Perennial Plant Association Names Perennial Plant of the Year
The Perennial Plant Association has named Athyrium niponicum ‘Pictum’ as the 2004 Perennial Plant of the Year.
This low-maintenance Japanese painted fern is a showy fern for shade gardens. It is so popular because of its hardiness nearly everywhere in the United States, except for the desert and the northern areas of USDA Zone 3. Pictum grows 18 inches tall that can make a clump more then 2 feet wide when it multiplies. It produces 12- to18-inch fronds that are a light shade of metallic silver gray with a hint of red and blue. It prefers partial to full shade and works best in combination planters and landscape beds.
This fern needs a well-drained, compost-rich soil and flourishes where moisture and humidity abound. The best frond color results in light shade. The colors are more intense in the spring or in cooler temperatures or climates such as the Northwest. This fern is extremely reliable when grown in the proper conditions. Its colorful foliage should be vibrant from early spring until frost, when it will go dormant and reemerge in the spring.
The Perennial Plant of the Year was initiated in 1990. Each year, member of the Perennial Plant Association select a perennial that is suitable for a wide range of climate types, low maintenance, easily propagated and exhibits multi-seasonal interest.
For more information visit www.perennialplant.org. You can also find production information by Paul Pilon in the September 2003 issue of GPN.