Top 10 New Plants in 2020

Another season in your landscape is on the horizon and now is a great time to preview some of the new plants we're releasing in 2020. Wisconsin's local propagators are making waves in landscape plant propagation - woody and herbaceous plants! We have a mix of fun, unique, native, and original plants this upcoming season, most of which are developed and grown locally in Southeastern Wisconsin.

As always, if you have your heart set on any one plant, call and reserve yours today. We do our best to constantly stock a variety of sizes, but plants do sell out. Visit our Public Inventory to see what's available.

Raspberry Lemonade™ Ninebark

Newly developed by Dr. David Zlesak, Milwaukee native and UW-River Falls professor. We reached out to our friend to send us his pictures, and they don't disappoint. They tell a story of a new, exciting compact landscape shrub with bright green buds in spring that mature to clusters of white flowers. Once the blooms are finished, they quickly ripen to a wonderful coral-red fruit that lasts for several weeks. All of this occurs over a backdrop of yellow tinted foliage. And beneath the foliage is gnarly, exfoliating bark - characteristic of the Ninebark family.

There are a few Ninebarks out there. So what makes this one special? Unlike Lemon Candy™ Ninebark, which has pink tinged flower buds that age to reddish-brown spent blooms, Raspberry Lemonade™'s spent flowers to a rich coral-red color that persists for a few weeks while the foliage maintains a wonderful yellow contrast. It is marked as a new and improved chartreuse-yellow leaved Ninebark.

Mariken Ginkgo

Few are unfamiliar with the Ginkgo family. With its unique, fan-shaped leaves, vibrant yellow fall color, and dramatic end-of-season leaf drop, Ginkgos are iconic in any landscape setting. Most of the varieties on the market are male cultivars (no smelly fruit) and will grow 40-50 feet tall and 15-30 feet wide over time. A stately, large-stature tree!

And now you can find a Ginkgo in shrub form. There are very few options like this out there! In time, expect a Ginkgo with the same characteristics as the rest of the group, such as deer resistance, urban approved, tolerance of a wide range of soils, and slow growth. This may become a staple in the Asian/Zen landscape alongside other elegant, unique specimen plants.

Early Glow™ Buckeye

A Johnson's Nursery Origination, Early Glow™ Buckeye is an improvement on Buckeyes with scorch resistance, fire-red fall color, and large yellow spring flowers. This medium-stature tree matures to 35' feet high with a pristine oval canopy about 35' wide. In spring, you may notice large flowers on shade trees, and there's a good chance you're looking at a Buckeye. Hummingbird enthusiasts love this tree.

30 years in the making! Buckeyes take 8+ years to achieve reproductive age; this selection produces fewer nuts compared to the rest of the Buckeye family. Reduced fruiting means less cleanup and maintenance. Early Glow™ is also tolerant of a wide range of soil types, and salt spray. All if its qualities make it an ideal Urban Approved plant. We are thrilled to have substantial stock available for 2020.

American Gold Rush Rudbeckia

Another Wisconsinite making waves in local herbaceous perennial propagation. American Gold Rush Rudbeckia was developed by Brent Horvath, Wisconsin native from Fontana, WI (Lake Geneva area). You'll have a blast with this long-bloomin', summer-lovin' perennial. It's a hybrid nativar (a cultivar of a native plant) that thrives in full sun, average-to-dry soil conditions, and tolerates both hot and humid summer months. Since it's naturally compact, it does well in mass plantings.

Just another Black-eyed Susan? Think again! This is an All America Selections 2020 Herbaceous Perennial Trial winner. It has excellent disease resistance, especially to Septoria Leaf Spot. Consider American Gold Rush to be an upgrade to traditional Black-eyed Susans.

Lacette™ Fragrant Sumac

Johnson's Nursery Origination, Lacette™ Fragrant Sumac was selected by local plant propagtor Mike Yanny for its dense, mounded habit, refined texture, and better mite resistance compared to other Sumacs. Like its parent Rhus aromatica, this shrub is tolerant of the toughest sites and will perform well in parking lots and embankments. Because Lacette™ has an extremely high wildlife and pollinator value, we’re expecting great things from this interesting, full sun, shrub.

Now available to the public! Lacette™ was released in 2019, but only to partners for trialing. After receiving rave reviews, we're bringing nearly 100 plants in stock this season. It's not a huge crop and they will likely go fast, but we welcome Lacette™ to the world along the other Johnson's Nursery Originations.

Raspberry Spear® Crabapple

Crabapples (Malus spp.) are one of the most diverse plant groups, offering cultivars with different heights, shapes/habits, and flower colors. Raspberry Spear® joins the team as a magenta flowering, purple-leaf, extremely upright variety with excellent apple scab and fire blight resistance - two common pests/problems to all crabapples. Although not a true native, crabapples are known for their wildlife value across the board, and we guarantee the same from Raspberry Spear®.

Only a handful of nurseries were given access to Raspberry Spear® in 2020. The availability of this plant will be tight this year, and our stock is expected to sell out quickly. Crabapples continue to remain popular!

Blackhawks Big Bluestem

A second introduction by local propagator, Brent Horvath from Intrinsic Perennial Gardens makes the list! This is an upright selection of our Wisconsin native Big Bluestem characterized by its vertical habit, dark green foliage with purple-red tips in late summer, and deep purple fall color. In winter, the sturdy stems turn tan making Blackhawks Big Bluestem an all-season interest ornamental grass. Of interesting note are the darker color seeds, which indicates they may contain more Anthocyanins. We're excited to see how palatable the seeds are to wildlife.

Named after the NHL team for our neighbor's to the south, Blackhawks Big Bluestem is slightly more compact than other cultivars and will be useful in urban sites with poor soils.

Firebird® Crabapple

A Johnson's Nursery Origination, Firebird® Crabapple is one of the most popular crabapples in our region. We've been growing this sweet smelling snow-white flower crabapple for years. The fruiting qualities of Firebird® are superior to all other small-scale crabapples. Its tiny ruby-red crabapples provide color into late winter.

So, what's changed? The availability of these plants in containers. The interest of homeowners and wholesale customers alike is undeniable. While we continue to field-grow these plants for those who want larger, more mature sizes, the new availability of container-grown Firebird® Crabapples will give more people access to this staple of ornamental landscapes.

White Prairie Clover

This eco-beneficial perennial is a long bloomer that boasts importance in restoring native ecosystems. There are a few Wisconsin natives that are all-around powerhouses, and qualities like low maintenance, fragrant, and long blooming set it apart from the crowd. Also, it attracts a range of wildlife and pollinators. The nectar attracts bees and butterflies, the seeds are desirable to birds, and its high protein content and sweet taste attracts mammals of all sizes. This plants ability to fix nitrogen proves its vital role in restoration areas such as repopulating native grasslands.

A new Wisconsin native? How can a native plant be new? Well, technically it's not new; it's just returning to our inventory. Some plants are released every few years, and like we encourage diversity in our inventory, you should encourage diversity in your landscape. This rock star is back on stage in 2020!

Violet Uprising

An origination new for 2020 from Johnson's Nursery & J.N Plant Selections (Mike Yanny). Violet Uprising™ shines as a fragrant hedge and is ideal along property lines or to create ‘rooms’ in your landscape. It's especially well-suited to formal landscapes, although you can also use it as a vertical accent near a three-seasons room or patio where you’ll be able to enjoy its spring fragrance. Like all lilacs, Violet Uprising™ will attract butterflies and hummingbirds with its intoxicating flowers, but unlike other lilacs, it boasts upright branching and more profuse flowering.

Be ready to snag this rising superstar for your landscape soon. It will go quickly. Violet Uprising™ Lilac is a seedling selection of Miss Kim Lilac made by Mike Yanny. After years of trial and observation, the plant is ready to bring to market for its tidy upright habit, good fall color, and excellent flowering.