Theodore Klein Plant Awards


Below you’ll find the Shrubs that have received the honor of “Theodore Klein Plant Award” in alphabetical order based on its Latin name.

Abelia mosanensis
Fragrant Abelia

Large, upright arching shrub best known for sweetly fragrant masses of light pink flowers and stunning yellow/orange/red fall color. This is a durable and adaptable shrub as long as it has sufficient space to grow.

Abelia x grandiflora
'Canyon Creek'

A tough as nails shrub that is grown for its spring and summer crops of lightly fragrant, pink/white trumpet-shaped flowers, compact growth and foliage that emerges coppery and then fades to a golden yellow. Drought tolerant, deer resistant and easy to grow.

Acer palmatum var dissectum
Japanese Maple

An excellent collection of superior performing sugar maple selections, these will all create upright rounded shade trees with uniform outline, attractive, scaly gray bark and brilliant red/orange fall foliage color. Best on a good quality soil with adequate moisture.

Aesculus parviflora
Bottlebrush Buckeye

A large, colonizing shrub known for its late spring/early summer spikes of clear white flowers and excellent yellow fall foliage color. It is easy to grow, adaptable to a wide range of soils, has few pest and disease problems and makes a long-lived and trouble free specimen in the garden. Best in light shade but will take full sun with adequate soil moisture. An excellent pollinator plant – particularly attractive to bumble bees and butterflies.

The variety serrotina is a form that flowers about 2 weeks later and has longer flower spikes compared to the straight species. ‘Rogers’ is the best known cultivar of this variety.

Callicarpa dichotoma
Japanese Beauty Berry

3’ x 3’ shrub best known for its brilliant, amethyst-colored fruit that color up in late summer and last through the fall. Bright green foliage sets off delicate pink/white flowers on branch tips in mid-summer. Best in full sun to light shade. Deer resistant.

Calycanthus floridus
Carolina Allspice

An outstanding, eastern North American native shrub for bright sun to filtered light that is best known for its early summer blooms of deep maroon/mahogany. Medium green summer foliage turns bright golden in fall. Favored cultivars include Allen Bush selection ‘Michael Lindsey’(with deep green, glossy summer foliage and heavy flower production, and ‘Athens’, the Michael Dirr selection with chartreuse flowers. 

Fragrance is variable but the best forms emit a delicate scent variously described as strawberry to lime. Crushed stems have a distinct lime fragrance as well. There is a botanical variety – C. floridus var atropurpureus – that has been around the trade for years. Richard Hartline of Pleasant Run Nursery selected a dark foliaged seedling of this variety and patented it under the name ‘Burgundy Spice’. It has stunning, deep burgundy foliage and typical color flowers. It has not caught on in the trade presumably due to propagation difficulties.

Calycanthus Hybrids
’Aphrodite’, 'Hartlage Wine'

‘Aphrodite’ (C. chinensis x C. occidentalis) and ‘Hartlage Wine’ (C. chinensis x C. floridus) are outstanding crosses that feature late spring to early summer, fragrant, flowers in deep red with small yellow markings. Excellent for full sun or light shade in about any reasonable soil. Durable, adaptable, and easy to grow.

‘Hartlage Wine’ was the first hybrid of a North American (C. floridus) and Asian (C. sinensis) species and was developed by Richard Hartlage while working under JC Raulston at NC State University. ‘Aphrodite’ parentage replaces ‘Hartlage Wine’s C. floridus with the west coast native C. occidentalis. While both are outstanding large shrubs, ‘Aphrodite’ usually gets the nod by virtue of its tendency to produce multiple flowers per stem tip rather than the typical single bloom of ‘Hartlage Wine’.

Cephalotaxus harringtonia
Chinese Plum Yew
'Duke Gardens'

Outstanding evergreen shrub with deep green needles and a rounded shape. Tolerates heavy pruning althogh plants are best left unpruned for best performance. One of the most cold tolerant and more compact and uniform in growth of the Cephalotaxus cultivars. Slow growing but long lived and durable plant.

Cephalanthus occidentalis
Magical® Moonlight (‘Kolmoon’)

This excellent Kentucky native is one of our favorite pollinator shrubs, offering up honey-scented, golf ball sized flowers in late spring and glossy green summer foliage. This selection is more compact than the straight species, topping out at about 5’ tall and wide. It will tolerate everything from sopping wet soil to drought conditions.

Cephalanthus occidentalis
Button Bush
Magical® Moonlight (Plant Nouveau)

One of the most adaptable of our native shrubs, button bush produces spherical, fragrant white blooms about 1.5″ in diameter. Glossy summer foliage turns a clear golden yellow in fall. Excellent pollinator plant and adaptable from dry soils to sites with standing water.

Cephalotaxus harringtonia
Chinese Plum Yew
'Duke Gardens'

Outstanding evergreen shrub with deep green needles and a rounded shape. Tolerates heavy pruning althogh plants are best left unpruned for best performance. One of the most cold tolerant and more compact and uniform in growth of the Cephalotaxus cultivars. Slow growing but long lived and durable plant.

Clethra alnifolia

This delightful North American native shrub is covered in late spring/early summer with sweetly fragrant, white flower spikes that are covered with a long list of pollinators. Bright golden fall foliage adds a nice touch in autumn. Likes a soil with reasonable moisture and performs best in full sun to light shade. The straight species grows to about 6′ tall x 6′ wide but ‘Hummingbird’ is a more compact selection that matures at around 3’x3′.

‘Ruby Spice’ is one of the best pink flowered selections of the species.

Cornus mas
Cornelian Cherry Dogwood
'Golden Glory'

Known as an excellent small garden tree for early color, Cornelian Cherry Dogwood produces masses of bright yellow flowers in early to mid spring followed by dark red cherry-like, edible fruit. Mature plants grow to about 20′ tall and wide but the selection ‘Golden Glory’ tends to be more upright in shape and is a very heavy bloomer.

Corylopsis spicata
Spike Winterhazel

Delightful, delicate textured shrub for full sun or part shade. Spring flowers produced in short pendulous strands in a pale chartreuse color. Fall foliage color is a clear yellow. Easy to grow and few pests. The blooms make excellent cut flowers to bring inside early in the garden year.

Bush Honeysuckle
Kodiak® Series

North American native shrubs to 3-4’ tall and wide that are best known for their spring and fall foliage colors. The Kodiak© Red, Orange, and Black selections all offer disease (and deer) resistant foliage and delicate yellow summer blooms. Plants are tolerant of full sun or light shade and perform well on any reasonable soil.

Fargesia rufa
Clumping Bamboo
'Green Panda'

This 6’x6’ bamboo is a clumping grower that won’t spread in the landscape. A graceful, fountain-like grower, it prefers part shade, moderate moisture and is highly pest resistant.

Fothergilla x grandiflora
'Mount Airy'

This large, deciduous shrub is known for its spring crops of honey-scented, white bottle brush flowers and fiery fall color of yellow, orange and red. It performs best in full sun with adequate soil moisture but will perform well in light shade although with somewhat reduced flowering and fall foliage color. ‘Mt Airy’ is an excellent selection with uniform and vigorous growth and heavy flower production.

Hamamelis x intermedia

The winter flowering, hybrid witchhazels offer sweetly fragrant, showy flowers in winter, ranging from yellow to orange, red and even purple and often excellent fall foliage color. They are tremendously adaptable plants that are at home in full sun (where they show best flowering and fall foliage color) or light shade in any reasonable soil. There are scores of cultivars selected for particular flower color and timing.

Hydrangea arborescens
Smooth Hydrangea
'NCHA2' Invincibelle® Spirit II

A wonderful, deep pink flowered form of our Kentucky native hydrangea. Flowers on new growth so it blooms even after winter pruning. Excellent 3’ tall option for full sun or light shade and most soils.

Hydrangea quercifolia
Oakleaf Hydrangea
‘Pee Wee’ ‘Ruby Slippers’ ‘Munchkin’ Little Honey™

Large, North American native deciduous shrub with bold, leathery leaves and creamy white flowers. Excellent, red/burgundy fall foliage. Best in light shade with adequate soil moisture. This is a highly variable species with some selections maturing at 4′ tall and wide and others growing to 15′ or more in height and width. An easy to grow and long lived shrub.

St John's Wort
'CCFLPC-1' Blue Velvet TM

This compact grower offers sunny yellow flowers in late spring and early summer on brilliant blue-green summer foliage. It is highly disease resistant and easy to grow. Blue Velvet is extremely drought tolerant once established and will grow well on poor soils. Selected by Dr. Paul Cappiello of Yew Dell Botanical Gardens

Ilex verticillata
Winterberry Holly
'Red Sprite'

The winterberry hollies are stars of the fall and winter landscape with female selections producing massive crops of fire engine red fruits that hang on for a long time. Ranging in size from 3′ to more than 10′ (depending on cultivar) this deciduous shrub species will handle any soil from consistently wet to slightly dry. It is easy to grow, has few pests and offers birds a loved food source in winter. ‘Red Sprite’ is one of the smaller female selections, maturing at about 4′ tall and wide with large fruits. Requires a male pollinator.

Itea virginica
Virginia Sweetspire
'Henry's Garnet'

A vigorous, spreading shrub with upright arching stems bearing clear white flowers in late spring. In fall, the foliage develops a brilliant, scarlet color that lasts through much of the fall. A tough, durable and drought tolerant species although best flowering and fall color on a soil with reasonable moisture. ‘Henry’s Garnet’ is a selection for superior, bright red fall foliage color.

‘Little Henry’ is similar but about 2/3 size of ‘Henry’s Garnet’

Lagerstromia hydrids.
Crepe Myrtle
Examples: ‘Acoma’, Kiowa', ‘Hopi’, 'Nachez'

The Crepe Myrtle selections developed by the late Dr. Don Egolf (US National Arboretum) are among the most cold hardy and dependable available. They combine great vigor, heavy flowering and attractive exfoliating bark. Plant in full sun and avoid wet soils for best performance. Acoma, Kiowa and Natchez are white flowered while Hopi produces pink flowers.

Lespedeza thunbergii
Bush Clover

This large, arching shrub is an excellent late summer bloomer for the sunny or partly shaded border. It is drought tolerant, pest resistant and can be grown as a woody shrub or annually cut back to the ground since it flowers on new growth. Rose/pink flowers cover the plant in late summer/early fall.

Lindera angustifolia
Oriental Spice Bush

Stunning and durable large shrub best known for its brilliant red and orange fall foliage color. Excellent for screening or as an accent specimen. Long lived, adaptable and deer proof.

Formerly listed as Lindera glauca var. salicifolia

Lindera benzoin
Spice Bush

This large woodland shrub is grown for its subtle spring flowers of yellow/green and summer/fall red fruit. It is the preferred host to the spicebush swallowtail butterfly. An excellent choice for sun or dappled shade and is tolerant of a wide range of soils.

Physocarpus opulifolius
Common Ninebark
'Seward' , Summer Wine™

This almost indestructible shrub is a standout for the summer garden. Mahogany foliage is deeper and holds its color better than other varieties. Pink/white late spring flowers offer excellent contrast and are attractive to a wide range of pollinators.

Spiraea thunbergii
Thunberg Spiraea

A gold foliaged spin on a classic shrub. Growing to 5’ tall and 6’ wide with delicately textured, soft yellow leaves, it works great in full sun to light shade and most soils. Tiny white flowers cover the stems in early spring. Deer resistant.


This US National Arboretum introduction makes a dense, compact shrub with leathery, semi-evergreen leaves and creamy white snowball-like spring masses of flowers. Tolerant of a wide range of growing conditions, this is a highly adaptable shrub that will fit in many landscapes.

Viburnum carlesii
Korean Spice Viburnum
'Select S' (Sugar ‘n SpiceTM), ‘Compactum’, ‘Aurora’

This dense-growing shrub is best known for intensely fragrant flowers that start dark pink/red in bud and open to white. Slightly fuzzy, medium green summer foliage turns to shades of wine, red and orange. Drought tolerant once established and easy to grow. ‘Compactum’ grows to 3’-4’ tall and wide with smaller, white blooms. Sugar ‘n SpiceTM was selected for smaller but more numerous blooms. ‘Aurora’ has very deep red flower buds and is an RHS Award of Garden Merit winner.

Viburnum nudum

A large, deciduous shrub grown for late spring, creamy white flowers, showy masses of fall fruit and glowing, maroon fall foliage color. It is adaptable to a wide range of conditions from full sun to light shade, is an excellent pollinator plant when in bloom and the fruit crops are favored by many bird species. Tolerant of very wet soils. The selection ‘Winterthur’ has improved fall color and fruit set compared to the straight species.

Viburnum x burkwoodii

‘Mohawk’ has long been one of the gold standards of fragrant garden shrubs. This outstanding selection will grow to approximately 7’ tall and wide with dark glossy green summer foliage, changing to a rich red-orange in autumn. In spring, rich cherry-red flower buds put on a display for 10-14 days before opening to gleaming white, spicy scented, snowball-like blooms.

Viburnum x burkwoodii

Broad spreading, compact shrub with clear white spring flowers, glossy dark green summer foliage that turns dark green/burgundy in fall/winter. Late summer fruit start red and gradually turn jet black. Easy to grow shrub with few pest/disease problems. Developed and introduced by the US National Arboretum.

Explore the other categories of plants that have been named recipients of the Theodore Klein Plant Awards:

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