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-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 1990’s, 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, The 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.
The Perennial Plant Association is pleased for Stachys ‘Hummelo’ to be the 2019 Perennial Plant of the Year. The Perennial Plant of the Year program began in 1990 to showcase a perennial that is a standout among its competitors - the original Perennial Plant of the Year award! 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 PPA Board reviews the nominated perennials and selects three or four perennials to be placed on the ballot. Perennial Plant Association members vote each September for the PPOY two years forward and also nominate two additional plants for next year’s ballot
Photo courtesy of Perennial Plant Association