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The Flower Show

Gold Medal Plants

2020 gold medal plants web hero with logo

The PHS Gold Medal Plant Program is a resource for anyone looking for the perfect tree, shrub, edible, vine, or perennial plant to add to their garden. Gold Medal Plants have been selected for their ease of cultivation, multiple seasons of interest, commercial availability, appropriateness for the Mid-Atlantic region, and value to wildlife.

Explore the Gold Medal Plant Database.

What Makes a Plant a “Gold Medal Plant”? 

Each year, PHS convenes nursery owners, horticulturists, expert gardeners, and professional growers to conduct a review of both newly available and classic species and cultivars, selecting the best performing and most beautiful for inclusion in the Gold Medal Program.  

How to Use the Gold Medal Plant Database 

Watch our user video on how to best navigate the database, including sorting, alphabetizing, viewing images, printing a shopping list, and more!

2024 Gold Medal Plant Winners

1. Asparagus officinalis ‘Millennium’ – Edible  

One of the highest yielding asparagus on the market, Asparagus ‘Millennium’ is a stem vegetable that produces uniform, tight tipped, tender spears with excellent flavor. It is hardy and easy to grow. It prefers full sun and loose, organically rich, evenly moist, sandy, well-drained soil. In addition to the edible shoots, asparagus produces attractive ferny foliage that turns yellow in the fall before going dormant in winter. Asparagus officinalis ‘Millennium’ grows up to 3-5 ft. tall and 1-3 ft. wide. It is disease, deer, and drought resistant and grows in hardiness zones 3-10. 

24GMP asparagus officinalis
Asparagus officinalis ‘Millennium’

2. Cephalanthus occidentalis Sugar Shack® - Shrub

This selection of buttonbush is a more compact version of our native Cephalanthus. It is good for small space gardens. Its fragrant white globe-like flowers are prominent in the summer followed by burgundy foliage in the fall and red fruit in the winter. It is easily grown in moist, humus soils in full sun to part shade. Cephalanthus attracts a variety of pollinators and can grow to 5' tall x 5' wide at maturity. It is hardy in zones 4-8.       

24GMP cephalanthus occidentalis
Cephalanthus occidentalis Sugar Shack®

3. Illicium ‘Woodland Ruby’ – Shrub  

 ‘Woodland Ruby', commonly known as Florida anise tree, has deep reddish strap-like flowers creating an extended period of bloom beginning in early summer and lasting through fall.  It requires protection from winter winds and is happiest in some shade but will tolerate more sun given enough moisture. It grows well in numerous settings and especially well in city gardens, where space and light are issues. It is deer resistant, attracts pollinators, and is fragrant. In its mature height of 6-7 feet, it is a good choice for a screen or backdrop. It is hardy in zones 6-9. 

24GMP illicium
Illicium ‘Woodland Ruby’

4.  Iris tectorum – Perennial

The common name for Iris tectorum is Japanese roof iris. It grows well in organically rich, medium moist, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. It benefits from the shelter of a wall with western or southern exposure and winter mulch. It has beautiful showy flowers in shades of lavender blue, blush violet, and blue lilac. Its foliage is arranged in fans of narrow, lance-shaped, ribbed, glossy, upright leaves. It can spread rapidly in the garden. It is deer resistant and grows 12 to 18 inches tall in maturity.  It is hardy in zones 6-9.

24GMP iris tectorum
Iris tectorum

5.  Magnolia ‘Genie’Tree

This is a perfect choice for small space gardens. It has an incredible spring flowering display of red to purple scented flowers that are eye-catching; long-lived and easy to care for with repeat blooms through the growing season.  Its narrow columnar form fits anywhere and can be grown in an extra-large container. Plant Magnolia ‘Genie’ in sun to part shade in slightly acidic, moist, fertile well-drained soils. Amend with compost when planting and keep well watered.  It reaches only 10 to 13. ft. tall, 5 ft. wide. It is hardy in zones 5-8.  

24GMP magnolia genie
Magnolia ‘Genie’

6.  Tiarella cordifolia ‘Brandywine’ Perennial

‘Brandywine’ foamflower is an early season long blooming, native perennial introduced by Sinclair Adams at Dunvegan Nursery in West Chester, Pennsylvania. It thrives in part to full shade and works well in both dry and moist soils.  The leaves have red hues and turn bronze in the fall.  Its lovely bold white flowers sit above the ground-hugging foliage and stay in bloom for 2 months. It attracts specialist bee species and other pollinators, and it is great for small space gardens, containers, and window boxes. It combines well with other shade-loving plants.   It is deer resistant and grows to be 8-18” tall when in flower. It is hardy in zones 4-8.   

24GMP tiarella cordifolia
Tiarella cordifolia ‘Brandywine’