The Threatened Plant of the Year 2024 competition – Plant Heritage’s annual search for rare or unusual plants being cared for by gardeners across the UK – begins again this February.

Anyone can take part, from hobbyist amateur gardeners to professionals. All you need to do is look for any rare, unusual, or special named cultivars growing in a garden that aren’t currently available to buy from a nursery, garden centre or another source. Entrants can submit up to five different cultivars, but all must have been grown or sold in the UK or Ireland prior to 2014. 

Those wishing to take part have until May 19 to submit their entries. The winner will be presented with an engraved Threatened Plant of the Year 2024 winner’s vase, certificate and special plant label at the world-renowned RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival on July 1.  

Gill Groombridge, business manager at Plant Heritage, said: “The importance of discovering and caring for rare and threatened plants that may not exist anywhere else in the country, cannot be overstated. 

“Through our Threatened Plant of the Year competition we can ensure that rare plants are protected and propagated to ensure they have a secure future ahead. Plants play a fundamental role in helping mitigate against the effects of climate change, so it’s hugely important to conserve our rich horticulture by knowing what plants we have and working to breed more of them if we can. Every year we receive an incredible array of entries – including many that we didn’t even know existed – so we’re very excited to see what gems are submitted this year.”

The popular competition is now in its fifth year. An incredibly rare Chaenomeles speciosa ‘Contorta’ – an ornamental quince – won last year’s competition. Grown by David Ford in Surrey, the winning plant was thought to be only one of five of its kind still known to exist in the UK and also only one of two surviving Chaenomeles cultivars in the UK to have twisting branches and larger, more open flowers.

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