WNA Plants of the Year

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  • Gymnocladus dioicus ‘Espresso’ (Espresso™ Kentucky Coffee Tree)

    Espresso Kentucky Coffee Tree

    Able to withstand the rigors of an urban setting, including pollution, a wide range of soils, salt, and drought conditions, the Espresso™ Kentucky Coffee Tree is an outstanding large tree, and a native to the Midwest. With large, doubly compound leaves on upright arching branches, the tree has a tropical look. In fall, the leaves turn a warm yellow. This is a seedless selection that transplants well and has no serious disease or insect problems.

    Height: 50’ to 60’ tall; Spread: 35’ to 45’; Grows in full to partial sun. Does well in zones 4-8.

  • Intersectional (Itoh) Hybrid Peonies

    Intersectional (Itoh) Hybrid Peonies

    Toichi Itoh, the Japanese hybridizer, was the first to successfully cross a hybrid tree peony with an herbaceous peony. The Intersectionals are the spectacular result, providing strong stems able to support extraordinarily full and large, fragrant flowers, with colors ranging from yellows to oranges to pinks and corals. Intersectionals are incredibly robust, growing to 2-3’ in a compact bushy form, with gorgeous foliage. And, like herbaceous peonies, the foliage dies to the ground each season, returning in spring to delight us for another season. They are disease resistant, now easy to grow, and deer proof.

    Height: 30-34” tall; Spread: 36”; Partial to full sun in well-drained soil. Does well in zones 4-9


  • Picea omorika (Serbian Spruce)

    Serbian Spruce

    Serbian Spruce brings a vertical grace to any landscape with its slender, spire-like form. Anyone who loves conifers, favors Picea omorika for its beauty and adaptability. It grows in full sun to partial shade, preferring a rich, moist well-drained soil but tolerating a wide pH range and drought-prone sites, including urban conditions. The flat needles of the Serbian Spruce are a rich dark green beautifully contrasted by a silvery underside. It transplants well, establishes quickly, can be used as a single specimen, in a group, or as a screen, and is ideal for narrow spaces and street applications.

    Height: 40’ to 60’ tall; Spread: 15’ to 25’; Grows in full sun to partial shade. Does well in zones 4-7.

  • Chelone lyonii ‘Hot Lips’ (‘Hot Lips’ Turtlehead)

    ‘Hot Lips’ Turtlehead)

    ‘Hot Lips’ Turtlehead brings vivid color to the partially shaded part of the garden, with bronze-green foliage in spring, and rosy pink blooms in late summer to mid fall. The hooded flowers that give the plant its name are on upright stems that create a bushy mound. It is a showy and long lived plant that does best in a moist or wet site, but is wonderfully adaptable.
    This North American native is deer resistant and attractive to butterflies and hummingbirds, and does extremely well in a variety of uses.

    Height: 23-35” tall; Spread: 18-23”; Full sun to partial shade. Does well in zones 3-8


  • Musclewood – Carpinus caroliniana

    Musclewood – Carpinus caroliniana

    The smooth sinewy gray bark of the Musclewood resembles the muscles of a flexed arm, hence the name. It’s a slow grower and may live up to 100 years, displaying shiny bluish-green leaves that turn a clear yellow or a brilliant scarlet-orange in the fall. This Wisconsin native is a small and handsome tree with a papery pendulous fruit that many songbirds love to eat. From full sun right through full shade, Carpinus caroliniana makes an excellent screening plant with its dense habit, and also is a great specimen plant for all seasons.

    Height: 20’ to 30’ tall; Spread: 20’ to 30’; Grows in full sun all the way to full shade in moist, slightly alkaline soil. Does well in zones 2-9, if proper provenance material is used

  • Dark Towers Beardtongue Penstemon ‘Dark Towers’ PP20013
    Dark Towers

    Dark Towers Beardtongue

    An abundance of tubular pink flowers contrasts beautifully with the glossy burgundy foliage of Dark Towers Beardtongue in late summer, a treat for the eye and for the hummingbirds. It’s an outstanding accent plant with enough height for the back of a sunny border. This fast grower tolerates heat and humidity in style.

    Height: 30-36” tall; Spread: 30”; Prefers a very well drained soil in full sun Does well in zones 3-8


  • Spiraea betulifolia ‘Tor’  – Tor Birchleaf Spirea
    Tor Birchleaf Spirea

    Tor Birchleaf Spirea

    Tiny white flowers in flattened clusters dot the rich dark green leaves of Spiraea betulifolia ‘Tor’ in mid spring. For long lasting fall color, Tor Birchleaf Spirea can’t be beat, with hues ranging from orange to red to purple. It’s a mounded shrub that works well as a specimen or in rock gardens and low hedges. It also incorporates well into foundation plantings. It has no serious disease or insect problems, deer stay away from it, and it’s easy to grow.

    Height: 2-3’ high and 2-3’ wide, prefers average well-drained soil in full to partial sun, best in zones 4-8.

  • Echinacea ‘CBG Cone 2’ – Pixie Meadowbrite™ Coneflower
    Pixie Meadowbrite Coneflower

    Pixie Meadowbrite™ Coneflower

    Another easy to grow beauty, Echinacea ’CBG Cone 2’ is an adaptable plant that is tolerant of drought, heat, humidity, and poor soil. Bees and butterflies are attracted to its cheerful flow-ers, but not deer. If you love coneflowers, this is a great choice for borders and beds, especially where there is a space restric-tion, since the Pixie Meadowbrite™ Coneflower is a dwarf hybrid. In midsummer, an abundance of vibrant pink flowers bloom on compact, knee-high plants. In the winter, spent blooms on the plants provide food for finches and other birds.

    Height: 1-2’ high and 1-2’ wide, prefers average well-drained soil in full sun, but will tolerate part shade, best in zones 3-9


  • Sisyrinchium angustifolium ‘Lucerne’ – Lucerne Blue-Eyed Grass
  • Pinus cembra cultivars – Swiss Stone Pine – any cultivar


  • Allium ‘Summer Beauty’ – Summer Beauty Ornamental Onion
  • Malus sargentii ‘Select A’ – Firebird® Crabapple


  • Stachys monnieri ‘Hummelo’ – Hummelo Alpine Betony
  • Acer miyabei ‘Morton’ – State Street® Miyabe Maple


  • Calamintha nepeta var. nepeta ‘Montrose White’ – Calamint
  • Quercus muehlenbergii – Chinkapin Oak


  • Baptisia australis – Blue False Indigo
  • Chionanthus virginicus – White Fringetree


  • Cornus mas ‘Golden Glory’ – Cornelian Cherry Dogwood
  • Amsonia ‘Blue Ice’ – Blue Star


  • Malus ‘Louisa’ – Louisa Crabapple
  • Pulmonaria longifolia ‘Bertram Anderson’ – Lungwort


  • Panicum virgatum ‘Northwind’ – Northwind Switchgrass
  • Crataegus viridis ‘Winter King’ – Winter King Hawthorn


  • Ilex verticillata ‘Red Sprite’ – Red Sprite Winterberry
  • Hosta ‘Patriot’

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