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Plant nurseries and garden centers may only offer these plant selections below as a selected cultivar. They also will rotate their inventory to keep their stock” fresh”, so despite this list below being a list of plants that we see will perform well in the Greater Cincinnati region, these plants will not be consistently available. This list is intended for most Southwestern Ohio gardens having the prevailing conditions ideal for these plants. Other plants not mentioned will do well in the Greater Cincinnati area. Having the right microclimate and soil pH will give the gardener the opportunity to grow an Ericaceous garden full of Rhododendron, Mountain Laurel and Sourwood. Few such places exist here but so do bog and fen-like conditions that foster their plant communities.

One of our mottos is to put the right plant in the right place. Another proverb we offer is to install the planting green side up, meaning that it must be properly planted as it would be seen in a natural setting. Seeing the poor quality of some landscape plant installations rings true the second phrase. Nature sets the rules; a walk in the woods shows which plants best perform in each site (disregarding the colonized invasive plants). Looking at the Proper Plant Installation page, one will clearly see that nature does not provide for mulch mounded trees or trees that resemble a pole stuck in the ground (no visible root flare). Plants did not evolve to be incorporated with wire baskets burlap wrap designed only for their transport. 

We plant trees and shrubs in the Spring Grove landscape with the intention that they will be thriving in 100-years plus barring a natural catastrophe like a lightning strike or wind shear. 

Know your site conditions and select a plant accordingly. Install your planting using the practices expounded on the Proper Plant Installation page and follow through with correct pruning when needed and timely irrigation for the first couple years.  Maintain deer exclusion barriers and remove stake and guying when the plant roots have firmly anchored the tree. 

Plant the right tree in the right place for yourself and those who will see it after you have left. Record your planted tree with Taking Root, the campaign to restore Greater Cincinnati’s urban forest (

Native Plants

Canopy Deciduous Trees:

Upland drier sites in full sun:

  • White Oak (Quercus alba)
  • Bur Oak (Quercus macrocarpa)
  • Chinkapin Oak (Quercus muehlenbergii)
  • Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum)
  • Tulip Poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera)

Lowland wetter sites in full sun:

  • American Sycamore (Platanus occidentalis)
  • Yellow Buckeye (Aesculus flava)
  • American Elm (Ulmus americana ‘Jefferson’)
  • Black Gum or Tupelo (Nyssa sylvatica)
  • Swamp White Oak (Quercus bicolor)

Difficult sites in full sun:

  • Hackberry or Sugarberry (Celtis occidentalis, C. laevis)
  • Thornless Common Honeylocust (Gleditsia triacanthos var. Inermis)
  • Red Maple (Acer rubrum)
  • Cottonwood (Populus deltoides)
  • Osage Orange (Maclura pomifera)*

Understory Trees in sun or shade except where noted:

  • Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis)
  • Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida) afternoon shade
  • Pawpaw (Asimina triloba
  • American Hornbeam (Carpinus caroliniana)
  • American Hophornbeam (Osytra virginiana)
  • Ohio Buckeye (Aesculus glabra)

Deciduous shrubs in sun or shade except where noted:

  • Eastern Wahoo (Euonymus atropurpureus)
  • Spicebush (Lindera benzoin) shade or filtered light
  • Arrowwood Viburnum (Viburnum dentatum)
  • Common Ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius
  • Witchhazel (Hamamelis spp.) shade or filtered light

Tall Evergreen Trees in sun and well-drained soil:

  • Eastern Redcedar (Juniperus virginiana
  • American Holly (Ilex opaca)* separate male and female plants
  • Eastern White Pine (Pinus strobus)*
  • Eastern Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis)*
  • Western Cedar, Western Arborvitae (Thuja plicata)*

Evergreen Shrubs in sun and well-drained soil:

  • Eastern Redcedar shrub form (Juniperus virginiana ‘Grey Owl’)

Naturalized and Non-native Plants

  • Cedar of Lebanon (Cedrus libani)
  • Oriental Spruce (Picea orientalis)
  • Nordmann Fir (Abies nordmanniana)
  • Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba) very tolerant of poor sites
  • Katsuratree (Ceridiphyllum japonicum)
  • Japanese Pagodatree (Styphnolobium japonicum)
  • Hardy Rubber Tree (Eucommia ulmoides)
  • Japanese Zelkova (Zelkova serrata)

Flowering trees

  • Japanese Snowbell (Styrax japonicus)
  • Japanese Tree Lilac (Syringa reticulata var. reticulata)
  • Flower Crabapple (Malus spp.)
  • Panicled Goldenraintree (Koelreutaria paniculata)

Flowering shrubs:

  • Common Cherrylaurel (Prunus laurocerasus) protected site
  • Karens Azalea (Rhododendron ‘Karens’) part shade
  • P.J.M. Rhododendron (Rhododendron ‘P.J.M.’)
  • Common Crapemyrtle (Lagerstroemia indica) dwarf selections are less hardy
  • Flowering Quince (Chaenomeles speciosa)
  • Oakleaf Hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia) many selections available  

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