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GardenSMART :: Meet the 2017 National Plants of the Year

Meet the 2017 National Plants of the Year

By Susan Martin for Proven Winners
Photographs courtesy of Proven Winners

With so many new plants being introduced each year, picking out the best for your garden can be a mindboggling experience. Gardeners want beautiful plants that will live up to their picture in the catalog, and retailers want to offer reliable plants with which their customers will experience success. With that aim in mind, Proven Winners has launched a new National Plant of the Year program.

Candidates for the Annual of the Year™ are judged stringently by growers, retailers and home gardeners against the five criteria described below. They are looking for plants that are easy for everyone to grow and deliver a clearly exceptional garden performance.

  • Easy to Grow - Easy for both growers and gardeners to grow. It shouldn't take an expert to grow beautiful flowers.
  • Iconic - Easily recognizable at a glance with an iconic style unmatched by lookalikes. 
  • Readily Available - Easy to find locally or online.
  • Perfect for Baskets and Containers - Grows beautifully in hanging baskets as well as upright patio containers and window boxes.
  • Outstanding Landscape Performance - Not just for containers, it also delivers a knockout performance in landscapes.

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2017 Annual of the Year: Supertunia® Vista Bubblegum® Petunia

It's easy to see why the most iconic petunia in the Proven Winners line was selected as the Annual of the Year. You will be amazed at the satisfaction you'll feel when you grow a gorgeous garden or overflowing container of Supertunia Vista Bubblegum petunias. You can count on wall-to-wall pink blooms from spring to frost on this incredibly vigorous petunia.

Sherrie in Glenwood City, WI had high praise for Supertunia Vista Bubblegum, saying that it is "a must-have if you want something showy without much fuss. Simply gorgeous!" Just add sunshine, water and plant food, then watch it thrive in your garden too.

Distinguishing Qualities:

  • Masses of bubblegum pink flowers
  • Non-stop bloom from spring to frost
  • Self-cleaning flowers—NO deadheading needed
  • Versatility of use in containers and landscapes
  • Remarkable vigor and disease resistance

Care Tips

Supertunia Vista Bubblegum will be the most vigorous and produce the most flowers when planted in full sun, though it will tolerate partial shade. Water it before it wilts, and include water soluble plant food every third time you water. If the plants grow too large or trail too long for the space, give them a light trim and they will bounce right back. 

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2017 Perennial of the Year: Amazing Daisies® 'Banana Cream' Leucanthemum (Shasta Daisy)

Meet this beautiful, reliable shasta daisy that will mix effortlessly with your other perennials in any sunny spot in your garden. Its huge 4-5", lemon yellow flowers brighten to creamy white as they bloom all summer long on strong stems that never require staking. Its deep green, disease resistant foliage is a cinch to maintain and truly shines in the landscape.

Distinguishing Qualities:

  • 4-5" round, lemon yellow flowers brighten to creamy white
  • Long blooming through summer
  • Attracts butterflies and is bee-friendly
  • Cut flowers last up to two weeks in fresh bouquets
  • Versatile – grows in landscapes and containers
  • Measures 15-18" tall x 18-24" wide
  • Returns reliably year after year in zones 5-9

Care Tips

'Banana Cream' is a very easy perennial to grow, so it is a good choice for any gardener from beginner to advanced. Choose a sunny spot unless you are gardening in the deep south, where afternoon shade will help to preserve the yellow flower color longer.

This plant will grow in any type of soil as long as it has good drainage. Daisies hate wet roots, especially in winter. Give it about an inch of water per week. Feed it with a balanced plant food once in spring after new growth appears and again in midsummer to keep them blooming longer. Do not feed it after midsummer.

Once the flowers have finished and they turn brown, trim them off. You should see tiny little buds starting to form on the stems below the spent flowers by that time. Those are the next round of flowers to bloom, so take care not to cut those off. Your plants should rebloom within a few weeks. In the fall, after the whole plant has turned brown, you can cut the foliage back to the ground. It will return the following spring.

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2017 Landscape Plant of the Year: Yuki Cherry Blossom™ Deutzia

Ten years in the making, this first-ever pink flowering 'Nikko'-type Deutzia was developed by highly respected plantsman Dr. Tom Ranney of North Carolina State University. This is a low growing, deer resistant, somewhat drought tolerant shrub that is covered in small, pink flowers in spring. It is ideal for covering slopes and for use as a low maintenance groundcover, and it tolerates clay soil. Rich burgundy fall color adds to its appeal.

Distinguishing Qualities:

  • Plants are loaded with pink flowers each spring
  • Tidy, mounded plant
  • Petite size makes it easy to grow in containers and smaller landscapes
  • Rich burgundy fall foliage color
  • Excellent deer resistance
  • Measures 12-24" tall and wide
  • Returns reliably each year in zones 5-8

Care Tips

Deutzia grows and flowers best when planted in full sun, though it will tolerate part shade especially in the south. Give it about an inch of water per week. Feed it with a balanced plant food each spring when the leaves start to emerge. This plant typically does not need to be pruned to keep its shape, but if you would like to trim it, do so right after it is done blooming in spring to avoid cutting off next year's flower buds. 

Get Involved!

Would you like to have the opportunity to vote for the next plants of the year? Join 175,000 other gardeners who have signed up for the monthly Winner's Circle newsletter. Proven Winners will never share your email address with outside parties, and you'll be given the chance to weigh in on future plants of the year and other fun programs.

Keep up to date on the National Plant of the Year program from Proven Winners at www.nationalplantoftheyear.com.  

Contributor Bio: Susan Martin is an avid zone 6 gardener, garden writer and speaker who enjoys spreading her passion for plants to her fellow gardeners. Follow her on Facebook @Gardener Sue's News.

Patent info: Supertunia® Vista Bubblegum® Petunia USPP17730 CanPBR2871. Amazing Daisies® 'Banana Cream' Leucanthemum superbum USPP23181 CanPBR4203. Yuki Cherry Blossom™ Deutzia USPPAF CanPBR5079.

 


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