Is there any better way to express your love of plants than to devote your life to the science of gardening? That's exactly what the students and professors in the Department of Plant Sciences at North Dakota State University do! They're involved in every aspect of garden cultivation, from landscape design and management to new crop technology. They even engineer newer, bigger, and better varieties of our favorite plants.
Don't worry; we understand that many of us are quite content with gardening as a hobby. Not everyone wants to make horticulture their career, but that doesn't mean you can't use the NDSU's work to your advantage! We've picked some of the best new varieties and hybrids developed by NDSU that will thrive in your garden:
This bright honeylocust features fresh, green foliage during the summer, which matures to a gorgeous, golden yellow in autumn. Its pinnate and bi-pinnate leaves provide a lovely, lacy texture, adding both elegance and dappled shade to your landscape. While the trunks and stems of native honeylocust trees are covered in thorns, cultivated varieties such as this are thornless, making them much safer additions to your landscape. Although this cultivar doesn't produce seeds, it does display small, fragrant, yellow flowers during spring-great for attracting bees!
Not only is 'Northern Acclaim' drought-tolerant, but it's also more cold-hardy than other varieties. Its hardiness makes it the perfect choice for withstanding our chilly winters here in Bismarck. This honeylocust has a pretty fast growth rate, as long as you plant it in ideal conditions-full sun and well-drained soil.
Alder trees, prized for their glossy, green leaves and interesting bark, are well-known for their tolerance to wet conditions. This is great for gardeners near bogs and riverbanks, but it also means that alders don't generally thrive in the drier soils found on the plains. Luckily, our friends at NDSU have evaluated 'Prairie Horizon' as the most drought-tolerant alder on the market! It carries the same lush, dark green leaves and rapid growth rate, but without the need to keep its roots in the river. Enjoy its golden yellow fall foliage and signature purple catkins that add visual interest well into winter.
With small, textured foliage, compact size, and profuse blooms in a wide range of colors, potentillas have always been a versatile shrub for any garden. 'Dakota Sunspot' is a new cultivar, and perhaps one of our favorites! This compact, dwarf variety features bright green, cinquefoil leaves, meaning there are five, small leaflets that make up a single, compound leaf. As one of the most profuse-blooming cultivars, you can rely on 'Dakota Sunspot' for dependable, long-term color. In fact, its large, golden, five-petaled flowers bloom from spring until the first frost of fall!
Like all potentillas, this cultivar blooms best when placed in full sun. It should have no trouble surviving the winter, as it's pretty cold hardy, but watch for mildew and fungal leaf spots during humid weather.
Unlike other white birch trees, whose ascending branches grow in more of an open form, 'Dakota Pinnacle' grows in an attractive, narrow, columnar-to-pyramidal shape. It features dark green summer foliage that transition to a golden yellow in fall, brightening your late-season landscape. The characteristic smooth white birch bark features some exfoliation at maturity.
We're excited about this birch, not only for its unique shape but also because it's much more adaptable than other varieties. It grows comfortably in full sun to part shade and can thrive in either dry or moist locations. It tolerates urban pollution, strong winds, and even has some resistance to the bronze birch borer.
Extremely tolerant to both drought and cold, this updated pine is perfect for our climate in North Dakota. Plus, it's as boldly beautiful as it is hardy! It's tall, narrow form, upward branching, and dense foliage make this pine a statement piece at the very least. The striking, emerald green-blue needles add year-round value, but are especially eye-catching against the winter snow. Plant this pine in a location with well-draining soils and lots of sunlight for best growth and disease-resistance.
Planting shrubs and trees that are hardy and adaptable to North Dakota's frigid winters and hot summers is essential for cultivating a flourishing landscape. Luckily, horticulturists in our own backyard are always creating new and improved cultivars, widening our selection of plants with bigger (or smaller!), better, and more beautiful options! If you're interested in adding some newly-cultivated plants to your garden, drop into Plant Perfect, our garden center in Bismarck. We'd love to show you our own favorite varieties, too!