Plant of the Week: Happy Face® Potentilla

Hello and happy Monday!

Even though it's cold, and at least in Michigan, February days are gray more often than not...there is a lot to be happy about! The Olympic games have begun, and it's always exciting to see the athletes from around the world displaying amazing feats of strength, endurance, and skill. 

I always find the Winter Olympics to be a great celebration of a season that can sometimes feel like it's hanging on a little too long. They remind me of all the fun things associated with this frosty, cold time of year. Watching the games just makes me happy...and so does our plant of the week, Happy Face®  Potentilla. Take a look at the bright yellow flowers in our new 30-second video about this fun and functional shrub, and I think it will bring a smile to your face as well. Actually, in a way, Happy Face® is the Olympian of Potentillas!

Want to know why? Jane has plenty of proof to back up this claim in her Plant of the Week. 


It's February! It's cold! You know what's happy in the cold, other than my Norwegian Elkhound? Potentilla!

I know, I know. Potentilla is something you thought you were done with. For a while, it seemed like every motel and gas station landscape north of the Ohio river had some straggly specimens hanging on in a sea of red mulch.

That's the thing about hangs on. As long as they don't get too hot or too dry, Potentilla will probably be OK.

There's no doubt that they are cold hardy; one common name for them is tundra rose, which I really like. Potentilla fruticosa is hardy to USDA Zone 2. That's polar bear country. It's happy there, but less happy when it gets into warmer climates. South of USDA Zone 7 they will struggle with the heat and humidity. They're also quite deer-resistant, and rabbit-resistant, too. They can take the stress of urban settings' air pollution, and can also take some clay soils. Established plants will come through drought, too.

So it's no wonder that Potentilla has been used so heavily in landscapes. Granted, the older varieties could look pretty rough, but if your idea of Potentilla is a sad, scrubby little plant, think again. Happy Face® Potentilla is known for big, bold flowers and full habits. These are nicely branched plants, with full, compact habits and lots of flowers all season long.

If you want classic yellow, go with Happy Face Yellow® Potentilla. Those of you wanting a more restrained color palette can go with Happy Face® White Potentilla.

And then there's pink.

A good pink Potentilla has been hard to find. But Proven Winners® ColorChoice® has two! Happy Face® Pink Paradise has clear, semi-doubled flowers that hold their color very well. A more subtle choice is Happy Face Hearts™ (left), with softer pink flowers accented by a white star in the center of each bloom. Remember, if you're on the southern end of this plant's range your pink flowers may not be as intense as they would be in more northern climates.

Happy Face HeartsPotentilla is 1-2' tall and wide; the other varieties are all 2-3' in size. They will grow in full sun or partial shade.

So, if you're looking for a plant to solve some landscape challenges, Potentilla may just be the answer. Those of you in areas with the threat of rose rosette might want to take a look at the humble tundra rose - it has the same continuous blooms and love of full sun as your fancy landscape roses. 

Plant of the Week is written by Jane Beggs-Joles

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