A dramatic dark-leaved drought-lover wins the 2022 RHS Plant of the Year competition
In just over ten years, the RHS Plant of the Year competition
has become one of the highlights of the Chelsea Flower Show. This year, it all proved especially interesting.
The winner was an innovative hybrid, × Semponium
‘Destiny’*, a sumptuous patio succulent, developed at Surreal Succulents by Daniel Michael.
‘Destiny’ is not the first of his hybrids on the market – last year’s RHS Plant of the Year competition saw ‘Sienna’ through as one of the twenty finalists. But the superior foliage colour of ‘Destiny’ took one of his two semponiums entered this year to the top of the rankings.
What the breeder says
‘Destiny’ is a cross between a Sempervivum
and an Aeonium,
” Daniel Michael told the RHS in his presentation of the plant to the competition judges.
“It was bred for its hardiness, and will take -2°C outside, a great improvement in the hardiness of an aeonium. The colours are really rich, really intense during the summer and also a very good colour during the winter. It grows all the year round, which is unique for any aeonium or sempervivum.
“The texture of the leaves is one of the unique features of the plant. It has this lovely, veiny texture. It can reach full size of 40cm x 40cm in three years and has an amazing inflorescence that just explodes out of the pot.”
Semponium ‘Destiny’ was developed as part of a breeding programme to produce hardier succulents for the UK and international climates. For years Daniel strived to accomplish this, despite many challenges. After three years of failed seed batches, in 2017 he carefully crossed Sempervivum
‘Green Ice’ with Aeonium
‘Ice Warrior’ and the result was the birth of the world's first semponiums.
Semponium ‘Destiny’ is available from Surreal Succulents
. The company sold out of their 6,000 plants at the Show, but more will be available in six to eight weeks.
* The × here denotes a hybrid genus and the italics denote a botanical (Latin) name. Semponium is also being used as an English common name, hence the lack of italics in its subsequent uses in this blog.
** Please note, the contents of this blog reflect the views of its author and do not constitute an official endorsement by the RHS