The Perennial Plant Association recently announced Aralia ‘Sun King’ as the 2020 Perennial Plant of the Year.
Aralia ‘Sun King’ brings a bright pop of glowing color and texture, the perfect anchor for the shade to partshade border. With no patents or other restrictions, the perennial has bold, golden yellow to chartreuse, compound foliage that is deer-resistant.
Bigger than your average perennial, the perennial is typically 4 feet tall and as wide, once established, but 6 feet tall is not unusual for older plants.
Aralia ‘Sun King’ received the International Hardy Plant Union Outstanding Plant Award in 2012.
The species Aralia cordata is a member of the Araliaceae family. It is native to Japan, Korea and southeast China, where the young shoots are harvested and blanched or pickled.
This perennial has become a beloved shade garden staple across the country. Bright yellow shoots emerge in spring, then grow up to quickly form a large shrub-like clump that is an outstanding accent plant. The small, cream-colored umbels of flowers arrive in clusters in the summer and are attractive to bees and other pollinators. Fall brings tiny dark berries adored by birds (but inedible to humans).
Despite the Sun King’s stature, it’s very well behaved, with little to no reseeding or suckering. With a hardiness in USDA Zones 3 to 9, this perennial is not picky with soil, liking moisture but with good drainage.