Frank P Matthews’ Prunus ‘Starlight’® Shortlisted for RHS Plant of the Year at Chelsea Flower Show


We are proud to announce that Prunus ‘Starlight’® has been shortlisted for the prestigious RHS Plant of the Year award at the 2024 Chelsea Flower Show. This accolade recognises the exceptional qualities and innovative breeding that have made ‘Starlight’® a standout selection among gardeners and horticultural experts.

A Shining Star in Horticulture

Prunus ‘Starlight’® is celebrated for its striking pure white, star-shaped flowers that bloom profusely from mid to late March, often extending into April. These exquisite blooms, reminiscent of Magnolia stellata, transform gardens into floral wonderlands. The tree’s extended blooming period ensures that landscapes remain vibrant and beautiful well into spring.

Launched at the National Plant Show last June, Prunus ‘Starlight’® is the result of a meticulous breeding program that crossed a sweet eating cherry with Prunus x subhirtella ‘Autumnalis Rosea’. This unique parentage occasionally results in early winter blooms following mild weather, with flowers showing excellent resistance to frost damage. The tree’s robust and graceful habit allows it to thrive across all soil types and regions of the UK, making it a versatile addition to any garden. Importantly, ‘Starlight’® has demonstrated no susceptibility to black fly aphid, ensuring it remains healthy with minimal maintenance.

From Breeding Program to Recognition

Prunus ‘Starlight’® was carefully selected by expert breeders, Dr. Radovan Boskovic and Kenneth Tobutt, as part of a dedicated Prunus breeding program in the UK. Their commitment to horticultural innovation has resulted in a tree that combines stunning aesthetics with resilient performance. Since its introduction, ‘Starlight’® has captivated gardeners and horticultural experts alike, earning its place as a must-have for any garden.

Shortlisted for RHS Plant of the Year

The RHS Plant of the Year award at the Chelsea Flower Show is one of the highest honours in the horticultural world, recognising plants that demonstrate excellence in innovation, beauty, and performance. Being shortlisted is a testament to the exceptional qualities of Prunus ‘Starlight’® and the hard work of Frank P Matthews and the breeders. The Royal Horticultural Society’s recognition highlights ‘Starlight’® as a standout choice for those seeking beauty, resilience, and innovation in their gardens.

Growing Tips for Prunus ‘Starlight’®

For the best performance, Prunus ‘Starlight’® should be planted in well-drained soil and receive full sun. This adaptable tree tolerates most soil types, including chalk and clay, and rewards gardeners with a spectacular floral display and vibrant autumn colour.

  • Best Conditions: Full sun, well-drained soil
  • Soil Tolerance: Suitable for chalk and clay
  • Height and Spread (after 10 years): 4m x 3m

Frank P Matthews has a rich history of producing high-quality trees and shrubs, with over a century of experience in the horticultural industry. The shortlisting of Prunus ‘Starlight’® for the RHS Plant of the Year award is a significant milestone for the nursery, reflecting its dedication to innovation, sustainability, and excellence.

Join Us in Celebrating

We invite gardening enthusiasts and the general public to celebrate this achievement with us. For more information on Prunus ‘Starlight’® and how it can enhance your garden, visit our website or contact our team of horticultural experts. Let this brilliant tree light up your landscape for years to come!