Theodore Klein Plant Awards
Named for one of the patriarchs of the Kentucky Nursery Industry
Below you’ll find every plant that has received the honor of “Theodore Klein Plant Award” in alphabetical order based on its Latin name.
To see the full alphabetical Latin Name list with no photos, please click here.
To choose a list based on plant type (shrub, shade perennial, etc.) please click here.
Large, upright arching shrub best known for sweetly fragrant masses of light pink flowers and stunning yellow/orange/red fall color. This is a durable and adaptable shrub as long as it has sufficient space to grow.
Abelia x grandiflora
A tough as nails shrub that is grown for its spring and summer crops of lightly fragrant, pink/white trumpet-shaped flowers, compact growth and foliage that emerges coppery and then fades to a golden yellow. Drought tolerant, deer resistant and easy to grow.
This outstanding conifer grows into a strongly upright, pyramidal, deep green specimen in the landscape. One of the best firs available it is long lived and has few pest/disease problems. Slow growing as a young plant but once it gets started it grows at a reasonable rate.
Spiny Bears Breeches
Tough and durable herbaceous perennial prized for exceptional foliage, unique flowers and tremendous adaptability. This tough species offers glossy dark green spiny foliage in a mass up to about 24”. Late spring flowers of white, purple and mauve are produced on tall husky spikes that extend a foot or more about the foliage.
Acer griseum x maximowiczianum
Girard’s Maple is a small, upright oval tree for sun or part shade. It is appreciated for its cinnamon-colored flaking bark, trifoliate bluish green leaves and orange-red fall color. Girard’s maple shows more vigor and faster growth than A. griseum.
State Street™, ‘Morton’
A little known but excellent medium sized tree that works well as a garden, lawn or street tree. Upright oval shape and tremendous cultural adaptability allows this plant to work in many different situations. Dark green summer foliage turns brilliant gold in fall.
Acer palmatum var dissectum
An excellent collection of superior performing sugar maple selections, these will all create upright rounded shade trees with uniform outline, attractive, scaly gray bark and brilliant red/orange fall foliage color. Best on a good quality soil with adequate moisture.
Bonfire™, Commemoration®, Fall Fiesta™ 'Bailsta', Green Mountain®, Legacy®
An excellent collection of superior performing sugar maple selections, these will all create upright rounded shade trees with uniform outline, attractive, scaly gray bark and brilliant red/orange fall foliage color. Best on a good quality soil with adequate moisture.
Outstanding small to medium tree for the garden, Three Flower Maple offers light gray, scaly bark, showy fall color of golden yellow to brick red and tremendous adaptability. It will tolerate most soils, has few pest/disease problems and is a long-lived attractive tree. Despite its name, flowers are not particularly showy.
A durable and adaptable, medium shade tree it emerges in spring with red tinged leaves that mature to a deep, rich green. Fall color can be brilliant yellow, orange and/or red. It tolerates heat and drought and is amazingly free from insect and disease problems.
A large, colonizing shrub known for its late spring/early summer spikes of clear white flowers and excellent yellow fall foliage color. It is easy to grow, adaptable to a wide range of soils, has few pest and disease problems and makes a long-lived and trouble free specimen in the garden. Best in light shade but will take full sun with adequate soil moisture. An excellent pollinator plant – particularly attractive to bumble bees and butterflies.
The variety serrotina is a form that flowers about 2 weeks later and has longer flower spikes compared to the straight species. ‘Rogers’ is the best known cultivar of this variety.
This delightful hybrid forms tight masses of 8”-tall, strap like leaves topped with bright rosy/purple, rounded flower heads in summer. It is an excellent pollinator plant and the onion scent of the foliage deters both deer and rabbits. Best in full sun in any reasonable soil.
Serviceberry is an excellent small flowering tree known for its informal, upright form covered with white flowers in spring, blueberry-live summer fruit (that are loved by many bird species) and red/orange fall foliage color. It works well in both full sun and light shade. Easy to grow and a multi-season plant. ‘Cumulus’ is known for excellent foliage quality and fall color
This fabulous, compact growing sun perennial is prized for its sky-blue spring flowers, dense and high quality summer foliage and glowing golden fall color. It makes a good cut flower and is not browsed by deer.
Common Blue Star
A winner for the sunny or lightly shaded garden, this Bluestar selection is a bit more compact growing (15”-18”) and with deeper blue flowers than the typical form. Mid-spring flowers gradually fade from deep blue buds to baby blue when fully open. Nice quality green foliage all summer turns bright yellow in fall. Long lived, easy care and dependable!
In recent years, ‘Blue Ice’ has started to show susceptiblity to a rust disease. Other new selections have been released that, while taller plants, are much more disease resistant: Storm Cloud and Starstruck
Outstanding, yellow-leafed perennial that works like a shrub in the landscape. Growing up to 4’ tall and wide, it works best in light shade or morning sun/afternoon shade. White summer flowers are modestly showy and produce gleaming black fruits in late summer/early fall that contrast beautifully with the bright foliage.
A native woodland tree throughout Kentucky, Paw Paw bears large, tropical-looking leaves, small unique dark burgundy flowers and distinct banana-like fruit. Paw Paw requires a moist rich soil and is happiest in full sun to partial shade.
A fabulous sun perennial that forms a 2′-3′ tall and wide, dense mass of fine, highly aromatic foliage and clouds of levender blue flowers in fall. Highly resistant to the foliage mildew problems that plagues so many asters. Incredibly drought tolerant, easy to grow and a killer pollinator plant for late in the season.
Excellent if somewhat variable shade fern that has silvery white markings on the upper side of the fronds. Spreads to form a large mass in the garden where it can shade/crowd out weeds. Easy to grow and many delightful cultivars on the market.
Blue False Indigo
Long lived herbaceous perennial grown for its lavender-blue spring flower spikes.The plant combines excellent pest resistance with drought and heat tolerance that make it an excellent choice for just about any sunny garden. Does not transplant well after a few years in the ground so best to plant it and leave it be.
Atrosanguinea', 'Tangerine Beauty', 'Jekyll'
Wonderful climbing vine that produces clouds of trumpet flowers in shades ranging from golden yellow to orange and deep red. While this plant is found in the wild as an understory plant, it performs best in full sun where its early summer flowers are frequented by hummingbirds.
Calamagrostis x acutiflora
Feather Reed Grass
This selection has earned top honors across the garden world. In full sun, strikingly upright plants grow 5’-6’ tall and 2’ wide. The stunning flower/seed plumes are effective summer and fall and last well through the winter. Plant in full sun and any reasonable soil and this plant will reward for years to come.
Japanese Beauty Berry
3’ x 3’ shrub best known for its brilliant, amethyst-colored fruit that color up in late summer and last through the fall. Bright green foliage sets off delicate pink/white flowers on branch tips in mid-summer. Best in full sun to light shade. Deer resistant.
This outstanding hybrid of our native North American and Asian sweetshrub species is a robust grower with glossy deep green leaves and golden yellow fall color. Spring flowers of deep burgundy-red are highlighted with bits of yellow and offer a pleasant fragrance. Reblooms occasionally in summer. Full sun or part shade.
This hybrid between C. chinensis and C. occidentalis boasts fragrant, bright red blossoms over a long period in late spring and early summer. A large, free growing shrub that is deer resistant, tolerant of a wide range of soils and can grow in full sun or light shade. Our favorite of all the sweetshrub hybrids.
Outstanding evergreen groundcover that makes 15″-tall masses of broad, grass-like leaves edged in creamy white. Extremely vigorous and durable in sun and shade. Deer proof. Few pests. May be a bit too agressive for mixed planting with less vigorous perennials.
Arching, grass-like foliage mounds of bright yellow, this durable evergreen sedge works well in ground beds or containers. Brightest color in full sun. Fades to a still-effective yellow green in shady sites. Highly resistant to deer browse. One of the best performing sedges in Yew Dell’s trials
Native Flame® ('JFS-KW6'), Ball O’Fire™ (‘JN Globe’), FireSpire™ (JN Upright), and ‘JN Strain’
This outstanding small to medium tree makes a long lived, pest resistant specimen that has unique, muscular branching, smooth, dark gray bark and excellent deep green summer foliage. The listed cultivars have been selected for excellent and consistent red fall foliage color.
Cedrus libani var. stenocoma
Cedar of Lebanon
This is the most cold tolerant form of the Cedar of Lebanon. It grows into a tall, sharply conical evergreen in the landscape. Fine-textured, gray-green needles to about 1″ long remain green all through the winter. Likes full sun and a well drained soil. Outstanding lawn specimen in the landscape.
Magical® Moonlight (Plant Nouveau)
One of the most adaptable of our native shrubs, button bush produces spherical, fragrant white blooms about 1.5″ in diameter. Glossy summer foliage turns a clear golden yellow in fall. Excellent pollinator plant and adaptable from dry soils to sites with standing water.
Magical® Moonlight (‘Kolmoon’)
This excellent Kentucky native is one of our favorite pollinator shrubs, offering up honey-scented, golf ball sized flowers in late spring and glossy green summer foliage. This selection is more compact than the straight species, topping out at about 5’ tall and wide. It will tolerate everything from sopping wet soil to drought conditions.
Chinese Plum Yew
Outstanding evergreen shrub with deep green needles and a rounded shape. Tolerates heavy pruning althogh plants are best left unpruned for best performance. One of the most cold tolerant and more compact and uniform in growth of the Cephalotaxus cultivars. Slow growing but long lived and durable plant.
Katsura is a fine textured, slightly upright medium-sized tree known for uniform shape, bright green summer foliage and glowing apricot fall foliage color. ‘Amazing Grace’ is a Theodore Klein selection with a strongly pendulous growth habit and excellent fall color.
Common Red Bud
Redbud is a common small garden tree best known for its crops of lavender/pink flowers in spring. This selection is different in that it produces flowers of a shocking fuchsia color. Best on a sunny site in any reasonable soil.
This Theodore Klein introduction of our native redbud offers bright white variegation on the medium-green, heart-shaped leaves. The April flowers of pink/lavender are a common sight throughout the bluegrass and make a great addition to any garden. Plant in full sun or part shade in any reasonable garden soil.
This small to medium tree is prized for its glossy green leaves, fragrant white flowers in late spring and its cultural adaptability. Plant in full sun or light shade in reasonably rich soil and it will provide years of enjoyment.
‘Tokyo Tower’ is a more upright selection that has performed well in the landscape.
This medium-sized tree is prized for late spring crops of white, sweetly fragrant and slightly pendulous flower clusters. Bright green summer foliage turns a glowing yellow in fall. The bark is a smooth gray and adds interest all year long. Likes a moist and rich soil.
This delightful North American native shrub is covered in late spring/early summer with sweetly fragrant, white flower spikes that are covered with a long list of pollinators. Bright golden fall foliage adds a nice touch in autumn. Likes a soil with reasonable moisture and performs best in full sun to light shade. The straight species grows to about 6′ tall x 6′ wide but ‘Hummingbird’ is a more compact selection that matures at around 3’x3′.
From our friends at the Mt Cuba Center comes this stunning native perennial for the summer garden. A big grower to about 7’ tall, it forms large masses of upright stems topped with cheerful golden blooms from early summer through frost. Best in full sun and sparse soil.
Outstanding hybrid dogwood grown for its large white spring floral displays up to 6″ in diameter or more on mature plants. Deep green, glossy foliage turns to a stunning red/burgundy and orange show in fall. Easy to grow and an excellent addition to about any garden.
Developed by Dr. Elwin Orton, Rutgers University. Hybrid of Cornus kousa and Cornus nuttallii.
This Tennessee introduction is the most disease-resistant flowering dogwood on the market today. Classic white spring blooms, bright red fall fruit and red/ orange fall foliage combine to make the perfect package. Plant in rich, moist soil in partial shade.
Fabulous white & green variegated foliage on a compact version of the popular Chinese dogwood. This dense grower produces a vase shape to rounded mass of bright variegated foliage with 4-bracted, creamy white blooms in late spring/early summer. Grows well in both full sun and part shade and is about 1/2 the size of straight species.
One of the best cultivars on the market today, this selection develops deep, glossy green leaves, brilliant white late spring floral displays, and excellent fall color of red, orange, and burgundy. It is highly disease resistant small tree and adaptable to a wide range of soils. Best for full sun but happy in part shade as well.
Cornelian Cherry Dogwood
Known as an excellent small garden tree for early color, Cornelian Cherry Dogwood produces masses of bright yellow flowers in early to mid spring followed by dark red cherry-like, edible fruit. Mature plants grow to about 20′ tall and wide but the selection ‘Golden Glory’ tends to be more upright in shape and is a very heavy bloomer.
Delightful, delicate textured shrub for full sun or part shade. Spring flowers produced in short pendulous strands in a pale chartreuse color. Fall foliage color is a clear yellow. Easy to grow and few pests. The blooms make excellent cut flowers to bring inside early in the garden year.
This large, formal evergreen will grow to more than 60’ tall with billowy masses of dependable green foliage. Yoshino’s short, awl-shaped needles hold better green color than most Cryptomeria selections. Plant in full sun in all but the wettest or driest soil. Yoshino makes an excellent lawn specimen or large screen
Outstanding low, creeping sun perennial with blue-green mats of spring foliage to about 8″ tall and sweet/spicy fragrant, vibrant pink flowers in spring. Likes a well drained soil and looks best if spent flowers are removed after flowering. Easy to grow, makes and excellent cut flower and long lived in the garden.
North American native shrubs to 3-4’ tall and wide that are best known for their spring and fall foliage colors. The Kodiak© Red, Orange, and Black selections all offer disease (and deer) resistant foliage and delicate yellow summer blooms. Plants are tolerant of full sun or light shade and perform well on any reasonable soil.
An adaptable and long lived tree best known for its delicious fall-ripening fruit. Growing to 40’-50’ tall, this Kentucky native tree grows into an upright oval shape and is easily identified by its deeply furrowed, gray bark. Male and female flowers are born on separate trees so both are required for fruit production.
There are many cultivars selected for early fruit ripening, overall fruit quality, pendulous growth (Magic Fountain) and even seedless fruit.
Dryopteris x australis
Dixie Wood Fern
This 3’-4′-tall, upright arching fern is one of the best choices for specimen or mass planting. It works well in any shaded site with a good garden soil. Vigorous grower that is not browsed by deer and has few other insect or pest problems. An easy to grow fern.
‘Spine Tingler’ and ‘Sandy Claws’
These two outstanding selections form low, spreading, semi-evergreen shade plants with unique, spine-edge leaves and delicate spring flowers. ‘Spine Tingler’ offers yellow flowers held above foliage to about 8” tall while ‘Sandy Claws’ grows to about 15” tall with white/yellow flowers. Highly resistant to deer/rabbit browse.
Epimedium x versicolor
This herbaceous perennial groundcover is an outstanding plant for shaded sites. Glossy foliage to about 8″ tall, grows into slowly spreading mats that bear delicate yellow flowers above the foliage in spring. Easy to grow with few pests, the cultivar ‘Sulphureum’ was selected for bright yellow flower color and vigorous growth. Tolerant of dry shade but best with a little moisture.
Joe Pye Weed
Large, sun perennial for the sunny garden on either wet or dry soils. Strong burgundy-colored stems yield flat topped domes of creamy white to pink blooms in mid summer with seed heads remaining effective through fall. Outstanding pollinator plant. ‘Gateway’ is a more compact grower (5′) with darker colored stems and uniform growth.
Euphorbia amygdaloides var. robbiae
This evergreen, pest-resistant groundcover is excellent for any shady garden and even works well in dry shade. It produces a dense carpet of deep green, slightly glossy foliage with bright chartreuse spring flowers. Spreads slowly in dry shade but in good soil and moderate moisture it is a rapid spreader.
A noble tree if there ever was one! Growing to 60’ tall and wide with strong branching and beautifully smooth gray bark, it loves deep, rich and moist soil and is typically a long lived specimen in the landscape. Avoid extreme drought and soil compaction in the root zone.
One of the most magnificent of lawn trees, this will grow into a rounded elegant mass of finely dissected, fern-like leaves. Once the leaves have dropped, the smooth silvery bark makes an outstanding contribution to the fall and winter landscape. Performs best in rich and moist soils in full sun.
Many other selections with foliage of burgundy, gold, red – also weeping, columnar and contorted forms.
Fothergilla x grandiflora
This large, deciduous shrub is known for its spring crops of honey-scented, white bottle brush flowers and fiery fall color of yellow, orange and red. It performs best in full sun with adequate soil moisture but will perform well in light shade although with somewhat reduced flowering and fall foliage color. ‘Mt Airy’ is an excellent selection with uniform and vigorous growth and heavy flower production.
‘Margarita’ is the most cold-tolerant form of Carolina Jessamine. It is grown for its glossy, semi-evergreen leaves, fragrant yellow flowers in spring, and ease of cultivation. It can be grown as a groundcover or planted to scramble over a retaining wall.
Geranium x cantabrigiense
This compact-growing herbaceous perennial is one of the best geraniums for this region. Plants grow 12-18” tall and spread to two feet or more in width. In spring, plants are covered with bright pink blossoms. Best in full sun or partial shade in about any reasonable garden soil.
A large shade tree with unique, fan-shaped leaves and stunning golden fall color, Ginkgo is considered a living fossil tree remaining virtually unchanged since the time of the dinosaurs. Vigorous, highly adaptable and pest resistant, it is a reliable and long-lived tree. ‘Autumn Gold’ is a vigorous and uniform male selection that does not produce the seed crop that can be problematic in landscapes.
Kentucky Coffee Tree
Attractive and durable shade tree with unique, scaly gray bark, blue/green summer foliage and clear yellow fall color. Open branching makes trees look a bit sparse in youth but result in strong branching and beautiful shape with age. Female plants produce large, leathery seed pods. Most named cultivars are males.
Japanese Forest Grass
This wonderful grass forms graceful, arching masses of bright gold and green streaked foliage that pairs well with hostas, ferns and other shade garden plants.. Best in bright sun with adequate soil moisture and equally at home in light shade where the color will be a bit more subdued. Easy to grow.
‘All Gold’ is a very vigorous selection with leaves of all gold rather than the green/gold streaked foliage of ‘Aureola’
Japanese Forest Grass
Stunning mound of arching, fine textured foliage that works well as a single specimen or a mass planting. This selection has intense yellow foliage in full sun, fading to a bright yellow/green in the shade. It is the most vigorous of all the Hakonechloa cultivars on the market. Provide supplemental irrigation during dry spells in full sun situations
Hamamelis x intermedia
The winter flowering, hybrid witchhazels offer sweetly fragrant, showy flowers in winter, ranging from yellow to orange, red and even purple and often excellent fall foliage color. They are tremendously adaptable plants that are at home in full sun (where they show best flowering and fall foliage color) or light shade in any reasonable soil. There are scores of cultivars selected for particular flower color and timing.
Compact selection of an already excellent North American herbaceous perennial will top out at about 4’ tall. In September and October, it is smothered in 2-inch diameter, screaming yellow daisy flowers. Loves full sun and can handle damp soils but will adapt to any reasonable garden soil. Deer resistant.
Heliopsis helianthoides var. scabra
'Summer Sun' and 'Summer Nights'
These two outstanding summer blooming perennials are excellent additions to any sunny garden. Both provide masses of golden yellow blooms from mid Summer into Fall with Summer Sun offering double yellow blooms while Summer Nights produces single golden flowers with deeper centers. Excellent pollinator plants, easy to grow and deer proof.
Helleborus x hybridus
This evergreen herbaceous perennial is the star of the winter shade garden. Mounds of glossy green foliage bear heavy crops of flowers from January through early April in shades from white to pink, burgundy, yellow, apricot and almost black. They are not browsed by deer, have few pest/disease problems and love the shade. Excellent cut flowers as well..
'NCHA2' Invincibelle® Spirit II
A wonderful, deep pink flowered form of our Kentucky native hydrangea. Flowers on new growth so it blooms even after winter pruning. Excellent 3’ tall option for full sun or light shade and most soils.
‘Pee Wee’ ‘Ruby Slippers’ ‘Munchkin’ Little Honey™
Large, North American native deciduous shrub with bold, leathery leaves and creamy white flowers. Excellent, red/burgundy fall foliage. Best in light shade with adequate soil moisture. This is a highly variable species with some selections maturing at 4′ tall and wide and others growing to 15′ or more in height and width. An easy to grow and long lived shrub.
St John's Wort
'CCFLPC-1' Blue Velvet TM
This compact grower offers sunny yellow flowers in late spring and early summer on brilliant blue-green summer foliage. It is highly disease resistant and easy to grow. Blue Velvet is extremely drought tolerant once established and will grow well on poor soils. Selected by Dr. Paul Cappiello of Yew Dell Botanical Gardens
American holly forms an attractive, upright, conical evergreen in the landscape, typically with spined, leathery leaves and bright red fruit on female specimens. The Theodore Klein selection ‘Judy Evans’ stands out as superior by virtue of its dense, regular outline, dark green foliage, heavy crops of red fruit and vigorous growth. It is considered one of the best of the female cultivars. A long lived and dependable garden plant.
The winterberry hollies are stars of the fall and winter landscape with female selections producing massive crops of fire engine red fruits that hang on for a long time. Ranging in size from 3′ to more than 10′ (depending on cultivar) this deciduous shrub species will handle any soil from consistently wet to slightly dry. It is easy to grow, has few pests and offers birds a loved food source in winter. ‘Red Sprite’ is one of the smaller female selections, maturing at about 4′ tall and wide with large fruits. Requires a male pollinator.
A vigorous, spreading shrub with upright arching stems bearing clear white flowers in late spring. In fall, the foliage develops a brilliant, scarlet color that lasts through much of the fall. A tough, durable and drought tolerant species although best flowering and fall color on a soil with reasonable moisture. ‘Henry’s Garnet’ is a selection for superior, bright red fall foliage color.
‘JN Select Blue’ Star Power™
This is one of the fastest growing upright junipers for the landscape. Star-like, blue green needles provide a fine texture while blue cones add a touch of colorful interest. Durable, deer proof and easy to grow.
Examples: ‘Acoma’, Kiowa', ‘Hopi’, 'Nachez'
The Crepe Myrtle selections developed by the late Dr. Don Egolf (US National Arboretum) are among the most cold hardy and dependable available. They combine great vigor, heavy flowering and attractive exfoliating bark. Plant in full sun and avoid wet soils for best performance. Acoma, Kiowa and Natchez are white flowered while Hopi produces pink flowers.
This large, arching shrub is an excellent late summer bloomer for the sunny or partly shaded border. It is drought tolerant, pest resistant and can be grown as a woody shrub or annually cut back to the ground since it flowers on new growth. Rose/pink flowers cover the plant in late summer/early fall.
Oriental Spice Bush
Stunning and durable large shrub best known for its brilliant red and orange fall foliage color. Excellent for screening or as an accent specimen. Long lived, adaptable and deer proof.
This large woodland shrub is grown for its subtle spring flowers of yellow/green and summer/fall red fruit. It is the preferred host to the spicebush swallowtail butterfly. An excellent choice for sun or dappled shade and is tolerant of a wide range of soils.
This Kentucky native vine is excellent for trellises and for scrambling over stone walls where it produces late spring/early summer trumpets of red, orange and yellow and sporadically through the summer. An excellent hummingbird plant. Best for full sun sites in any average soil.
This small tree member of the pea family is best known for crops of creamy white, sweetly scented flowers in late spring that are frequented by scores of pollinator insects. Early stem and leaf growth is covered with attractive silvery hairs. The species is tremendously adaptable to a wide range of soils and moisture conditions. One tough tree!.
This excellent and extremely cold hardy hybrid deciduous magnolia forms a small to medium tree with early spring, gleaming white flowers before the leaves emerge. Flowers occasionally hit by late freezes/frosts but typically the stem growth is unaffected. Excellent small tree for full sun on about any reasonable soil.
Magnolia virginiana var. australis
'Henry Hicks', 'Northern Bell', 'Aiken County', 'Green Bay' syn. 'Green Shadow'
This upright oval magnolia is best known for its crops of creamy white, lemon-scented flowers cast against dark green foliage. Easy to grow in any reasonable soil, it is an excellent selection for lengthening the spring bloom season. The variety australis is the evergreen form of the species.
Excellent cultivars include: Henry Hicks, Northern Belle, Aiken County, Green Bay (Green Shadow)
This ancient living fossil species is an amazingly pest resistant and adaptable deciduous conifer. Plants are tightly conical, of uniform outline, bright green needles and shredding bark. It shows wide soil tolerance, rapid growth and is very long lived.
This vigorous perennial is an excellent herbaceous perennial groundcover for sun gardens. Gray-green foliage forms the perfect foil for blue-lavender spring blooms. Will rebloom in summer if sheared after spring bloom. Provide well-drained soil. Perennial Plant Association Plant of the Year 2007! See additional notes for newer introductions.
There are many new and excellent selections influding ‘Purrsian Blue’, ‘Cat’s Pajamas’ and others.
An excellent upright growing shade tree with glossy green summer foliage, small blue fruits (on female plants) and gleaming fall foliage in shades of red, orange, yellow and burgundy. Tolerant of heavy soils. Numerous cultivars have been introduced for more consistent fall color and vigor. Excellent Kentucky native tree.
Numerous cultivars have been introduced for leaf spot resistance, consistent fall color and growth rate: Red Rage – large leaves with bright red color some years. Good spot resistance. Wildfire – red new leaves and moderate fall color display with good spot resistance. Green Gable – glossy dark green summer leaves and good vigor.
Chinese Mondo Grass
This diminutive evergreen groundcover or pocket perennial forms delicate mounds of threadlike foliage to abotu 8″ high and spreading slowly. In mid summer, plants produce small sprays of clear white blooms followed by dark cobalt blue fruit. Durable and easy to grow plant.
This group is the result of crosses between traditional herbaceous peonies and woody tree peonies. Compared to both parents, intersectional peonies have superior quality foliage all through the summer, have a longer bloom period and their shorter and stockier build means they don’t flop over when in bloom.
This North American native grass will grow to 6’ tall or more, producing fine clouds of summer/fall blooms/seed heads that give the entire plant an airy feel. Best when planted in masses in full sun. Excellent for back of the border and naturalized masses.
This slow-growing and long lived tree is known for its brilliant but variable fall foliage color, showy exfoliating bark and cultural adaptability. The early spring magenta/red flowers are a nice early touch of color but are rather small and only visible on close inspection. Best in a rich soil, but once established, quite drought tolerant.
Many cultivars available for consistent fall color: Red Vase, Vanessa. Also several weeping forms available.
This burgundy foliaged selection grows to 2-3’ tall and bears white blooms on straight, erect stems in summer. It works best in full sun in most soils and is quite drought tolerant. Excellent pollinator plant. See additional comments for newer selections.
The more recently released ‘Onyx and Pearls’ offers even better foliage color and vigor.
'Seward' , Summer Wine™
This almost indestructible shrub is a standout for the summer garden. Mahogany foliage is deeper and holds its color better than other varieties. Pink/white late spring flowers offer excellent contrast and are attractive to a wide range of pollinators.
A weeping form of one of the most durable and adaptable conifers for the landscape, this selection is a standout for use as a specimen or focal point in the garden. It thrives in most soils including heavy clay and is quite drought tolerant.
One of the best large conifers for the landscape, this forms a deep green, conical form with consistent color all year long. It is highly pest resistant, adaptable to a wide range of soils and exposures and is a long lived plant. A little hard to find but worth the quest!
Lacebark Pine offers fine evergreen needles on an upright form to 20-30’ tall. The usually multi-trunked plants offer stunning exfoliating bark of green, cream and olive. This is an excellent specimen plant for full sun or partial shade in rich, moist soils.
Platanus x acerifolia
This selection is the most disease-resistant form of Planetree available. This large (60’ tall) and adaptable shade tree offers beautiful exfoliating bark of bright green/white, highlighted with bits of olive and tan. Tolerant of a wide range of soils and exposures and useful as a lawn or street tree.
An outstanding woodland herbaceous perennial that forms slowly spreading colonies of gracefully arching stems. Spring flowers are small, lightly fragrant bells that hang below the stems and foliage. A perfect partner with hostas, ferns and other shade plants, this is a long lived and problem free plant. The selection ‘Variegatum’ has white streaked leaves that provide a nice contrast all through the growling season.
Easy to grow evergreen fern for the shade garden. Growing 12″-24″ tall and wide, its slightly leathery foliage starts out spring fairly upright and gradually relaxes to the ground through the winter. Deer browse resistant.
Prunus x yedoensis
Japanese Flowering Cherry
A stunning, 20’-35’ tree that bears pale pink spring flowers that smother the branches. An excellent selection for a sunny location, it is fairly adaptable to a wide range of soils and offers nice yellow/orange fall foliage color.
The best cultivar for warm climates, this selection forms a 1’ tall by 2’ wide mass of deep green foliage with bright silver spots. In spring the foliage is covered with intense blue flowers. In summer the foliage retains excellent quality unlike many other cultivars that wilt and wither in the heat of the South.
Short-Toothed Mountain Mint
Stunning 2’-tall perennial with silver/grey leaves and pale pink flowers that is an absolute pollinator magnet. Best in sun to light shade. Excellent for rain gardens, mixed borders or naturalizing at the woods edge.
This long-lived and durable shade tree is among the most attractive of the oaks. Broad-spreading limbs and leathery dark green leaves offer excellent shade and beautiful texture. Adaptable to a wide range of soils.
Swamp White Oak
Swamp White Oak is one of our most outstanding native oaks. Growing to 50-60’ tall with an upright oval outline, it makes an excellent shade tree specimen and is also useful in street tree and parking lot plantings. This long-lived species is tremendously adaptable and once established, it is tolerant of both wet and dry soils. Summer foliage is a dark glossy green with a bit of yellow in the Autumn.
A large, rounded shade tree with fine textured green summer foliage that turns glowing red in fall. Tolerant of slightly dry to slightly wet soils and is a long lived and generally trouble free species.
Quercus x warei
‘Nadler’ Kindred Spirit®
One of the best of the columnar oak hybrids. Growing to 60’ tall, this hybrid of English Oak and Swamp White Oak is adaptable to many soils, rapid growing and highly resistant to powdery mildew that bothers some other columnar oaks.
This uncommon, evergreen perennial is one of the most overlooked hardy foliage plants available. Long, strap-like evergreen leaves form small clumps that increase slowly. The orange fruit is showy all fall and winter. Somewhat slow growing but durable, resistant to deer browse and tough as nails.
There are many variegated selections that can be quite stunning (and expensive!) in the garden.
A rather low-growing and sprawling goldenrod prized for its heavy flower production and vigorous growth. Selected by Steve Foltz of the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, it has become popular for naturalizing plantings, to grow over retaining walls and to cover slopes. Outstanding pollinator plant.
This low, mounded perennial is best known for its brilliant red flowers in spring. Typically found as a woodland wildflower, this one performs even better in full sun as long as it has adequate moisture. Excellent hummingbird plant and an easy care garden plant.
Japanese Tree Lilac
This medium -sized tree is grown for its fragrant, ivory-white flowers, attractive bark and wide adaptability. It works well as a garden tree as well in parking lot and street tree situations. This is a long lived, durable species with few pest problems. ‘Ivory Silk’ was selected for a more narrow, upright shape and uniform growth.
'Mickelson' Shawnee Brave™
This strongly upright species is fast growing, pest resistant and provides a very fine texture in the landscape. Bald cypress is tolerant of a wide range of soils (even standing water!) and exposures and is unusual in that it is one of the few conifers that looses its needles in the winter. Shawnee Brave was selected for improved cold hardiness, vigor and uniform growth.
Outstanding hybrid evergreen that forms a tight, conical spire in the landscape. Excellent for screening or as a specimen plant. Soft foliage holds color well through winter. Not resistant to deer browse.
This fabulous North American native herbaceous groundcover is perfect for the shade garden. Growing to about 10” tall, its bright green leaves are flecked with deep red through the summer and the color intensifies after fall frost. Spikes of clear white flowers cover plants in spring. Avoid dry soils.
Excellent texture plant for the sun garden. 2′-tall masses of extremely fine textured foliage are covered with violet flowers in late summer. Covered by multitudes of pollinators when in bloom. Tough and drought tolerant plant.
This US National Arboretum introduction makes a dense, compact shrub with leathery, semi-evergreen leaves and creamy white snowball-like spring masses of flowers. Tolerant of a wide range of growing conditions, this is a highly adaptable shrub that will fit in many landscapes.
A large, deciduous shrub grown for late spring, creamy white flowers, showy masses of fall fruit and glowing, maroon fall foliage color. It is adaptable to a wide range of conditions from full sun to light shade, is an excellent pollinator plant when in bloom and the fruit crops are favored by many bird species. Tolerant of very wet soils. The selection ‘Winterthur’ has improved fall color and fruit set compared to the straight species.
Viburnum x burkwoodii
‘Mohawk’ has long been one of the gold standards of fragrant garden shrubs. This outstanding selection will grow to approximately 7’ tall and wide with dark glossy green summer foliage, changing to a rich red-orange in autumn. In spring, rich cherry-red flower buds put on a display for 10-14 days before opening to gleaming white, spicy scented, snowball-like blooms.