2015 Season’s Standout Plants In South Dakota

To celebrate our last garden season, we’d like to share names of flowers and vegetables that South Dakota gardeners say grew best in 2015. Thanks to some South Dakota Master Gardeners, garden club members, and others who are willing to comment on their standout flowers and vegetables from the past season. These plants performed well in their locations of our state

The list was published in “Plant Exchange” in the Yankton Press & Dakotan newspaper on Friday November 13th. A few items were added later. Thanks again to all who contributed. Link to that article is:


See the list below provided by contributors. Internet search for more information about the ones that interest you.

Copper River Tomato: Sheila (Joe) Hillberry says the large green tomato has red stripes inside, is delicious and is grown from seed (Scheepers Seeds.) Rapid City. Pennington County Master Gardeners.Photo thanks to Sheila and Joe Hillberry.


Baby Bubba Okra: Sheila (Joe) Hillberry says it was planted late but still bore okra. Rapid City. Pennington County Master Gardeners.

Shrub Rose ‘Sven’: Joanne Bennis says it has small but profuse double blooms all season. (Northern Lights Series) Brandon. Minnehaha County Master Gardeners.

Black Mountain Watermelon: Barb Kuhlman says they ripened in a short season with a cool summer and hail. Spearfish. Northern Hills Master Gardeners.

Hardy Perennial Hibiscus ‘Midnight’: Rebecca Olmstend says dark maroon dinner plate size flowers grow several blooms at a time on 3 – 4 ft. plant. Spearfish. Northern Hills Master Gardeners.

Elegant Heirloom Lily: Sue Wheter says these perennials had 27 blooms per stem this season. Spearfish. Northern Hills Master Gardeners.

Trithonia or Mexican Sunflower. Glenda Heckewlaible says bright orange flowers are pollinator friendly. Sioux Falls. Sioux Falls Master Gardeners.

Coleus: Lois Quatier says her container coleus collection came from a friend, Evelyn Schindler, who gave them as cuttings 2 years ago. They grew to 4 ft. and she overwinters small cuttings for next year. Yankton. Town and Country Garden Club. Thanks to Lois Quatier for the photo.


Red Monarda (Bee Balm): Liz Gorham says the hardy plant stands above other plants and has great color. Brookings. Brookings Area Master Gardeners.

Indian Summer Rudbekia: Marla Huse chooses this great perennial. Sully County. Prairie Potters Master Gardeners.

Yellow Itoh Cross Peony: Christine Larson chooses this great perennial. Aberdeen. Prairie Potters Master Gardeners.

Elephant Ear: Glenda Oakley chooses this large leaf foliage from a bulb. Huron. Huron Area Master Gardeners.

Prairie Sun Rudbekia: Tammy Glover says it has great vigor and summer-long bloom. Rapid City. Pennington County Master Gardeners.

Silver Lace Fern ‘Evergemiensis’: Jean Koupal likes the variegated, delicate silvery green leaves with compact growth. She plants it outside in spring and brings it indoors in winter. It’s a topic of conversation with her gardening friends. Yankton. Missouri Valley Master Gardeners.

Purple Robe Locust (Robinia pseudoacacia): Mary Frankforter says this tree is an absolute knockout. It’s fast growing (more than 2 ft.) hardy, and drought tolerant with few pests in 4 years. Beautiful and fragrant wisteria-like clusters of purple flowers bloom in late spring. Yankton. Missouri Valley Master Gardeners.Thanks to Mary Frankforter for the photo.


Lantana: Lea Gustad says lantana is colorful and drought tolerant and blooms all summer in full sun and summer heat. Her favorite planter this year had lantana “fillers”, a large striped canna “Thriller”, and grasses and wave petunias as “spillers.” Wakonda. Pasque Garden Club.

Phylomis tuberosa: Theresa Nordin says it is a non-invasive, about 5 ft. tall, and pink flowers bloom about 6 weeks. Summerset. Pennington County Master Gardeners.

Celeriac (Apium graveolens var. rapaceum): Theresa Nordin says celeriac is root celery. Mild flavored, she uses it in soup, salad, and stir-fry. She starts it in January or February because it needs 100+ days to grow but is worth it. Summerset. Pennington County Master Gardeners.

Tomatillos: Vicki Gardner says she planted them the year before but they were not ripe by frost. They came up all over the garden this year and ripened. She canned 18 jars of tomatillo salsa and is sure they will reseed for next year. See Internet for recipes. Seneca (between Faulkton and Gettysburg.)

Red Russian Kale: Tom Thorson and Rob Simon have tried several varieties of kale and like this one because it is tender, pretty and productive. They eat it raw in salads and cooked as a side dish or chopped into soup or stew. Hill City. Rapid City Master Gardeners.

Self-Blanching Cauliflower (Naughtigall’s Nursery in Rapid Valley): Tom Thorson and Rob Simon say it grew huge and flavorful upright plants for a small space. Heads developed late but then quickly. Hill City. Rapid City Master Gardeners.

Patterson Yellow Onions: Tom Thorson and Rob Simon say these onions have grown well for three years in a row and store all winter in a drawer. Hill City. Rapid City Master Gardeners.

Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium): Muriel Sorbel says little bluestem is a bunch prairie grass that she likes for the upright growth, seeds it produces for birds, and coloring. It is bluefish green in spring and summer, turning copper to red in fall and winter. I like how it moves in the wind. Yankton. Missouri Valley Master Gardeners. Thanks to Muriel Sorbel for the photo.


Ligularia dentate ‘Othello’: Tom Thorson and Rob Simon say this perennial provided seed for a friend and grew in a wide variety of light situations. It’s a solution for composition problems. Hill City. Rapid City Master Gardeners.

Thalictrum (‘Elin’, ‘Black Stockings’,‘Ichangense’ and others): Tom Thorson and Rob Simon say these perennials are pest resistant, have beautiful foliage and flatter plants around them. Elin grows at least 8 ft. tall. Black Stockings is dense with a lot of flowers. Ichangese is an unusual ground cover that knits with other plants. Hill City. Rapid City Master Gardeners.

Cerinthe major: Tom Thorson and Rob Simon say this annual has blue green foliage and true blue flowers that draw you in. They do well in heat and a lot of light. Hill City. Rapid City Master Gardeners.

Mother Of Pearl Poppies: Tom Thorson and Rob Simon say these grow in some shade as well as sun. They keep blooming once they start. Colors are surprising and exquisite, from pearl gray to black cherry and pale orange sherbet or pure white with variety of pollen color. Hill City. Rapid City Master Gardeners.

Penuts: Martha Ausborn says she has planted peanuts before but this is the best yield by far—between 4-5 gallons of peanut pods. Now she’s looking for how to prepare them. Yankton.Thanks to Martha Ausborn for the photo.


Okra: Connie Jensen says she sautés okra and adds it to canned dill pickles. She grills okra by adding salt, pepper, onions and olive oil and wraps it in aluminum foil. She enjoys okra blooms, with okra a member of the hibiscus family. Gayville. Pasque Garden Club.

Supertunia Vista Bubblegum Petunias: Bill Torkelson says the Proven Winners bubblegum petunias have great ground coverage. This gardener had irises blooming in October. Sioux Falls. Minnehaha Master Gardeners.

Celebrity Tomatoes: Lois Quatier says two plants supplied her, her sisters and her neighbor with fresh tomatoes this season. Yankton. Town and Country Garden Club.

North Star Cherry Tree: Marlene Ohnstad says that her cherry tree has breathtaking blooms in spring and heavenly aroma. She makes great jelly with the fruit and many kinds of birds enjoy remaining fruit. Rural Beresford. Sioux Falls Area Federated Garden Club. Thanks to Marlene Ohnstad for the photo.


Bee’s Friend (Phacelia tanacetifolia) Deanna Streeter says this annual has lavender fiddlehead flowers and fern-like foliage. She starts them from seed. Sioux Falls. Minnehaha Master Gardeners.

Purple Coneflower (Echinaceae): Deanna Streeter says she’ll plant them again after watching 5 Monarch butterflies gathering nectar for nearly a week on this small stand of coneflowers. Sioux Falls. Minnehaha Master Gardeners.

We hope you enjoyed this season’s standout list contributed by gardeners from South Dakota. Plant Exchange Blog is about plants of the USDA Zone 4-5a region and the people who grow them. We post weekly and hope you will visit often.


























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