Get Lucky with These St. Patrick’s Day-Inspired Plants

When we think of St. Patrick’s Day, shamrocks, green carnations, and Bells of Ireland are ubiquitous on this day. Each leaf of a shamrock symbolizes hope, faith, and love, and if a fourth leaf is present, good luck. Bells of Ireland also represent good luck, while green carnations are popular for their vibrant color.

There are, however, other plants, shrubs, trees, and conifers that have deep meaning and signify good fortune, luck, love, and prosperity. Some may surprise you!

White Oak

Quercus alba

When we think of St. Patrick’s Day, shamrocks, green carnations, and Bells of Ireland are ubiquitous on this day. Each leaf of a shamrock symbolizes h…

For the Celts, the Tree of Life, Crann Bethadh, was inspired by the oak as it was the most highly regarded and sacred of all species. So ingrained in Celtic culture, historians say that the word “druid” comes from the Celtic word for acorn. Carrying acorns of White Oak trees is believed to bring good luck as well as immortality, healing, and protection. Whether you put them on your windowsill to ward off lightning strikes or wear them around your neck to prevent aging, oaks and their acorns are powerful! Specifically, White Oak is one of the most important native oak species in Wisconsin!

Category: Tree
Hardiness Zone: 4
Height: 80-100 feet
Spread: 50-80 feet
Exposure: Full Sun to Part Shade
Shape: Broad, Round
Catalog: #5 RootMakers

Emerald Arborvitae

Thuja occidentalis ‘Smaragd’

When we think of St. Patrick’s Day, shamrocks, green carnations, and Bells of Ireland are ubiquitous on this day. Each leaf of a shamrock symbolizes h…

In folklore, Arborvitae is considered highly protective, bringing good luck, good health, and financial prosperity. Planting one (or many) in your yard is said to ensure prosperity. It is considered the “Grandmother Cedar” and Tree of Life in several indigenous cultures across North America and has strong roots in creation myths. Emerald Arborvitae specifically, is prized for its bright emerald-green foliage that does not bronze in winter and does well in the heat and humidity of summer. This narrow conifer is great for screening, specimens, or accents and is sure to bring that lush, green color for which Ireland is known.

Category: Conifer
Hardiness Zone: 3
Height: 20-25 feet
Spread: 3-5 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Shape: Narrow, Pyramidal
Catalog: #15 and #20 Containers;  5’, 6’, and 7’ Ball and Burlap

Irish Setter Gray Dogwood

Cornus racemosa x amomum ‘J.N. Red Stem’

When we think of St. Patrick’s Day, shamrocks, green carnations, and Bells of Ireland are ubiquitous on this day. Each leaf of a shamrock symbolizes h…

Irish Setter Dogwood, a Johnson’s Nursery exclusive, bred by Mike Yanny was so named because the red twigs and maroon fall color of this dogwood called to mind the beautiful flowing reddish-brown coats of Ireland’s most famous dog. Irish Setter Dogwood has much better resistance to Septoria leaf spot than other varieties and is slow to colonize, making it a nice obedient choice for a home landscape. In New England, Dogwood planted near the home is said to bring good luck and protection.

Category: Shrub
Hardiness Zone: 3
Height: 8-12 feet
Spread: 8-12 feet
Exposure: Full Sun to Part Shade
Shape: Upright, Clump-forming
Catalog: #2 and #5 Containers

Ann Magnolia

Magnolia x ‘Ann’

When we think of St. Patrick’s Day, shamrocks, green carnations, and Bells of Ireland are ubiquitous on this day. Each leaf of a shamrock symbolizes h…

Magnolias are one of the oldest flowering trees on earth, estimated to be around 100 million years old. Given their long history, it’s no wonder many different meanings are associated with this beautiful tree. Planting a magnolia tree in the front yard of a home, particularly red varieties like Ann, is believed to bring good luck and financial security. Yes, please! Ann Magnolia is a compact variety that blooms later than other varieties with stunning, slightly fragrant red-fuchsia flowers sure to bring good fortune.

Category: Tree
Hardiness Zone: 4
Height: 8-10 feet
Spread: 8-10 feet
Exposure: Full Sun to Part Shade
Shape: Broad, Rounded
Catalog: #7, #10, #15, and #25 Containers; 5’ and 6’ Ball and Burlap

Scarlet Heaven Peony

Paeonia (ITOH) ‘Scarlet Heaven’

When we think of St. Patrick’s Day, shamrocks, green carnations, and Bells of Ireland are ubiquitous on this day. Each leaf of a shamrock symbolizes h…

Best known for their gorgeous fragrance and large, beautiful blooms, peonies symbolize different things around the world. Some believe that a peony plant full of flowers will bring prosperity, especially red flowering varieties. In other cultures, peonies symbolize wealth, bravery, and honor. The one common theme that repeats itself across most sources of folklore is that peonies represent good luck! Scarlet Heaven Peony features satiny scarlet red fragrant blooms that attract pollinators.

Category: Perennial
Hardiness Zone: 4
Height: 24-30 inches
Spread: 24-30 inches
Exposure: Full Sun to Part Shade
Shape: Globe
Catalog: #2 Containers

Zig Zag Goldenrod

Solidago flexicaulis

When we think of St. Patrick’s Day, shamrocks, green carnations, and Bells of Ireland are ubiquitous on this day. Each leaf of a shamrock symbolizes h…

The genus Solidago as a whole is said to bring good luck and prosperity. With its dark green foliage and cheery bright yellow flowers, it’s easy to see why. Some say that if Goldenrod grows near a door at your home where it didn’t before, you can expect an abundance of good fortune! Perhaps a pot of gold? Zig Zag Goldenrod, a Wisconsin native perennial, provides food to our pollinator and mammal friends late in the season!

Category: Perennial
Hardiness Zone: 4
Height: 12-36 inches
Spread: 24 inches
Exposure: Full Sun to Full Shade
Shape: Upright
Catalog: #1 Containers

Limelight Hydrangea

Hydrangea paniculata ‘Limelight’

When we think of St. Patrick’s Day, shamrocks, green carnations, and Bells of Ireland are ubiquitous on this day. Each leaf of a shamrock symbolizes h…

Beloved by many, hydrangeas are not only lush and floriferous but symbolize grace, friendship, sympathy, and love. Green hydrangeas represent good fortune, enlightenment, good health, and good luck. It is said that giving someone a green-flowered hydrangea will infuse their life with positive energy and all good things! Limelight has exquisite, large bright lime green flowers that hold their color until fall when they change to a rich deep pink. A stunner in any garden, sure to enhance your life and landscape.

Category: Shrub
Hardiness Zone: 3
Height: 8-12 feet
Spread: 8-12 feet
Exposure: Full Sun to Full Shade
Shape: Mounded
Catalog: #5 and #10 Containers, #7 Patio Tree, 48” Ball and Burlap

Emerald Spire Crabapple

Malus ‘Jefgreen’ PP23,863

When we think of St. Patrick’s Day, shamrocks, green carnations, and Bells of Ireland are ubiquitous on this day. Each leaf of a shamrock symbolizes h…

The Celts of Ireland believed crabapples were magical with healing and life-giving properties and referred to them as the “Tree of Love.” Lucky in love! To offer someone an apple was said to give love while burning apple wood increased the chances of successful fertility. Emerald Spire crabapple is unique, with bronze-green foliage that turns an exquisite dark green in summer, hence the name. Narrow and columnar, it fits well in smaller areas. It explodes in spring with light pink flowers followed by beautiful 1 -1/8” red fruit.

Category: Tree
Hardiness Zone: 4
Height: 10-15 feet
Spread: 6-8 feet
Exposure: Full Sun to Part Shade
Shape: Narrow, Columnar
Catalog: #15, #20 Containers, 1.5”, 1.75”, 2”, 2.5” Ball and Burlap