RHS Chelsea Plant of the Year 2017

Top new flowers, fruit, and veg of the year

Zantedeschia Dubai Nights
Brighter Blooms’ Zantedeschia Dubai Nights. All pictures unless otherwise stated RHS Media Image Collection

One of the highlights of the Chelsea Flower Show is the Plant of the Year competition and this year sees a host of bigger, better and brighter blooms, veg and fruit to tempt you to part with your cash.

Not all of the new plants get entered into the competition but those below have been. The winner is picked on Press Day, Monday, May 22.

Good luck to you all!

Zantedeschia Dubai Nights, Brighter Blooms, Walton-le-Dale, Preston, www.brighterblooms.co.uk
Flowers are a rich velvet purple with an outer margin of cream, held well on very speckled foliage. The plant is nice and compact.

Zantedeschia Eyeliner, Brighter Blooms
Flowers are nearly black in the centre, changing to purple at the margins, with a very narrow yellow line on the edge of the flower developing into a broader band of red as the flower ages.

Iris Cocktail Tropical, Cayeux Iris, Poilly-Lez-Gien, France, www.iris-cayeux.com
Large blooms with light apricot standards framed with nearly horizontal purple and aubergine-violet falls with a line of light lavender-rose down the middle. Mandarin-toned beards.

Iris Plume Bleue, Cayeux Iris
Standards of pure white with light blue reflections along the borders, it has nearly horizontal falls of white with wide, bright purple-blue borders. Orange beards with majestic dark violet spurs.

Iris Sur la Plage, Cayeux Iris
Standards of white infused with yellow at the base which is framed with falls of smoky yellow that turn to a soft beige-grey along the borders. The beards are of a bright corn yellow.

James L. Austin, David Austin Roses Ltd, Albrighton, Wolverhampton, www.davidaustinroses.com
The blooms are of deepest cerise pink, with numerous petals forming perfect large rosettes, each with a central button eye. The medium-strong fragrance resembles dark fruits.

Lewisia longipetala Little Snowberry, D’Arcy & Everest Ltd, St Ives, Cambridgeshire, www.darcyeverest.co.uk
The culmination of many years of carefully selecting parent plants to obtain true colour match by seed. Robust and delicately coloured.

Begonia Silver Spirit, Dibleys Nurseries, Llanelidan, Ruthin, www.dibleys.com
Combining the foliage of Begonia rex with taller growing cane Begonias. It offers a broad spectrum of uses indoors or outdoors, in exotic summer bedding schemes creating both height and colour.

Pelargonium Rushmoor Amazon (Rushmoor River Series), Fibrex Nurseries Ltd, Pebworth, Stratford-upon-Avon, www.fibrex.co.uk
A true buttery yellow. The habit and flowers have merited their own horticultural classification as Zonartic, which comes from being a cross between a zonal Pelargonium and P. articulatum.

Salvia Crystal Blue, Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants, Whitchurch, Hampshire, www.hardys-plants.co.uk
Discovered in a field of Salvia by Jerry Van Der Kolk of Michigan, USA. He knew he had something special when he saw the light sky-blue flower colour, now available in the European market.

Rosa Debden Sunrise, Harkness Roses, Hitchin, Herts, www.roses.co.uk (not pictured)
Hard to classify as either shrub or floribunda, it is happy to be pruned hard making a dense bedding rose, or to develop into a medium-sized shrub. A memorable perfume and a novel colour.

Leontopodium nivale subsp. alpinum Blossom of Snow Berghman, Harperley Hall Farm Nurseries, Stanley, Co. Durham, www.harperleyhallfarmnurseries.co.uk
The breeder was a florist who was often asked for edelweiss with long stems and bigger flowers. Now available from Suttons, it achieves good results in containers, is low maintenance and hardy.

Malus × purpurea Crimson Cascade, Hillier Nurseries, Romsey, Hampshire, www.hillier.co.uk
Gracefully arching, weeping habit gives rise to purplish foliage in spring with crimson single or semi-double flowers. In autumn, the foliage turns bronze-green with reddish-purple fruits.

Betula pendula Fastigiata joes (Jolep 1), Horticultural Trades Association, Chilton, Didcot, www.loveyourplot.com
Its tight narrow habit and white bark are improved features of Betula pendula Fastigiata. A neat pyramidal habit with attractive catkins developing an impressive white bark after 4-5 years.

Lilium Sunset Joy, Horticultural Trades Association
Pinetops Nurseries has bred its own bicolour Asiatic lily with luscious, dark green foliage even during flowering. The plant has an excellent bud count and the flowers are particularly striking.

Morus rotundiloba Charlotte Russe (Matsunaga)
Introduced to the UK market by Suttons. This ground-breaking mulberry is self-pollinating and dwarf (up to 1.5m). Berries from June to September, fruiting on new and old wood, in the first year.

Pelargonium Spanish Wine Rose (Pacswiros)
A new introduction by PAC in its Darkline series of zonal pelargoniums. The variety has rose pink semi-double flowers, each of which has a lighter pink edge and deeper centre eye.

Strawberry Just Add Cream (Tmstr14pnk), Horticultural Trades Association
Thompson & Morgan are introducing this everbearer with an intense alpine taste, displaying masses of pink flowers and delicious fruits from May to the frosts, yielding up to 1kg per plant.

Lilium Yang, H.W. Hyde, and Son, Reading, Berkshire, www.hwhyde.co.uk
Next generation hybrid bred from L. Kushi Maya, multiplies quickly, has proved to be a breakthrough in trials.

Lilium Yin, H.W. Hyde, and Son
Next generation hybrid bred from L. Kushi Maya, nice compact plant with huge flowers. An amazing new hybrid and very easy to grow.

Cucumber Merlin, Pennard Plants, Shepton Mallet, Somerset, www.pennardplants.com
Merlin is a glasshouse, all-female parthenocarpic cucumber – the fruit will develop without seeds or the need for pollination. Resistant to powdery mildew, Cladosporium and Cucumber mosaic virus.

Sweet pepper Popti, Pennard Plants
A compact-growing, early sweet bell pepper suitable for a cold greenhouse or a sheltered south-facing location.

Rosa Papworth’s Pride, Peter Beales Roses, Attleborough, Norfolk, www.classicroses.co.uk
Produces clusters of large raspberry-red, peony-like flowers that unfold to reveal bright yellow anthers. Intensely perfumed with bright glossy mid-green foliage, growing to about 5ft (150cm).

Heuchera Sweet Caroline (Fox Series), Plantagogo, Crewe, Cheshire, www.plantagogo.com
A bright lemon/lime with pink flowers, very hardy, the evergreen foliage changes throughout the seasons. One of the toughest lime shades.

Tiarella Raspberry Sundae (Fox Series), Plantagogo
The star-like leaf shape and pretty, deep raspberry-pink buds open to pale white-pink stars. Tiarellas are excellent shade-loving plants and this is easy to grow.

Fuchsia Sarcoma UK, Roualeyn Fuchsias, Trefriw, Conwy, www.roualeynfuchsias.co.uk
Small to medium single flowers with a blush-pink tube and sepals, and a cerise corolla which fades to pink-cerise on maturity. All proceeds will be donated to Sarcoma UK.

Cosmos bipinnatus Cupcakes Blush (Cupcakes Series), Scotts Miracle-Gro Company, Camberley, Surrey, www.lovethegarden.com
Cupcakes Blush is a semi-double flower, changing from white to blush after a few days. They are robust, bushy, self-supporting, and perform well during wet summers and times of drought.

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis Petit Orange (HibisQsPetit Series), Scotts Miracle-Gro Company
A new type of Hibiscus, characterised by shiny, dark, eye-catching foliage topped with small but conspicuous flowers, particularly suitable as a pot plant.

Papaver rhoeas Supreme Mixed, Scotts Miracle-Gro Company
Picotee bi-colours in pink, cherry and orange shades with white centres. The flower size is about three times larger than a common Papaver rhoeas and is semi-double to double.

Pelargonium (Tall, Dark, and Handsome Series Mixed), Scotts Miracle-Gro Company
Almost black leaves, creating a wonderful backdrop to the pollenless flowers. This very vigorous variety will climb to 6ft with support. Available in Speckled Coral, Orange, and Pink.

Primula sieboldii Keepsake, Staddon Farm Nurseries, Holsworthy, Devon, www.pennysprimulas.co.uk
Derived from Alan Bloom’s breeding programme, 90 per cent of profits will be donated to Special Olympics Plymouth District. An easy plant to grow, best grown at the edge of woodland planting.

Digitalis Lemoncello, The Botanic Nursery, Melksham, Wiltshire, www.botanicnursery.co.uk
Yellow foxgloves are rare – this new selection offers a much-improved colour and a far longer season of flowering from secondary stems.

Clematis Taiga, Thorncroft Clematis, Norwich, Norfolk, www.thorncroftclematis.co.uk
When the flower first opens, it is very spiky, then it becomes rosette-like with large outer petals, before the final stage when the centre opens out to create a fully double flower.

Clematis Green Passion (‘Zo11050’), Thorncroft Clematis
Double green flower heads with later petals having white tips. Autumn flowers are double with more white than green and the plant will give a prolific display in the ground or in a container.

Chilli pepper Dragon’s Breath, Tom Smith Plants, St. Asaph, Denbighshire, www.tomsmithplants.com
The chilli was developed in collaboration with Nottingham Trent University and has a heat rating of 2.48 million SHU (Scoville Heat Units) which breaks the current world record.

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