GARDEN TIME with DOUG – 2019 Perennial Plant of the Year


Many of you may not know that every year the Perennial Plant Association selects a perennial to highlight.  The chosen perennial is voted on by hundreds of growers, designers, and perennial plant geeks.  The winner is a good plant that is hardy in a wide range of the country, with few pests, very hardy with outstanding growth characteristics.  This year Stachys ‘Hummelo’ is the winner.

Here are some of the plant characteristics that led to Stachys ‘Hummelo’ being chosen:

  • Stachys is hardy in our area (zone 7). It has lavender flowers that appear on dense 2-foot spikes above its foliage. ‘Hummelo’ means bumblebee in German, an indicator of the attractiveness of the plant to our pollinators.
  • Stachys is a perennial that loves to be planted in full sun to partial shade.  So, it is good to plant in the front of a border.
  • One strong popularity aspect of Stachys is that it is deer resistant, which means a lot to many of you folks in the Richmond area who have to deal with deer.  And, as I stated earlier Stachys has few if any pests.

Here at The Great Big Greenhouse, we pride ourselves with the fact that all of our perennials come from Virginia growers. Here is how Sandy’s Plants describes Stachys ‘Hummelo’: 19–24″ x 24.”  Large, rounded clumps of elongated, bright green, textured leaves that are NOT fuzzy. Sturdy spikes of rosy purple blooms flowering from late spring to midsummer. Prefer average, well-drained soil. Easy to grow.”

Come see our perennial selection.  We are proud of our selection this time of year.


12 thoughts on “GARDEN TIME with DOUG – 2019 Perennial Plant of the Year”

  1. Question: …. in the photo you posted in the article above about ‘Stachys Humelo’, you’ve shown two different blooms: One type has simple pale lilac blooms with 5 petals; the other is a deep rose/deep pink vertical bloom with many flowerets…

    Is there another plant growing together with the Stachys Humelo, & if so, which is which?


    • Carolyn,
      Yes, that photo is showing two different flowers. The Stachys is the darker lavender flower that grows in a spike out of the plant. I hope you find room for one to plant. It is a great plant. Doug

  2. What can I do about squirrels digging up up our flower beds.
    We have some kind of green aborivitive trees that were planted last year. They’re about six feet tall now but really thin looking. What can we do to make them thicker? The ground they were planted in always needs lime so do we need to put a little line down around these trees?

    • Alyce,
      First, the squirrels. You can use deterrent sprays to keep the squirrels out of you flower beds. You can try dropping some moth balls around the flower bed as a deterrent.
      Second, Before adding any lime lets be sure what your soil pH is at the moment. If you have not fed your arborvitaes then you may want to consider giving them a good quality plant food. I would recommend using Espoma Plant Tone as the feeding.

    • Steve,
      Yes, they don’t spread so much as the initial clump will multiple and become bigger. Then you can make divisions and spread them out yourself. Doug

    • Harry,
      Two plants come to mind. The first is Monarda, commonly called Bee Balm. Comes in different colors including lavender. A very hardy, sun loving perennial. The other plant that comes to mind is Nepeta, commonly called Cat Mint. Bees absolutely love this hardy, sun loving perennial. When we have this plant in the nursery it becomes loaded with bees. The different bees become so docile that I will take the time to actually pet the bees. I hope I answered your question. Take care, Doug

    • Karen,
      I know. As crazy as it may seem I will even have customers watch me and try petting the bees as well.

  3. Is the lavender flower pictured with the Stachys a Hardy Geranium, maybe Rozanne or Jolly Bee? Does the Great Big Greenhouse carry it as well as the Stachys?

    • Margie,
      Aren’t you good! Yes, the companion flower in the photo is the hardy geranium. And, I do believe that it is Roseanne. What I have found fascinating with this article / photo is that this companion flower has gotten as much if not more attention than the Stachy. But, that’s ok. The hardy geranium is a beautiful, well performing perennial. Matter of fact, the Geranium Biokova was the plant of the year a couple years ago. Take care, Doug

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