Perennial of the Year – Hummelo Bishop’s Wort

The Perennial Plant of the Year® (POY®) program began in 1990 to showcase a perennial that is a standout among its competitors. Perennials chosen are suitable for a wide range of growing climates, require low maintenance, have multiple-season interest, and are relatively pest/disease-free. If you are looking for an excellent perennial for your next landscape project or something reliable for your gardens, make sure to check out the Perennial Plant of the Year® archive list.

Since the Perennial Plant of the Year® was introduced in 1990, the Perennial Plant Association (PPA) has received frequent inquiries about how the Perennial Plant of the Year® is selected. The selection process is quite simple – PPA members vote for the Perennial Plant of the Year™ each summer. At that time, in addition to the vote, each member may also nominate up to two plants for future consideration. The Perennial Plant of the Year® committee reviews the nominated perennials (more than 400 different perennials are often nominated each year) and selects 3 or 4 perennials to be placed on the ballot.  Perennial Plant Association is a trade association composed of growers, retailers, landscape designers and contractors, educators, and others that are professionally involved in the herbaceous perennial industry.


Named the 2019 Perennial Plant of the Year, ‘Hummelo’ is a delightful, dependable selection that attracts pollinators.  With a nod from the PPA as its 2019 Perennial Plant of the Year®, make sure you add Stachys officinalis “Hummelo’ to your gardens.  This stalwart perennial looks stunning in mass and is a trouble-free and dependable as it is eye-catching, according to the PPA.

Tiny, two-lipped, rose-lavendar flowers appear in dense spikes atop mostly leafless flowering stems, rising well above the foliage to 1 ½ to 2 feet tall in summer.

It’s hard to USDA Hardiness Zone 4-8, and foliage may remain evergreen in warmer climates.  In the landscape, it grows best in full sun to part shade.  Use in the perennial border or in combination with ornamental grasses, Echinancea purpurea and Ascelpias tuberosa (the 2018 Perennial Plant of the Year).  Its wiry stems make for a great cut flower, as well.  It’s considered deer resistant.


Selected and introduced by German grower Ernst Pagels in the late 1990s, this perennial gained popularity as it was used by renowed designer and plantsman Piet Oudolf in some of this signature works.  “Hummel” means bumblebee in German, which is appropriate as Pagels observed many pollinators visiting the flowers.  The cultivar name also honored Pagels’ close connection to Piet and his nursery and home at Hummelo, The Netherlands.

‘Hummelo’ was the highest rated Stachys in the Chicago Botanic Garden Evaluation Trials for its strong flower production, vigor, habit, quality and winter hardiness.

“We first planted [Stachys officinalis] in our Scottish garden where is has thrived in part shade,” says Mark Dwyer, direct of horticulture at Rotary Botanical Gardens in Janesville, Wisc.  He calls it “an entirely underused perennial” this is “really is a tough and durable plant with plenty of visual appeal.”


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