The Best Trees and Shrubs for 2024

Check out the most promising varieties hitting garden-center shelves this season

Fine Gardening – Issue 217
new trees and shrubs 2024

No matter how large or small a garden is, there’s nothing like a few new plants to make the gardener’s heart sing. We’ve looked over the introductions for 2024 and found some we think you’ll love as much as we do. From jaw-dropping flowers to fabulous foliage and a few tasty edibles, there’s sure to be a plant (or several) that will have friends asking, “Where did you get that?” The challenge with new introductions is that numbers are often limited the first year, so it can be a bit of a challenge to find them at garden centers or online nurseries. So shop early and don’t give up; these gorgeous new plants are sure to be around next year too.

A rose so pretty . . . you’ll want to eat it?

Flavorette Honey-Apricot rose
Photo: courtesy of Proven Winners Color Choice

Flavorette™ Honey-Apricot rose (Rosa ‘Boznatafra’)

Zones: 4–11

Size: 5 to 8 feet tall and 3 to 4 feet wide

Conditions: Full sun; moist, well-drained soil

Native range: Hybrid

That’s right—this is a new line of roses bred specifically with the kitchen in mind. Flavorette™ Honey-Apricot has gorgeous orange blooms with hints of coral. The flowers are indeed edible, and they sport—you guessed it—a slight honey-apricot taste. This is a disease-resistant plant that grows into a bulky shrub over time. The blossoms start in early to midsummer and continue into fall. Pruning is minimal for this rose; just cut out any winter-damaged stems in early spring. Every few years you’ll want to remove old stems back to the crown to encourage new growth, which produces more flowers.

Introduced by: Proven Winners® ColorChoice®


An orange foliage enhancement for a stalwart evergreen

Lucky Leu drooping laurel
Photo: courtesy of Bailey Nurseries, Tracy Walsh

Lucky Leu™ drooping laurel (Leucothoe axillaris ‘Bailcothoe’)

Zones: 6–9

Size: 3 to 5 feet tall and wide

Conditions: Full sun to partial shade; well-drained soil

Native range: Eastern United States

Here’s a new twist on an evergreen favorite. Lucky Leu™ produces peachy-orange new growth, which is accented by small white flowers in spring. The foliage eventually shifts to a deep emerald green in summer, making this low-care shrub a good boxwood (Buxus spp. and cvs., Zones 5–8) replacement. Lucky Leu™ keeps its weeping, rounded shape with little to no pruning.

Introduced by: Bailey Nurseries


This neat and tidy conifer won’t take over the yard

Spruce It Up dwarf white spruce
Photo: courtesy of Plants Nouveau

Spruce It Up™ dwarf white spruce (Picea glauca ‘Kolmschagi’)

Zones: 3–7

Size: 7 feet tall and 3 feet wide

Conditions: Full sun; well-drained to sandy soil

Native range: Northern North America

Looking for a perfectly cone-shaped conifer that won’t take over the whole yard and is super cold-hardy? Spruce It Up™ dwarf white spruce can do the job. It can fit in just about any garden to provide structure, winter color, and habitat for the neighborhood birds. Its habit is a bit more open than that of other varieties; this means air can circulate easily, which helps prevent mite troubles. The plants won’t revert to a larger size either (like other dwarf white spruces), so you can be confident your tree will stay the size you want.

Introduced by: Plants Nouveau


An earlier bloom time and a better rebloom distinguish this chaste tree

Queen Bee chaste tree
Photo: courtesy of Bailey Nurseries, Tracy Walsh

Queen Bee™ chaste tree (Vitex agnus-castus ‘Bailtexthree’)

Zones: 6–9

Size: 5 to 6 feet tall and 7 to 9 feet wide

Conditions: Full sun; well-drained soil

Native range: Mediterranean region, Asia

Heat, drought, and deer tolerant with lovely deep lavender blooms, Queen Bee™ is a chaste tree with a more manageable size than the species or other cultivars. The flowers start in early summer—earlier than most varieties—and keep going until fall. You don’t have to deadhead to keep the plants blooming, but doing so will encourage a heavier rebloom. This variety is reliably cold hardy in Zone 6, but the grower has reported seeing plants that are root hardy in parts of Illinois and Minnesota (Zone 5). In those cases the stems die to the ground, regrow from the roots, and flower by summer.

Introduced by: Bailey Nurseries


Burgundy new growth is a bonus of this pink-blooming camellia

Just Chill Red Tip camellia
Photo: courtesy of Proven Winners Color Choice

Just Chill Red Tip™ camellia (Camellia ‘FARROWCJRF’)

Zones: 6–9

Size: 5 to 8 feet tall and 5 to 6 feet wide

Conditions: Full sun to partial shade; moist, well-drained, acidic soil

Native range: Hybrid

Just Chill Red Tip™ camellia brings year-round interest to borders in mild winter areas. Burgundy new growth provides a lovely contrast to the glossy evergreen mature foliage. In mid-fall to winter when other plants are winding down, Just Chill Red Tip™ comes alive with dozens of fragrant soft pink blooms. It doesn’t need much pruning, if any; just remove any errant stems.

Introduced by: Proven Winners® ColorChoice®


A sophisticated look and lemony fragrance from a tough-as-nails rose

Easy Bee-zy Knock Out rose
Photo: courtesy of Star Roses and Plants

Easy Bee-zy™ Knock Out® rose (Rosa ‘SRPylwko’)

Zones: 4–10

Size: 3 to 4 feet tall and wide

Conditions: Full sun; moist, well-drained soil

Native range: Hybrid

This is a Knock Out® rose that doesn’t look or smell like a Knock Out® rose. Easy Bee-zy™ has single yellow blooms that are reminiscent of those from an antique species. They have a light citrus scent that you can enjoy up close along a path or near a patio or deck. Like all other members of this series, it has stellar disease resistance and low care requirements. The exceptionally glossy foliage perfectly complements the cheery blooms from early summer through late fall.

Introduced by: Star® Roses and Plants

Sherri Ribbey is the senior editor for Garden Gate, and Danielle Sherry is the executive editor for Fine Gardening.

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