It's not often we'd say that a shrub has the wow factor, but there's no other way to describe this year's Chelsea Plant of the Year 2021 - the Cercis Canadensis 'Eternal Flame'.
The fire-colored plant beat a number of other entries in the Chelsea Flower Show Plant of the Year competition to be crowned the winner. The Cercis is new to the market this year and one of the most colorful foliage shrubs around.
It's not hard to see how the shrub got its name - 'Eternal Flame'. The glossy red foliage fades to burnt orange and then to yellow as the year progresses. The autumnal color palette made it the perfect accompaniment to the Chelsea Flower Show trends at the first September show.
'This is an extraordinary new shrub because the color of the foliage changes throughout the year. It starts off as a bright red, then matures to deep wine red and then a limey yellow, so in the course of the summer you get three shades of foliage,' says Garry Coward-Williams, editor of Amateur Gardening.
'Also the leaves are beautifully heart-shaped and it’s very hardy. A great new shrub with tremendous visual interest.'
The Cercis Canadensis 'Eternal Flame' was bred by the famous American Cercis breeder Denny Werner. If you want to fill your garden with color all year round this plant is perfect.
The fiery colors are not just for one month but last all year round without fading. In spring the shrub also boasts small pink flowers along the stems adding an extra color dimension.
'My personal favorite from the Chelsea Flower Show Plant of the Year mix was the salvia ‘Delice Aquamarine’ with its pale blue blooms,' adds Holly Crossley, digital editor at Gardeningetc.
'However, Cercis Canadensis 'Eternal Flame' does seem delightfully suited to the autumnal nature of this year’s show. Container gardens are having a real moment and I think this would make a lovely pick for a pot.'
'It’s low maintenance too – as long as you plant it in well-drained soil somewhere sunny. Just a bit of pruning is all that’s needed to keep it looking spectacular throughout the year.'
The shrub can be planted all year round, it will reach about 3m at 10 years. Tough and hardy this Cercis is a worthy winner that will look amazing in all gardens.
Rebecca has worked as a homes and interiors journalist for over four years, and is currently the Deputy Editor on Ideal Home online. Previously, she was the News Editor across the Future homes and gardens brands, including Gardeningetc.com. She lives in a rented flat in South London where she makes the most of window boxes to create small container gardens. Inside she has a jungle of houseplants in nearly every room which she does her best to keep up with regular watering and repotting.
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