Field of flowers

Pollinators are abuzz for the ‘Perennial of the Year’

Posted on Feb 27 2019 in Backyard

A growing concern for years, especially for those in the world of agriculture, has been the marked decline of bee populations necessary for pollination of plants and crops.

That concern was dialed upward last year with the addition of the rusty patch bumblebee to the list of endangered species. It is the first bee to be so designated and protected by the federal Endangered Species Act.

By selecting Stachys officinalis “Hummelo” as its “2019 Perennial Plant of the Year,” the Perennial Plant Association continues its focus on pollinator-friendly plants.

Hummelo is a compact, clump-forming perennial, reaching 1.5 to 2 feet tall and wide. Over time, the plants will form a dense mat, spreading slowly from creeping underground stems. Showy magenta flower spikes rise well above the foliage in midsummer and are quite attractive to butterflies, bees and other pollinators.

Plants are hardy in USDA Hardiness zones 4-8 and appear to be trouble-free. Plants perform best in full sun and well-drained soil. Hummelo was the highest rated Stachys in the Chicago Botanic Garden Evaluation Trials for its strong flower production, vigor, habit, quality and winter hardiness.

Source: B. Rosie Lerner, Purdue Extension consumer horticulturist

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