Extension Horticulture Hints January by Steve Mayer

Steve Mayer, Extension Educator-Horticulture, for Purdue Extension-Marion County, serves as coordinator and instructor for the Purdue Master Gardener program in Marion County.

January Garden Calendar Tips

Note: Letters and numbers following the tip refer to Purdue publications; other reference links on the topic may also be supplied.

 Follow me on Twitter @purduehortindy (or view at: http://twitter.com/purduehortindy) for more tips. You don’t have to be on Twitter to simply view my comments.

Millenium Allium Named Perennial of the Year

Allium ‘Millenium’ was selected by the Perennial Plant Association (PPA) as the 2018 Plant of the Year®. Each year the PPA chooses a different perennial plant to promote. PPA members nominate and vote for plants based on criteria like low maintenance, climate adaptability, insect/disease resistance, availability, multi-season interest and ease of propagation. Because of this, Plant of the Year candidates are generally good choices for home gardeners.

The PPA describes this year’s plant this way: Allium ‘Millenium’ produces an upright foliage clump of grass-like, deep green leaves that attains a height of 10-15 inches in spring. In midsummer, 2-3 flower scapes rise above the foliage with each scape producing two or three showy two-inch completely round umbels of rose-purple florets that last as long as four weeks. No common serious pest problems have been reported. ‘Millenium’ exhibits 50% reduced seed production, raising less concern for self-sown seedlings.

For more information on this plant, go to: http://www.perennialplant.org/index.php/component/k2/item/198-2018-perennial-plant-of-the-year. A two-page PDF version with more information is at: http://www.perennialplant.org/images/Allium_Flyer.pdf. A complete list of PPA Plant of the Year plants (1990-2018) is online at: https://extension.purdue.edu/pages/article.aspx?intItemID=27678.

Chicago Botanic Garden Plant Evaluations

The Chicago Botanic Garden Plant Evaluation program evaluates herbaceous and woody plants in comparative trials. Their plant recommendations are suitable for central Indiana since the Chicago Botanic Garden is in USDA Hardiness Zone 5b and AHS Plant Heat Zone 5. The latest issue (#41) of their Plant Evaluation Notes published in 2017 is A Comparative Evaluation Study of Geum spp., available online at: https://www.chicagobotanic.org/downloads/planteval_notes/no41_geum.pdf. The report indicated that Avens should be grown more widely based on their performance in the trial and the wider range of flower colors in the newer hybrids. There was a good mix of old and new varieties among the top performers. Just over 60 percent of taxa in the trial received good or excellent ratings – ‘Mai Tai’, ‘Sangria’, ‘Totally Tangerine’, and Geum triflorum were the highest rated plants. Additional information on the plant evaluation program and all 41 issues of their Plant Evaluation Notes are available online: https://www.chicagobotanic.org/research/ornamental_plant_research/plant_evaluation. The Chicago Botanic Garden collaborates with Fine Gardening magazine to publish some plant trial results. 2017 magazine articles on Baptisia and Hibiscus are at:  https://www.chicagobotanic.org/plantinfo/plant_trials_articles. Fifteen other plant articles are also listed and more are planned for 2018.

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