Every year the Delaware Nursery and Landscape Association selects an herbaceous plant (usually a perennial that dies back to the ground each winter) and a woody plant (usually a tree or a shrub) to designate as Plants of the Year. Plants are selected that will thrive in Delaware’s conditions and that have few disease and insect problems. If sited properly, these plants are guaranteed to succeed. These plants are often underused in the Delaware landscape. So, if you purchase one of these plants, you will be a trendsetter in your neighborhood. The 2019 selections were just announced at the Delaware Horticulture Industry Expo in Dover.
Common Ninebark – Physocarpus opulifolius
Common ninebark is an excellent native shrub for year-round interest. White flowers appear in dense, spirea-like clusters in spring, and give way to clusters of reddish-pink capsules. The clusters eventually turn brown and persist into the winter. The leaves are yellow in the fall. Named for its unusual bark which peels in strips to reveal several layers of reddish to light brown inner bark, ninebark is a popular ‘winter interest’ shrub. Arching branches give this shrub as mounded habit and in groups it makes an excellent hedge and provides good erosion control. Bees are frequent pollinators of ninebark. Ninebark grows in full sun to partial shade and has few disease or insect problems. It can be cut back to the ground in late fall for complete rejuvenation.
Golden Ragwort – Packera aurea
Packera aurea has the unfortunate common name of golden ragwort. It is none-the-less a vigorous and useful native perennial that thrives in moist shady (or sunny) locations, naturalizes rapidly and produces a long and profuse spring bloom. Flat-topped clusters (corymbs) of yellow, daisy-like flowers create blankets of yellow in the early spring landscape. Once it flowers, it is best to cut off the spent flower heads, so you can enjoy the dense groundcover of heart-shaped, toothed, dark green leaves that often have a purplish tinge beneath. Synonymous with and still frequently sold as Senecio aureus.
Visit a garden center in Delaware this spring and pick up one or more of these great plants for your garden!