Plant of the Year designation

The Wisconsin Nursery and Landscape Association’s Plant of the Year

Every year, the Wisconsin Nursery and Landscape Association brings forward top notch but underused plants in an effort to focus the public’s attention on plants that they feel should be used more often in the landscape. These are plants that have not been widely recognized or used, usually because of a lack of formal marketing, but whose characteristics make them fantastic additions to any landscape. Since 2001, the WNLA Plant of the Year program has been bringing beautiful plants to our attention.

Each year, members of the WNLA Plant of the Year committee start the process by getting together for an appraisal of plants that have been suggested by members for consideration for the title. They also add   their own favorites to the mix. They discuss and analyze a number of candidates from each of the two categories-- the woody ornamental category, which includes evergreens, deciduous shrubs and shade trees, and the herbaceous perennial category.  Each person on the committee carefully outlines a plant’s attributes using personal observations, field experience, and their own extensive knowledge of the plants, and compares notes to determine what four plants from each category should be placed on a ballot.

The line up of candidates is examined during a Winter Workshop presentation, with the traits of the four offerings from each category outlined for attendees along with pictures of each plant. Ballots are handed out and attendees cast their vote. The votes are tallied and the winners of the WNLA Plant of the Year are announced before the Workshop is done. The winning plants are voted on and selected two years prior, to ensure growers have enough time to acquire the plants.

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