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Choice Plants

Plants for a Better World from the JC Raulston Arboretum

Choice Plants are superior selections of new and underused plants for the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic from the JC Raulston Arboretum landscape trials. Plants are chosen for their adaptability, beauty, and overall garden worth and are grown by local nurseries in a collaborative effort between the Johnston County Nursery Marketing Association and the JCRA. The first selections debuted in fall 2012. More selections will be added regularly to this line of exceptional garden plants. As the famed J. C. Raulston reminded us, "Plan—and Plant for a Better World."

Current Choice Plants Selections

Magnolia 'Serendipity'

Evergreen Magnolia

Magnolia 'Serendipity'

'Serendipity' is a beautiful, rounded, large shrub or small tree with dark green foliage and an amazing display of creamy white, spring flowers. It makes a rounded plant without pruning but can be grown more upright if trained.

Callicarpa american 'Welch's Pink'

Holly Tea-olive

Osmanthus heterophyllus 'Kaori Hime'

Fragrant Princess is a beautiful evergreen shrub with tiny, holly-like leaves. It forms a dense, upright shrub without any pruning although it can be sheared to a desired size and shape. Intensely fragrant white flowers are born in fall.

Buxus sempervirens 'Unraveled'

Weeping Common Boxwood

Buxus microphylla var. japonica


This tough but elegant shrub makes a definite statement in the landscape where the branches weep gracefully for a very "un-boxy" boxwood. It grows in full sun to shade and is exceptionally drought tolerant and deer resistant. Perfect for containers, specimens, or massing on a hillside.

Callicarpa american 'Welch's Pink'

Pink American Beautyberry

Callicarpa americana 'Welch's Pink'

'Welch's Pink' is a beautiful native shrub with gorgeous pink fruit from late summer into winter. The fruits follow puffy masses of small, pink, summer flowers and attract birds. Grow in ordinary garden soil to wet soils.

Cercis chinensis 'Kay's Early Hope'

Chinese Redbud

Cercis chinensis 'Kay's Early Hope'

This redbud, named for NC State's incomparable women's basketball coach Kay Yow, begins flowering by early March and continues until May. Lavender-pink flowers absolutely cover the stems before the heart-shaped leaves appear.

Viburnum obovatum 'Mrs. Schiller's Delight'

Dwarf Viburnum

Viburnum obovatum 'Raulston Hardy'

'Raulston Hardy' is a tough but beautiful native plant for any garden. It makes a small, neat mound without any pruning and is topped in spring with masses of white flowers. Very drought tolerant once established.

Other Introductions

Viburnum odoratissimum var. awabuki 'Chindo'

Sweet Viburnum

Viburnum odoratissimum var. awabuki 'Chindo'

'Chindo' is a JC Raulston Arboretum selection with lustrous, waxy, dark green leaves, 3"–7" long. White flowers on rounded cymose panicles in spring are followed by bright red fruit in large clusters later in the season. A fine choice for an evergeen hedge or small tree.