2010 Perennial Plant of the Year – Baptisia australis

Each year, members of the Perennial Plant Association vote on the Perennial of the Year (POY.)  This started in 1990.

The Perennial Plant Association’s Mission Statement is …dedicated to improving the perennial plant industry by providing education to enhance the production, promotion and utilization of perennial plants. I have many of the 20-years worth of selections and find they do well in Helen’s Haven.

The Perennial Plant Association’s goal is to recommend perennial plants that meet the following characteristics: low maintenance, relatively pest and disease resistant, multiple seasonal interests, and readily available. These are my hopes when selecting a plant as well, but often times I’m just taken in by a pretty face.

The following is a listing of their selections since the program was initiated:

2010 Baptisia australis

2009 Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’

2008  Geranium ‘Rozanne’
2007  Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’ Catnip
2006  Dianthus gratianoplitanus ‘Firewitch’
2005  Helleborus x hybrids
2004  Athyrium niponicum ‘Pictum’
2003  Leucanthemum ‘Becky’
2002  Phlox ‘David’
2001  Calamagrostis x acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’
2000  Scabiosa columbaria ‘Butterfly Blue’
1999  Rudbeckia fulgida var. sulivantii ‘Goldsturm’
1998  Echinacea purpurea ‘Magnus’
1997  Salvia ‘May Night’ (‘Mainacht’)
1996  Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’
1995  Perovskia atriplicifolia
1994  Astilbe ‘Sprite’
1993  Veronica ‘Sunny Border Blue’
1992  Coreopsis verticillata ‘Moonbeam’
1991  Heuchera micrantha ‘Palace Purple’
1990  Phlox stolonifera

Perennial Plant Association



  1. tina said

    This choice should bode well for my garden, but I honestly am having the worst time getting baptisia going! Ouch-maybe this year is the year.

  2. Funny you should mention that. I have it and it is taking it’s sweet ole time to establish. However, today as I was working on a story for Nature’s Garden, I studied the photograph to make a plant list. There was Baptisia austrialis looking fine. As it happened, I asked the owner about it…a horticulturists…and he replied it does very well with no help from him. My kind of plant.

  3. Grumpy Gardener said

    I think Baptisia australis is a fine plant and especially like all the recently introduced hybrids, such as ‘Carolina Moonlight’ and ‘Purple Smoke.’ If it takes time to get it going, remember it develops a deep taproot. Once established, however, it lives forever (provided you don’t pave it over) and is quite carefree and drought tolerant.

    PPA must have little representation from the Lower South (Zones 7B on down) to have chosen Hakonechloa. I love the way this plant looks in the Pacific Northwest, the Northeast, and in the eastern mountains. However, it is hard to keep alive for long in much of the South. It is intolerant of drought, root competition, and heavy soils, and doesn’t like week after week of high humidity and high nighttime temperatures. I suggest people grow it in containers, where they can give it the growing conditions it likes.

  4. Thanks for this info Steve. I wondered about Hakonechloa for our area. I’m going to ask Tim Alderton for his opinion. Tim???

    I don’t have a place for it in my garden. My oasis zones are either too sunny or the space is too precious. I don’t mind trading up, but it has to be with a proven winner

  5. Tim Alderton said

    I have a small clump in the lath house at the J.C. Raulston Aboretum of H. m. ‘All Gold’. It is slowly growing there, not going down hill. It is not as lush as it would be in milder summer areas, but it can make it, and still look rather pleasing to the eye despite the general dislike it has for our climate. All and all, I think it is worth growing in the Raleigh area, but I can not speak for areas further south and east.

  6. Thanks Tim!

  7. […] Perennial Plant Association has chosen Baptisia australis blue false indigo as the perennial plant of 2010. This native […]

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