The chicagoland Grows© plant introduction program - A model for success

J. Ault*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Botanic gardens and arboreta, as repositories of living plant collections, are increasingly initiating plant introduction programs as vehicles for marketing unusual and valuable ornamental plants from their collections. One such program is the Chicagoland Grows Plant Introduction Program, a corporate partnership between Chicago Botanic Garden, The Morton Arboretum, and the Ornamental Grower's Association of Northern Illinois (OGA), a network of nurseries located in northeastern Illinois. Established in 1986, Chicagoland Grows works collectively with industry professionals throughout North America (95 nurseries and six tissue culture labs in 23 states are licensed to propagate and grow the program's plants) to select, evaluate, produce and market new and recommended plant cultivars with proven performance under Northern growing conditions. From the collections of the partners and other sources ten trees and shrubs have been released, with eighteen more woody plants undergoing initial nursery production, and eighteen more plants (woody and herbaceous) being propagated for evaluation. New plants are initially evaluated by a group of gardens, universities, and municipalities, followed by production and field evaluations by cooperating nurseries. Once a plant's production figures reach a predetermined quota, it is released for promotion and open market sales. Plants are promoted through Plant Release Bulletins, a color flyer distributed to nurseries, landscape architects, and horticulture researchers; presentations at trade shows and professional plant society meetings; articles in trade magazines; booth exhibitions at trade shows; through the catalogs of the cooperating nurseries; and on the web sites of the corporate partners. The program structure includes an executive committee; an R & D committee that recommends new plants; and a production scheduling committee that assesses propagation protocols, tracks inventories, assigns cultivar and trade names, and release dates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationXXVI International Horticultural Congress
Subtitle of host publicationNursery Crops; Development, Evaluation, Production and Use
PublisherInternational Society for Horticultural Science
Number of pages6
ISBN (Print)9789066054974
StatePublished - Jan 14 2004

Publication series

NameActa Horticulturae
ISSN (Print)0567-7572


  • Arboretum
  • Botanic garden
  • Marketing
  • Ornamental plants

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Horticulture


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