Arboretum All-Stars: Plant Introductions for Sustainable Gardens

UC Davis Arboretum All-Star Commercial Plant Introductions

The UC Davis Arboretum and CCUH created this program to demonstrate the importance and beauty of environmentally friendly ornamental plants and to help establish a commercial conduit to make those plants more widely available.  The All-Stars program, an Arboretum educational outreach program, promotes the planting of water-conserving, heat-tolerant ornamental plants.  These include both native plants and adaptable non-natives that are selected for their value to birds, beneficial insects, and other native pollinators.

The launch of our program in 2009 was met with enthusiasm from both the gardening community and the wholesale nursery industry.  Arboretum plant sales have been unable to fill the demand for plants generated by this program.  Additionally, many of these plants are rare in commercial nurseries, because propagation and production techniques have not been defined or adequately disseminated.  A list of nurseries that carry these plants can be found at the Arboretum All-Stars website.


Propagation Trials

Additional species of All-Star plants not available in retail nurseries are currently in the testing phase with industry collaborator Takao Nursery and the Arboretum Nursery staff. Testing examines plants under commercial production practices to determine the best propagation protocols.


Arboretum staff have developed point-of-purchase promotional information about the plants’ growing requirements, attractive features, environmental benefits, and the program as a whole.  There is also a full-color booklet of all 100 All-Stars.  These materials undergo annual revision to reflect the most current research findings. 

Future Work

The program envisions new demonstration gardens at UC Davis with regular workshops to inform the public about creating and transitioning to sustainable landscapes using the All-Stars plants.  Some of the plants can be viewed at County Cooperative Extension Demonstration Gardens throughout the state.


Partially funded by:

  • Elvenia J. Slosson Endowment Fund for Ornamental Horticulture
  • California Association of Nurseries Endowment for Research and Scholarship
  • Saratoga Horticultural Research Endowment