crisp, white-green flowers that run all along the stems. This handsome, vigorous variety is a real showstopper at retail and in the landscape where it works well in borders and containers. Its attractive foliage extends its sales window long past the late spring bloom. Hardy in zones 4-8.
6)Rose of the Year™ — Oso Easy Peasy® Rosa:
Oso EasyPeasy® landscape rose is an exciting new American Rose Trials for Sustainability Master rose with award-winning black spot and powdery mildew-resistant foliage that won a prestigious Award of Excellence in the No Spray division from the American Rose Society. This organization is a good source for rose info especially in durability. Large clusters of small, magenta-pink flowers consistently appear from spring to fall with no deadheading required. Hardy in zones 4-9. Furthermore, as we reported, this rose also won the AGRS award for 2023. This is definitely on my to-do list right now.
7)Hydrangea of the Year™ — Let’s Dance Sky View® Hydrangea macrophylla x serrata:
Let’s Dance Sky View® reblooming hydrangea blooms reliably each year for growers and gardeners in zones 4 through 9. Its mophead blooms emerge soft blue with a honeydew green eye before maturing to a full sky blue. Growers will find that it shifts easily from pink to blue. This durable hydrangea conserves its old wood buds in the face of weather challenges and continuously creates new flowers, resulting in a long sales window. Its compact growth presents beautifully in containers for retail sale. Hardy in zones 4-9. Plus as we’ve written, hydrangeas are great for gifts.
8)Landscape Shrub of the Year™ — Fizzy Mizzy® Itea virginica:
Fizzy Mizzy® sweetspire stands up and stands out at retail with its abundant, bright white flower spikes that carry a light, fragrance which attracts pollinators. Its early summer bloom time helps bridge the gap between seasons, while its attractive dark green foliage brings interest throughout the rest of the season. As one of the most shade-tolerant flowering shrubs available, you can use this attractive shrub to build your shade lineup. Hardy in zones 5-9.
9)Landscape Perennial of the Year™ — ‘Storm Cloud’ Amsonia tabernaemontana:
Here’s a new category to Proven Winner’s National Plant of the Year program for 2024. ‘Storm Cloud’ Amsonia was an easy inaugural pick given its proven, rock-solid landscape performance. Exhibiting excellent heat and humidity tolerance, this native cultivar performs well for both northern and southern growers in zones 4-9. Periwinkle, star-shaped flowers top the olive-green foliage which is accented by silver veins. This cultivar is uniquely striking and especially easy to sell early in the spring when its new stems emerge nearly black in color. And as we know, black is a trending color and not easy to find.
All their flowers I have found really perform well. So think of yourself as a modern-day Monet and contemplate what new flowers will add pop and fun to your garden.
Jill Brooke is a former CNN correspondent, Post columnist and editor-in-chief of Avenue and Travel Savvy magazine. She is an author and the editorial director of FPD and a contributor to Florists Review magazine.
Photo: Proven Winners, Flower Power Daily