Each year members of the Perennial Plant Association nominate perennials for the honor of Plant of the Year. But first, plants must meet stiff eligibility requirements: They must be widely adaptable, low-maintenance, easily propagated, and showy in several seasons. After narrowing the list of candidates, members voted the Lenten rose as its 2005 winner.
Hardy in Zones 4 to 9, the Lenten rose is an evergreen, late-winter or early-spring flowering member of the buttercup family. It's an excellent shade perennial that tolerates dry conditions. Its long-lasting flowers are available in many colors and appear as single or double blooms. The Lenten rose prefers well-drained, humus-rich soil in partial to full shade. Mature plants often have 50 or more flowers per plant and can form clumps that grow 18 to 24 inches tall and up to 30 inches wide.
To learn more about the Lenten rose, go to www.perennialplant.org.