Ornamental Plant Research

Ornamental Plant Research

Sustainable landscaping practices are promoted through Garden initiatives to identify and develop plants best suited to Midwest gardens. Serving as an optimal outdoor laboratory, the Ellis Goodman Family Foundation Green Roof Garden South is supporting national research to better understand the response of plant communities to extreme growing conditions.

Plant Breeding

The Garden’s plant breeding program develops new perennial plants for introduction to the horticulture industry and gardeners alike. Focusing mostly on North American native plants, the program strives to develop novel hybrids with superior ornamental traits, cold hardiness, disease resistance, heat and drought tolerance and other adaptations to the rigors of midwestern and comparable gardening habitats. Any plants developed by the program that pass evaluation are introduced through the Garden’s collaborative Chicagoland Grows® plant introduction program.

Plant Evaluation

The goal of the program is to determine, through scientific evaluation, which plants are superior for gardens in the Upper Midwest. Plants are rated on ornamental qualities, cultural adaptability, winter hardiness, and disease and pest resistance. It is the intent of the program to study and recommend plants that are readily available in area nurseries. Study results are published and reported to both the professional industry and the gardening public.

Chicagoland Grows® Plant Introduction

The Chicagoland Grows® Plant Introduction Program is a unique partnership among the Chicago Botanic Garden, The Morton Arboretum, and the Ornamental Growers Association of Northern Illinois (OGA), dedicated to developing, selecting, testing, and marketing a diversity of plants from landscape trees to shrubs, perennials, and grasses, all well adapted to midwestern and equivalent landscapes.

Perennial plants developed at the Chicago Botanic Garden, trees and shrubs developed at The Morton Arboretum, and other landscape plants developed by regional plant breeders provide the program with a pipeline of new landscape plants for the horticulture industry and home gardeners alike.

In the fall of 2022, Plants Nouveau joined the partnership to handle all marketing efforts for Chicagoland Grows, such as promoting our introductions at trade shows, conferences, and to potential and existing licensees.