DOUG’S GARDENING BLOG – Selected Plants of the Year for 2020


Every year different national and international plant societies select a plant to highlight. Never are these plants selected at random. Each plant chosen must meet a strict set of criteria such as easy to grow, readily available, and outstanding performance.

Here is a list of plants chosen for 2020:


Aralia cordata ‘Sun King”  –  The common name for this plant is Golden Japanese Spikenard. This shade-loving perennial gives a garden a tropical look with its large, golden leaves that can measure up to 3 feet long. The Sun King breaks dormancy sometime in April (depending on the weather) with its bright golden leaves that are contrasted with its reddish-brown stems. With just a little bit of sun, this plant will remain yellow all summer. When in too much shade the leaves will be more chartreuse to lime green. One bonus with this plant is that it is deer resistant. Be sure to give it plenty of space because it will grow 3 ft x 3 ft. In late summer Sun King will have tiny white flowers followed by deep purplish-black, inedible berries. Another bonus with this plant is that it supports our honeybee population.


Hosta ‘Dancing Queen”  –  All hosta plants are a favorite for gardeners here in Central Virginia. But Dancing Queen stands out amongst all other hostas. Dancing Queen has unique, large bright yellow foliage that remains yellow the entire growing season. One unique characteristic of Dancing Queen is the edges of the leaves will remind you of a pie crust edge. Like all other hostas, Dancing Queen is very versatile in the garden. Very hardy in our area. In the summer, Dancing Queen will have pale lavender flowers that are very showy against the yellow leaves. Unfortunately, like all other hostas, deer are going to admire this beauty as well. Just be diligent with using the different deer deterrent products around hostas to protect them from our deer population that sees hostas like a good garden salad.


The Diamond Collection of Euphorbia  –  Let me jump right in here and say I love this annual. We have carried Diamond Frost for years. Now we are adding Diamond Snow and Diamond Mountain to the annual selection. I can’t wait until toward the end of April when it’s safe to plant annuals in our gardens and containers. I have found that Euphorbia does best if grown in a little shade and with well-drained soil. This collection will have wispy white flowers continuously from mid-spring until late fall. This collection of Euphorbia is so versatile. It will do great planted in a part shaded garden. It will do great as a container plant in combination with other annuals, perennials, or evergreens. And, it does well as a hanging basket. You can’t go wrong in wanting to plant one of these beauties. Personally, I used Diamond Frost in a couple of my container gardens last year.


Rubus spp. (Blackberries, Raspberries, etc.)  –  I found this to be very educational. If you are like me then you wonder why these berry plants are considered an herb. I think of basil, parsley, rosemary, thyme, etc. when I think herbs. But, the Rubus family of plants is considered medicinal which classifies it as an herb. There is evidence that Rubus plants date back over 8,000 years ago, soon after the Ice Age. Rubus was a food source for hunters. Science shows that the leaves and stems of raspberries, blackberries, etc. are rich in highly astringent tannins, and astringent effect helps to tighten up loose bowels, sagging wombs, and open wounds.

This spring, I challenge all of you to consider using ESPOMA BIO TONE with all plantings. I will never do any plantings without first adding Bio Tone to the hole. This goes with all plants – shrubs, trees, perennials, annuals, vegetables, etc. Bio Tone is an organic product that stimulates a faster and healthier root system. It is money well spent and you will not regret this investment.  Trust me!!!

Plant a Little Happiness in 2020!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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4 thoughts on “DOUG’S GARDENING BLOG – Selected Plants of the Year for 2020”

  1. We now live in a condo with a balcony that gets afternoon sun. What can we plant in my pair of black urns that will be showy? I love any chartreuse shade. I’ve had luck with Australian Sword Ferns so long as they’re watered every day — but they grow too large for my balcony.

    • Marilyn,
      Now is a great and safe time to plant blooming annuals in your pots. Come see us for our selection. When you do come in be sure to bring with you the dimensions of these pots. The size of the pot will help determine what and how plants will do the best. Come see us. Doug

  2. [email protected]
    I have lived in this area for many years. Although the latest freeze date has varied from year to year, you must realize The latest freeze date is May 15. Unless you are prepared to move your pots inside or cover them at night outdoors, you are taking an unnecessary risk to plant annuals at this time. It is too early!

    • Roger,
      More and more gardeners are realizing that waiting to plant summer annuals, plant vegetables, or moving out tropical plants until May 1 or after if much safer. Last year we had a frost on April 27. A few years ago we had a frost on May 4 (which is rare but still possible). As you probably know, in order to come up with an average last frost date that there are years where our last frost was early. And, that there are years where we have late frost dates. I agree with you that being patient is best. Thank you, Doug

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