Mission and Philosophy

Abutilon 'Canary Bird'

Our Mission

Plant Delights Nursery is a retail mail order nursery that is the public face of Juniper Level Botanic Garden. We exist as a botanical garden and research facility, funded by a mail order nursery. Our mission is to promote and preserve botanical diversity by bridging the gap between botany and horticulture. This mission includes botanical plant exploration both in the US and abroad, study, identification, and educational outreach, followed by selection, breeding, and propagation. The final step is to make those new and rare perennial plants available for both shade gardens and sun gardens around the world, and deliver them with unparalleled passion for, and service to, our customers. Ten percent of our nursery revenue funds our mission.

Our Philosophy

Our goal, and our passion is to be one of the best on-line perennial plant nurseries in the world. While Plant Delights offers over 1600 different perennial plants online at any one time, this represents less than 10% of the living plant collections in our on-site Juniper Level Botanical Garden. In our quest for new plants, we have taken over 75 botanical expeditions and sponsored many more, both domestic and global, since 1994. We also work closely with the top plant explorers and breeders around the world to bring you the best in new perennial plants. Few, if any, plant nurseries or botanical gardens can match the diversity of our plant collections, which currently numbers over 28,000 taxa.

Plant Delights Nursery has a strong educational focus and passion to expand the base of knowledge about perennial plants through our talks, gardening articles and botanical expedition logs posted on our website. As horticultural mythbusters, we study these plant genera and sort out much of the nomenclatural and horticultural misinformation that persists in the literature. To encourage a reduction of wild harvest of rare plants for commercial production and to promote habitat preservation, we are dedicated to growing and propagating rare and endangered ornamental native wildflowers. We practice conservation by propagation and are members of the International Plant Propagators Society, a group dedicated to the proposition that all plants should be propagated equally. If we have a plant, we will either propagate it or kill it trying...and as a good friend taught us, once you propagate a rare plant...it's not rare anymore!

New plants are carefully evaluated here and at other cooperating sites. It is our goal to offer plants that will not become invasive (i.e., invade and displace natives in functioning natural ecosystems). We adhere to the Nursery Codes of Conduct as adopted at the 2001 St. Louis Summit on Invasive Plants and encourage other nurseries to do the same. Realizing that it is impossible to completely predict invasiveness in every ecological region of the country, we implore gardeners to watch for plants that show true invasive potential and to let us know those findings. Please understand also that re-seeding around the garden is very different from invading natural areas. Please also understand that while a species may be invasive, cultivars within that species may not exhibit those particular undesirable traits. While the invasive plant issue is a great area of concern to us, a proposed nationwide ban of plants that are only invasive and hardy in Hawaii or South Florida is absurdly extreme. We are very wary of a small but vocal group of plant bigots who advocate a horticultural ethnic cleansing as a means of satisfying their myopic view of nature. As with all vices, moderation and responsibility are the answer.

At Plant Delights Nursery, we grow and produce our own plants. This way, we control quality, availability, growing conditions, and trueness to name. While the current industry trend is to only grow and market plants that can be produced in a short 3-6 month window, we focus on many of the incredible "left behind" plants that can take up to 8 years to produce a saleable plant.

Plant Delights Nursery is also a breeding company, known worldwide, primarily for our work with hostas. Between 1990 and 2014, we introduced over 98 new hosta cultivars to the market, most of which came from our own crosses. Our breeding work continues and we look forward to many unique new hostas in the coming years. Our breeding programs have expanded significantly into other genera like hardy aroids, epimediums, fern, and amaryllids. Plant Delights Nursery has been responsible for the introduction of over 650 new plants to commerce

If you’re looking for a rare perennial plant or the newest in plant introductions, we hope Plant Delights Nursery on-line plant nursery will be your first stop.