Nursery Crop Extension Research
Nursery Crop Extension Research

Theodore Klein Plant Awards

Theodore Klein Plant Awards

Theodore Klein Plant Awards

Theodore Klein

In 1995 a plant award program to select and promote outstanding ornamental woody and perennial plants for Kentucky Landscapes was initiated. The plant awards are named to honor the late Theodore Klein, Yew Dell Nursery, Crestwood, KY (photo by Mike Hayman) and selected by The Kentucky Theodore Plant Award Committee, an independent committee, that is sponsored by: the University of Kentucky Nursery/Landscape ProgramYew Dell Gardens, the Kentucky Nursery and Landscape Association, and the Kentucky Department of Agriculture "Kentucky Proud" program .

The goals of the Kentucky Theodore Klein Plant Award program are: to promote enthusiasm for and interest in plants among gardeners; to encourage development of new cultivars and hybrids by Kentucky Nurserymen; to increase the recognition, reputation, and profitability of the Kentucky nursery and landscape industries.

Plants are selected based on the following criteria. The plants nominated for consideration must be able to: be efficiently propagated and produced; be found established in Kentucky and at least two good examples of the plant be established within driving distance of a majority of the Kentucky population; and be pest resistant. Plants hybridized, selected, or introduced by Kentuckians will be given priority.

Plants are selected for promotion to the gardening public. The Kentucky Theodore Klein Plant Award winners are announced by Yew Dell Gardens, industry and gardening publications, popular press and HortMemo.

For more information about Theodore Klein visit:

Current members of the Theodore Klein Plant Award Selection Committee

Paul Cappiello, Yew Dell Gardens, Crestwood
Ben Cecil, Riverfarm Nursery, Goshen

Winston Dunwell, University of Kentucky, UKREC, Princeton
Steve Foltz, Cincinnati Zoo and Botanic Gardens, Ohio
Mike Hayman, Seneca Gardens, Plea For The Trees:Louisville
Tony Nold, Horticulture Design and Development/Plant Kingdom, Louisville (St. Matthews)
Kristopher Stone, Boone County Arboretum

Mary Vaananen, Jellito Seeds
Tracy Williams, Greensleeves, Landscape Designer
Richard Weber, Springhouse Gardens, Landscape Architect, Garden Center, The Barn

Founding members of the Theodore Klein Plant Award Selection Committee

Winston Dunwell, UKCAFE Dept of Horticulture
Richard Fiest, Hummingbird Nursery
Steve Foltz, Cincinnati Zoo
Mike Hayman, Louisville Courier Journal, Seneca Gardens
Buddy Hubbuch, retired Bernheim Arboretum Chief Horticulturist
Kathy Lowrey, TKPA Chairman, Lowrey Perennial Farm
Melvin Moffitt, Snow Hill Nursery
Tony Nold, Horticulture Design and Development
Dennis Raymond, Raymond Landscape Nursery
Casey Schott, KNLA President when the TKPA was founded, Leichhardt Landscape Company

Award Winners

Cornus kousa ‘Greensleeves’
Callicarpa dichotoma
Diervilla Kodiak® Series
Pycnanthemum muticum
Helianthus angustifolius ‘First Light’
Tiarella cordifolia ‘Running Tapestry’

For descriptions see

Aralia cordata ‘Sun King’ - Golden Spiknard

Hakonechloa macra ‘All Gold’ - Golden Japanese Forest

Pulmonaria ‘Trevi Fountain’ - Blue Lungwort

Abelia mosanensis - Fragrant Abelia

Diospyros virginiana - Common Persimmon

Maackia amurensis - Amur Maackia

Athyrium hybrid ‘Ghost’ Lady Fern

Japanese Painted fern (A. niponicum 'Pictum') and Lady Fern (A. filix-femina) selected by Nancy Swell

Penstemon hybrid ‘Dark Towers’ Beardtongue (PP 20,013)

Carex oshimensis EverColor® Series Sedge Selections

Spiraea thunbergii ‘Ogon’ Thunberg Spiraea

Quercus warei ‘Nadler’ Kindred Spirit® Oak (#PP17604)

Hydrangea arborescens 'NCHA2' Invincibelle® Spirit II (#PP28,316)

There were no plants selected for Kentucky's 2018 Theodore Klein Plant Award  

Acer miyabei  State Street™, ‘Morton’

Cephalotaxus harringtonia 'Duke Gardens' – “muffin plant”, “deer proof”

Heliopsis helianthoides var. scabra 'Sommersonne' SUMMERSUN and ‘Summer Nights’

Ophiopogon umbraticola 'Sparkler'

Thuja plicata ‘Green Giant’

Quercus coccinea – Scarlet Oak

2017 Theodore Klein Plant Award Poster

Abelia Cultivars - Canyon Creek and others

Acer saccharum cultivars - Bonfire™ (PP 3,817), Commemoration® (PP 5,079), Fall Fiesta™ 'Bailsta', Green Mountain® (PP 2,339), Legacy® (PP 4,979)

Carex ‘Ice Dance’ 

Carpinus caroliana new cultivars like Native Flame®, Ball O’Fire™ (‘J.N. Globe’), FireSpire™ (J.N. Upright), and ‘J. N. Strain’

Cephalanthus occidentalis cultivars - ButtonBush cultivars Sugar Shack® (Spring Meadow-Proven Winner), Sputnik™ (‘Bieberich’, pink blush), Magical® Moonlight (Plant Nouveau)

Paeonia itoh cultivars

Contact Information

N-318 Ag. Science Center North Lexington, KY 40546-0091