Reprinted with permission of the National Garden Bureau:
2015 Perennial Plant of the Year™
is Geranium xcantabrigiense ‘Biokovo’
The Perennial Plant Association membership has voted and the 2015 Perennial Plant of the Year™ is Geranium xcantabrigiense ‘Biokovo’. Yes, that is a big name for this excellent groundcover type perennial that only reaches 6-10” high.
’Biokovo’ is a naturally occurring hybrid of Geranium dalmaticum and Geranium macrorrhizum found in the Biokovo Mountains of the Dalmatia region of present-day Croatia.
Blooming in late spring ‘Biokovo’ has delightful masses of 5-petaled white flowers, about ¾” diameter, that are tinged pink at the base of each petal and have darker pink center stamens. The overall effect is that of a blushing pink geranium. An interesting attraction is the flower ‘bud’ that is somewhat inflated – actually made up of the sepals which are redder than the petals. When the flower opens the lightly tinged pink flowers provide a handsome contrast to the sepals and stamens. The aromatic foliage has rounded leaf edges, is a medium green color and is semi-evergreen in most climates. This geranium is a spreading, rhizomatous plant, meaning it spreads by sending out runners. However, not being a deeply rooted perennial, removal is not strenuous. Best garden placement is as a ground cover or in the front of the border. It also does well in rock gardens.
‘Biokovo’ does well in average, medium, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. It is easy to grow and only requires deadheading (removing old flowers) to keep it looking good. It forms an attractive mound that offers scarlet and orange fall colors to your garden. Cut away any dead foliage in the spring and ‘Biokovo’ is ready for the garden season.
Plant ‘Biokovo’ next to Japanese painted fern. Pick up color echoes between the pink flowers and maroon foliage tones that contrast with the silver streaks in the fern fronds. It also pairs nicely with late spring blooming Penstemons such as ‘Prairie Dusk’ with clear purple flowers, or ‘Pink Rock Candy’ offering bright pink flowers on compact stems.
To learn more about the Perennial Plant of the Year™ Program and past winners, visit www.perennialplant.org.
Source: Martha A. Smith, Horticulture Educator, University of Illinois Extension
Flowering photo credits: Todd Boland
Non-flowering groundcover photo credit: Steven Still