PPA Names Schizachyrium scoparium 2022 Perennial of the Year
The Perennial Plant of the Year program began in 1990 to showcase a perennial that is a standout among its competitors.
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 of directors reviews the nominated perennials and selects three or four perennials to be placed on a voting ballot.
Perennial Plant Association members vote for the Perennial Plant of the Year and nominate additional plants for the following year’s ballot. In addition, members have access to a flyer, poster, and bench card to assist with promoting the Perennial Plant of the Year.
The wider selection of Schizachyrium scoparium and cultivars allows the perennial experts in any region to select and promote the cultivars that do best in their location.
PPA board members selected top performers in their regions and shared appealing details about each one.
Highlights of each selection are below:
Central region — Richard Hawke of the Chicago Botanic Garden selects Schizachyrium scoparium ‘Jazz’ for the Central region. Richard notes, “The striking silvery blue leaves of ‘Jazz’ are most comparable to ‘The Blues’, but at 36 inches tall and 30 inches wide, ‘Jazz’ is a foot shorter than ‘The Blues’ and has sturdier stems.
Southern region — Shannon Currey of Hoffman Nursery selects Schizachyrium scoparium ‘The Blues’ for the Southern region. Shannon comments, “In the South, our humidity, high nighttime temps, and wet springs can slow down some Little Bluestem. ‘The Blues’ is a strong, vigorous grower and has fantastic color. Blues, pinks, purples in the summer followed by reds and oranges in the fall. In the right conditions, it stands out for us.”
Canadian region — Tony Post of Brookdale Treeland Nurseries – Valleybrook Farm, chose Schizachyrium scoparium ‘Standing Ovation’ PP25202 for the Canadian region. He says, “This selection adds excellent texture to the summer garden. Burgundy highlights add late season interest. Seed heads are attractive, particularly when backlit.”
Western region — For the Western region, Nanci Hollerith Allen of MarkWatch Plants notes that Schizachyrium scoparium can be a tricky plant unless you have reasonably dry, well-drained soil. She shares two recommended cultivars for the Pacific Northwest and the Rocky Mountain region: Schizachyrium scoparium ‘The Blues’ and ‘Standing Ovation’ PP25202.
Great Lakes region — Patty Steinhauser of Stonehouse Nursery chooses Schizachyrium scoparium ‘Carousel’. Patty says that, “This uniquely mounded selection forms a wide clump of blue-green foliage that emerges nearly horizontal and matures into strong, upright stems that remain standing through inclement weather and winter. It takes on pink, copper and orange-red tones in fall topped with tiny seed tufts.”
Mid-Atlantic region — Taylor Pilker of Cavano’s Perennials suggests ‘The Blues’, ‘Standing Ovation’ and ‘Jazz’. “I like ‘Blue Heaven’ because it is taller and has good autumn color with a wide range of shades of burgundy and pink.”
Learn more about the 2022 Perennial Plant of the Year at perennialplant.org/page/2022PPOY.