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New Plants on the Horizon

In recent years, the North Carolina Nursery and Landscape Association has partnered with NC State University and Star Roses & Plants to develop a “New Plant Program.”  The goal of this program is to benefit the green industry in North Carolina by introducing new plants with characteristics that are desirable for the consumer. These plants are also sustainable in the market and landscape. Each plant in this program has been developed with the oversight of Dr. Tom Ranney of NC State University, followed by thorough trialing and market studies by Star Roses and Plants. This program currently has placed 5 new plant varieties on the market with more in development. Carolina Sweetheart™ Cercis is the original plant in this program and has great potential as a variegated redbud.


I recently had the opportunity to attend a NCNLA New Plant Committee meeting at the Mountain Horticultural Crops Research and Extension Center in Mills River, NC where these new plants are being developed. On arrival we took a tour of the research station to see several potential varieties in development and then we were provided a marketing update on the varieties already released.  I believe that the future is bright for this program and the potential it has to benefit the green industry and the urban forest in NC.  With input from growers, landscapers, and other industry professionals this program can yield plants that can thrive in our ever-changing urban environment and also provide beauty.


To learn more about this program visit


Trey Warrick