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The Perennial Plant Association (PPA) has chosen Calamint (Calamintha Napata subspecies(ssp) nepta) as the 2021 perennial plant of the year. Founded in 1984 by professionals involved in the herbaceous perennial industry, PPA is a trade association based in Raleigh, North Carolina. You may visit their website perennialplant.org.
A member of the mint family, Calamint displays a thick square-shaped stem and sends up axillary spikes containing floral blooms with 15 flowers on each, blooming from mid to late summer into early fall. The tiny white tubular shaped flowers are sometimes splashed with touches of pale blue. The fragrant flowers attract bees and other pollinators. The foliage is also aromatic when the leaves are crushed or rubbed. Deer and rabbits tend to avoid Calamint because of its fragrance. Calamint loves full sun and grows best in hardiness zones 5 to 7.
Due to its low mounding 18” x 18” shape, it’s ideal for borders, herb or rock gardens. It can spread vigorously by rhizomes and seeds in your garden but can be contained if grown in containers. Spent or wilted flower blooms can be sheared off to regenerate new growth during the summer. Calamint also has medicinal and culinary uses.
The Hardy Hibiscus also joins the 2021 line-up as the “Perennial of the Year” chosen by the National Garden Bureau. Founded in 1920, the National Garden Bureau also judges a plant on: ease of growing, adaptability, genetic diversity and the plants versatility. Learn more by visiting https://ngb.org.
Hardy Hibiscus is a native species Hibiscus moschetos and Hibiscus laevis found growing in the Midwest, East Coast to Texas and Florida. Hybrids of these species are considered Hardy Hibiscus which can be grown in many plant zones and survive below zero temperatures unlike its cousin, the tropical hibiscus.
This perennial plant likes full sun or partial shade, tolerates moist conditions and prefers soil with organic matter. Depending on species, the plant can grow 2 to 10 feet during the season. The foliage will die back at the end of the season. They produce new growth at the start of the growing season which eventually displays 3 to 5 inch flower petals and an amazing 10 to 12 inch, dinner plate sized bloom.
These flowers attract butterflies and hummingbirds. Hibiscus come in a variety of colors, white, pink, red, crimson, yellow to bicolor. The foliage depending on variety can be green, bronze to near black in appearance.
Are you interested in learning more about gardening, while enjoying shared tips, tricks, and camaraderie with other gardeners? Consider training to be an Oneida County Master Gardener Volunteer. For more information call 315-736-3394, Ext 100 or visit our website cceoneida.com. Be sure to like us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/cceoneida) and check out our YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/user/cceoneida) for great gardening talks.
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