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Oklaoma Proven! logo.jpgOklahoma Proven is a plant promotion program coordinated by faculty in the Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture at Oklahoma State University. The goal of the program is to recommend plants well-adapted for use across Oklahoma.




Shrub for 2019

Double Take series, Flowering Quince

Chaenomeles speciosa

Flowering quince in the Double Take™ series are hardy, deciduous shrubs reaching 4 to 5 feet high and at least as wide. Plants in the Double Take™ series produce a profusion of early spring double flowers that resemble camellias. This is a dense, broad-rounded, thornless, shrub. Bold double flowers (to 2” diameter) bloom before the leaves fully unfold in an early spring bloom and come in colors of scarlet, orange, pink, and peach. Plants do not produce fruit. Oval to oblong, glossy dark green leaves provide an attractive look through the summer. Prune lightly after blooms in spring when needed. Double Take™ flowering quince is very drought tolerant once established.

  • Exposure: Sun to part shade
  • Soil: tolerates wide variety of soils, but prefers well-drained.
  • Hardiness: USDA Zones 5-9.




Shrub for 2018

‘Little Volcano’ and ‘Gibraltar’

Lespedeza thunbergii subsp. thunbergii

Bush Clovers are hardy semi-woody, deciduous shrubs reaching 4 to 6 feet high and at least as wide with arching stems. In harsh winters it can die to the ground, but quickly comes back the following spring. Late winter, early spring pruning may be necessary to rejuvenate the plant. Flowers develop on new wood and are rosy-purple in late summer to early fall, which completely cover the plant. Bush Clovers perform well in sandy, infertile soil and are very drought tolerant once established; ideal drainage is essential.

‘Little Volcano’, a selection from Japan, is more upright with dark green foliage and red-purple flowers. Foliage turns golden after bloom in the fall. ‘Gibraltar’, found at the Gibraltar estate in Wilmington, DE, is a spectacular selection with long, arching stems also covered in rosy-purple flowers from late summer to early fall.

  • Exposure: Sun to part shade
  • Soil: tolerates poor, infertile soil; excellent drainage is essential
  • Hardiness: USDA Zone 6-10.




Shrub for 2017

Dwarf Palmetto

Sabal minor

Dwarf palmetto favors the wet alluvial soil in swamps and river bottoms in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and North Carolina and is the only member of the palm family native to Oklahoma. This very slow growing, ground-hugging rugged fan palm produces pale green or bluish fan-like, evergreen leaves atop spineless stems arising from a crown of underground roots reaching 4 to 6 feet high or more. Flowers are yellowish-white in late spring followed by edible black, BB-sized fruits that taste like dates.

Dwarf palmetto provides interest and variety to a damp, shaded place. Although this plant grows native in areas of high to moderate moisture, once established it is fairly drought tolerant. It is the most cold-tolerant Sabal. In the landscape it works well as a specimen plant, in mass plantings, or in containers.

  • Exposure: Sun, part shade (best in part shade)
  • Soil: Organically rich, moderately fertile, moist
  • Hardiness: USDA Zone 7-10.
2017 Sabal minor




Shrub for 2016

Color Guard Variegated Yucca

Yucca filamentosa 'Color Guard'

Yucca is virtually a stemless evergreen shrub native to the southeast. ‘Color Guard’ is a gold-centered, variegated form with upright sword-shaped leaves that provide striking architectural features to the garden. Flowering stalks arise in late spring from the center of the plant bearing long, terminal panicles of bell-shaped, nodding, fragrant, creamy white flowers. ‘Color Guard’ yucca is free of pests and is tolerant of dry areas. It is excellent in borders, xeriscape plantings, containers, and as an accent plant.

  • Exposure: Sun to part shade
  • Soil: Dry to medium, well-drained soil
  • Hardiness: USDA Zone 3-8.




Shrub for 2015

Barberry, columnar forms

Berberis thunbergii

Barberries are, in general, pretty tough and offer a wide variety of leaf color. The newest of forms are the columnar types of shrubs offering a vertical element in the landscape. These forms of barberry include the Rocket and Pillar series. Each offers upright, narrow plants in different foliage colors of golden, to red, and orange growing 3’ to 5’ high and not more than 2’ wide. Barberries prefer moist, well-drained soils, but are adaptable to a wide range of soils and once established can be quite drought tolerant. Barberry have no serious pest problems, and require very little maintenance making them excellent for the urban landscape. Grow columnar forms of barberry as a specimen, in groupings, in shrub borders, and as a foundation planting.

  • Exposure: Sun to part shade
  • Soil: Moist, well-drained
  • Hardiness: USDA Zone 3-8.




Shrub for 2014

‘Christom’ Blue Muffin®

Viburnum dentatum

Blue Muffin viburnum is a small, compact version of the native arrowwood viburnum growing about 3’ to 5’ high and just as wide. Blue Muffin prefers moist, well-drained soils, but is adaptable to a wide range of other soils. Established plants are somewhat drought tolerant, have no serious pest problems, and require very little maintenance making them excellent for the urban landscape. As with many viburnums, Blue Muffin offers season-long interest with white spring flowers, dark green summer foliage that turns red and orange in fall, and blue fruits the birds love in late summer/fall. Prune right after flowering, but only if necessary. Grow Blue Muffin as a specimen, in groupings, in shrub borders, as a foundation planting or as a hedge.

  • Exposure: Sun to part shade
  • Soil: Moist, well-drained
  • Hardiness: USDA Zone 3-8.




Shrub for 2013

Chaste Tree

Vitex spp.

Vitex is a multi-stemmed large shrub, but can be trained into a small tree. Leaves are palmately compound and dark green. Flowers appear in early summer and continue to bloom sporadically through summer and fall. Flowers of Vitex can be blue, lavender, pink or white. Old strains had small spikes of flowers; improved varieties have large spikes (8” to 12” long) of colorful flowers that are fragrant and make excellent cut flowers. Vitex is not too picky of soils and is easy to grow, very heat, drought and pest tolerant and an excellent choice for a xeric garden. Vitex is often considered an excellent replacement for lilacs, which grow much better in colder climates, and it attracts butterflies and hummingbirds.

  • Exposure: Sun to part shade
  • Soil: Moist, well-drained
  • Hardiness: USDA Zone 4-9




Shrub for 2012

Juniper Collection

Juniperus virginiana ‘Taylor’
J. chinensis ‘Saybrook Gold’
J. horizontalis ‘Monber’ Icee Blue®

This collection represents the very diverse genus Juniperus, which has several species and many cultivars within each species. Junipers come in upright, spreading or low groundcover forms. ‘Taylor’ is a narrow, upright cultivar that grows about 4 to 5 feet wide reaching 15 to 20 feet tall and is excellent for tight spaces. ‘Saybrook Gold’ is the brightest gold , holding its color year round with a compact, spreading habit to about 30 inches tall and 6 feet wide. And Icee Blue® is a low, mat forming species with beautiful silver-blue foliage. In general junipers are adapted to a wide range of soils and withstand hot dry conditions once established.
  • Exposure: Sun to part shade
  • Soil: Moist, well-drained
  • Hardiness: USDA Zone 4-9




Shrub for 2011

Abelia Collection
Kaleidoscope, Little Richard, and Rose Creek

Abelia x grandiflora

Several new, compact forms of glossy abelia are becoming very popular. ‘Kaleidoscope’ grows 2-3’ high and slightly wider. In spring leaves appear on bright red stems with lime green centers and bright yellow edges, but variegation does not scorch or burn in hot weather and in fall color deepens to shades of orange and fiery red. Soft pink flower buds open to white in late spring. ‘Little Richard’ is 3’x3’, evergreen, with vivid green leaves in summer, taking on a tangerine-pink color in fall; white flowers bloom from summer to first frost. ‘Rose Creek’ grows 2-3’ high and 3-4’ wide; is evergreen, with crimson stems. New leaves have a pinkish cast, maturing to lustrous dark green, and turn purple in cold weather. Small white flowers are surrounded by persistent rosy pink sepals. Use these abelias in containers, as formal or informal hedges, accent plants, in mass plantings, or in foundation plantings under windows. Abelias also attract hummingbirds and butterflies to the garden.

  • Exposure: Sun to part shade
  • Soil: Moist, well-drained, acidic
  • Hardiness: USDA Zone 6-9, evergreen in 7 and warmer




Shrub for 2010

Koreanspice Viburnum

Viburnum carlesii

Koreanspice Viburnum is a small to medium sized shrub offering year round interest. In summer the leaves are dark green, fall color can be wine-red. Flower buds are pink to red opening white or pink in spring omitting a wonderful fragrance. In late summer clusters of red fruit that fade to black invite birds to the garden. Once the shrub has become established it is quite heat and drought tolerant and though it prefers moist, slightly acid soils, and sun to part shade, it is tolerant of high pH soils and wind-swept conditions. It grows from 4’ to 5' high and just as broad. Valued for its fragrant flowers, this shrub can be used as a foundation planting, specimen, or incorporated into a mixed border. Several improved cultivars are available.

  • Exposure: Sun to part shade
  • Soil: Moist, well-drained
  • Hardiness: USDA Zone 5-7




Shrub for 2009



There are two species of importance in the genus Aronia, Red Chokeberry (Aronia arbutifolia) and Black Chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa). As their common names suggest, fruit color is the major difference between the two. Both produce clusters of white flowers in spring, have excellent red fall foliage, grow about 10’ high, and thrive in almost any soil type. ‘Brilliantissima’ is a popular cultivar of Red Chokeberry, chosen for its more compact size and abundance of red fruit. Both species are excellent wildlife plants, but Black Chokeberry gets a lot of attention as a “super fruit” for its high levels of antioxidants and can be used to make juice, jelly, or wine. Aronia work well massed in naturalized settings or at the back of a border since the stems are usually bare near the base leaving room for garden perennials.

  • Exposure: Sun to part shade
  • Soil: Tolerant of most soils
  • Hardiness: USDA Zone 4




Shrub for 2008

American Beautyberry

Callicarpa americana

American Beautyberry is a native deciduous shrub that produces inconspicuous lavender flowers in mid summer but as fall approaches the plant becomes laden with brightly colored clusters of purple fruit producing a striking display. American Beautyberry prefers light shade or protection from the afternoon sun in Oklahoma. It grows from 5 to 10' high and just as broad but overgrown plants can be rejuvenated by cutting them to the ground in winter without sacrificing fruit since the flowers are produced on new growth. This native shrub can be massed as an informal hedge, incorporated into a mixed border, or used as an understory plant in a naturalistic garden setting. White fruited cultivars are also available.

  • Exposure: Light shade
  • Soil: Moist, well-drained
  • Hardiness: USDA Zone 6




Shrub for 2007

Southern Waxmyrtle

Myrica cerifera

Southern Waxmyrtle is a broad-leaved evergreen native to the southeast corner of Oklahoma and along much of the eastern coastal plain. It has been described as the southern cousin of Bayberry and has a similar scent when new leaves emerge in spring. Southern Waxmyrtle can be grown as a large shrub, making an excellent naturalistic screen, or can be pruned to tree form exposing its light-gray bark. It fixes atmospheric nitrogen making it suitable on poor soils and it withstands bog-like conditions. Narrow leaf, compact, and dwarf cultivars are available extending the possible uses for this native shrub.

  • Exposure: Full sun to part shade
  • Soil: Tolerates a wide range of soils
  • Hardiness: USDA Zone 7




Shrub for 2006

Diabolo® Ninebark

Physocarpus opulifolius 'Monlo'

Diabolo® is a cultivar of ninebark prized for its deep maroon foliage, which contrasts nicely with the clusters of white flowers produced in the spring and is a great companion for gold or chartreuse-leaved plants. This deciduous shrub grows from 6' to 10' high and wide but can be rejuvenated by pruning it to the ground in winter. Red fruit extends ninebark’s show into the fall and exfoliating bark adds winter interest. Diabolo® is a hardy and durable shrub that can be used as a screen, for massing, or at the back of a border.

  • Exposure: Full sun to part shade
  • Soil: Tolerant of acid, alkaline, or dry soils
  • Hardiness: USDA Zone 2




Vine for 2005


Bignonia capreolata

A true beauty, especially in the spring when ‘Tangerine Beauty’ is covered in orange, trumpet-shaped flowers. This semi-evergreen vine can climb by twining its branches around a structure or can use its adhesive tendrils to cling to a wall, easily reaching heights of 30' or more. As temperatures cool in the fall, the leaves have a purple cast and are evergreen during a mild winter or in a protected spot. Beauty is not the only reason for using Crossvine; it is also a tough plant, tolerant of heat and drought once established.

  • Exposure: Full sun to part shade
  • Soil: Tolerates a wide range of conditions
  • Hardiness: USDA Zone 6




Shrub for 2004

Winter Jasmine

Jasminum nudiflorum

Winter Jasmine is often mistaken for forsythia but it flowers earlier and has a longer lasting floral display. It flowers As early as December before its glossy green leaves are formed. It can be pruned and used as a hedge but left untrimmed it will arch gracefully forming a four foot high mound spreading to seven feet. Winter Jasmine requires very little care and is easily rejuvenated by cutting it to the ground every three to five years.

  • Exposure: Full sun to part shade
  • Soil: Tolerates a wide range of conditions
  • Hardiness: USDA Zone 6




Shrub for 2003

Pink Velour® Crapemyrtle

Lagerstroemia indica 'Whit III'

Pink Velour® was developed in Oklahoma for its burgundy spring foliage. Summer leaves have a dark purple cast and highlight the pink flowers that are formed from early July until frost. Pink Velour® forms a ten-foot high, multi-stemmed large shrub, is drought tolerant, and highly resistant to powdery mildew.

  • Sun Exposure: Full
  • Soil: Moist, well-drained
  • Hardiness: USDA Zone 6b




Shrub for 2002

Japanese Kerria

Kerria japonica

Japanese Kerria produces an abundance of yellow, rose-like flowers in the early spring and sporadically through the summer. The species has single yellow flowers while ‘Pleniflora’ (the cultivar shown here) has double flowers. In winter Japanese Kerria adds interest to the garden with its bright green stems and arching habit. Japanese Kerria can be rejuvenated by cutting the shrub to the ground every few years.

  • Sun Exposure: Full to partial shade
  • Soil: Well-drained
  • Hardiness: USDA Zone 4




Shrub for 2001

Deciduous Holly

Ilex decidua

Deciduous Holly is a native plant typically grown as a multi-stemmed shrub. It tolerates heat, drought, and poorly drained soils and reaches a height of 8 to 12 feet. Female cultivars of Deciduous Holly have beautiful red to yellow berries that remain on the plant through the winter. Male and female cultivars should be planted for fruit production.

  • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
  • Soil: Poorly to well-drained
  • Hardiness: USDA Zone 5




Shrub for 2000

‘Magic Carpet’ Spirea

Spiraea japonica 'Magic Carpet'

‘Magic Carpet’ Spirea is a new compact cultivar from England with dark pink flowers and reddish shoots bearing gold-tinged young foliage in spring. This shrub will remain compact, making it perfect for mixed borders, rock gardens, or small-scale landscapes.

  • Sun exposure: Full
  • Soil: Moist, well-drained
  • Hardiness: USDA Zone 4




Shrub for 1999

Oakleaf Hydrangea

Hydrangea quercifolia

Oakleaf Hydrangea holds its bronze-tinted fall foliage into early winter, giving the plant a long season of interest while other garden plants are disappearing. The cinnamon buds that open to cone shaped white flowers also add interest, and the oak-like leaves give this 6’ to 8’ high shrub a coarse but graceful texture.

  • Sun Exposure: Shade
  • Soil: Moist, well-drained
  • Hardiness: USDA Zone 5