JANESVILLE - The Wisconsin Nursery and Landscape Association (WNLA) announced its 2018 Plants of the Year. They were selected as the Plants of the Year at the Wisconsin Nursery and Landscape Association’s annual membership meeting and workshop.

Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Donna May’ PP 22,634 (Little Devil™ Ninebark) has been chosen as the Woody Ornamental Plant of the Year.  

You can trust the Little Devil™ Ninebark to bring beauty to the landscape every time, on its own. It stays compact without the need for pruning, growing to 3’ tall and 3’ wide, and sports blush-pink flowers in spring, fine textured burgundy foliage in summer, and glowing gold and red color in fall. It is mildew resistant and is adaptable to wet or dry soil in zones 3 to 7. And there’s no need to worry about fighting pests or diseases with the Little Devil™ Ninebark—they are not an issue.

Professor David Zlesak of UW-River Falls is to thank for this remarkable plant. It is part of the Bailey Nurseries’ First Editions®.  

The Perennial Plant of the Year is Sporobolus heterolepis (Prairie Dropseed).  An ornamental grass that provides rich green mounds of color to sunny, hot, dry areas, Prairie Dropseed has fine-textured foliage that is resistant to deer, insects, disease, drought, and air pollution.  And Prairie Dropseed tolerates black walnut trees, thriving in any kind of soil you give it, in zones 3 to 9. In late summer, 3’ tall stems with small pink and brown flowers appear, giving color to the border, foundation, or prairie it adorns.    

The Wisconsin Nursery and Landscape Association’s Plant of the Year Program was initiated in 2002 to promote quality – and underused – plants to the public. Two categories were created to consider all plants:  the Woody Ornamental category, which includes deciduous trees, evergreens, vines, deciduous shrubs and shade trees, and the Perennial category, which includes herbaceous perennials, sub shrubs, grasses, and ferns.

Each year, members of the WNLA Plant of the Year committee convene to discuss and analyze a collection of plants, narrowing down a field of top notch contenders to just four in each of the two categories.  The outstanding characteristics of those eight plants are then presented to all who attend the Wisconsin Nursery and Landscape Association’s Summer Field Day & Trade Show each August.  Attendees consider the candidates and vote for their favorites.  The winners are voted on and selected two years before they are presented to the public, to ensure that growers have enough time to build up their stock.  
The Wisconsin Nursery and Landscape Association (WNLA) serves the Green industry and its 200 plus members, which include growers, landscapers, and industry suppliers. WNLA is celebrating its 100th Anniversary with events in 2018.


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