Mulberry leads edible plant march to win RHS Chelsea Flower Show plant of the year 2017

A mulberry displayed at Chelsea on the HTA industry stand and on Jon Wheatley's Chris Evans Radio 2 garden has won plant of the year 2017 beating a clematis, hibiscus and salvia to take top spot.

Suttons' David Robinson said the company had sold out of the dwarf mulberry Morus rotundiloba 'Charlotte Russe' plant, which was one of five edibles shortlisted in the 20 new plants that were presented to RHS plant committee members for consideration.

He said fruit sales were 50% up this year thanks to grow your own popularity.  With royal palaces having national mulberry collections and the plant having Princess Charlotte's name, there were many good stories behind the Morus.

Another 7,500 will be available in September, but half are already sold. There will be more in March 2018. Some 2,500 sold out in the first batch this spring. The compact plant only grows to 1.5m.

Other edibles shortlisted were Tom Smith Plants' chilli pepper 'Dragon's Breath', Hillier's Malus x purpurea 'Crimson Cascade', T&M's Strawberry 'Just Add Cream' and Pennard Plants' sweet pepper 'Popti'.

The Morus was sourced from Japan where its 89-year-old breeder Hajme Matsunaga San has been crossing plants to make a hardy dwarf mulberry with edible berries for small gardens for four decades. The plant is exclusive to Suttons for a year through breeder agent Plantipp, who introduced the plant to Suttons.

Other themes were compactness of plants, while industry stands showcased five plants, with two on Scotts Miracle-Gro's exhibit and three on the HTA/industry Sunbury Road stand.


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