US: Stachys ‘Hummelo’ named Perennial Plant of the Year

The Perennial Plant Association has awarded the title Perennial Plant of the Year 2019 to Stachys ‘Hummelo’.

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, Netherlands.

Credit: Walters Gardens

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.

Stachys ‘Hummelo’ received the highest rating out of 22 Stachys taxa in a comparative study by Richard Hawke, Plant Evaluation Manager of the Chicago Botanic Garden. Exceptional qualities included reblooming without deadheading, no observed reseeding, and outstanding uniformity.

Grower notes (nursery and greenhouse)
Stachys ‘Hummelo’ requires vernalization in order to flower. Plant in fall for overwintering prior to spring sales, or confirm with your young plant supplier that liners received in spring have been vernalized. Once dormancy breaks, this is a quick and easy crop - finishes in 8-10 weeks with no plant growth regulators necessary.

For more information:
Perennial Plant Association

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