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Plant of the Week: Wisconsin’s Native Aralia

Plant of the Week! New year, new Perennial of the Year! If you haven’t heard, Aralia ‘Sun King’ has been named 2020’s Perennial Plant of the year by the Perennial Plant Association. It’s fast-growing, hardy to zone 3, and has bright gold foliage, making it an attention-getting plant, to be sure. Here at Marek Landscaping, we prefer ‘Sun King’s’ Wisconsin native relatives, Aralia racemosa, Spikenard, and A. nudicaulis, Wild Sarsaparilla. Both are herbaceous plants in the ginseng family. Spikenard can be used in the garden like a shrub, albeit one that will die back in winter, as it grows 3-5′ tall and wide and has large, pinnately compound leaves that lend it a course texture. Wild Sarsaparilla is a bit smaller, only reaching 2′ in height. Both have clusters of small white flowers followed by small round fruits that ripen to dark purple.

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