Register for Plant Quest 2024, a favorite winter webinar series for Midwest gardeners

Join the hunt for garden-worthy trees and shrubs, perfect perennials, amazing annuals and natives to nurture during the 2024 Plant Quest webinar series starting Jan. 8.

Jeffersonia (Twin Leaf).
Stellar but understated in the shady native garden, Jeffersonia (Twin Leaf) is a gardener’s dream. Photo by Rebecca Finneran, MSU Extension.

Gardeners across the Midwest have declared that one of the best things to do in January is attend their winter webinar favorite—Plant Quest! If you are on the hunt for garden-worthy trees and shrubs, perfect perennials, amazing annuals or natives to nurture, join live as Michigan State University Extension hosts nationally known experts in a vast exploration of plants.

2024 Plant Quest’s lineup of speakers is going to thrill you! Noted authors, horticulturists and green industry professionals will share their knowledge of woody and herbaceous plants highlighting favorites featuring dynamic foliage, show-stopping color and stalwart natives during the four-part series.

Kicking off the series on Jan. 8, Matthew Ross, executive director of the Botanic Garden at Historic Barns Park in Traverse City, Michigan, will leave you drooling over what he calls his botanical bucket-list. His picks for unique and underutilized plants are what he calls the unsung heroes of the plant world.

Plants that fill a specific niche, often with a little attitude, are sometimes overlooked in an early spring garden center. Ross states about his presentation, “I am excited to share plants that perhaps weren’t the showiest on Mother’s Day but are game-changers in the landscape, sporting season-long interest and robust character. Winterberry holly is a great example. The non-descript foliage is seldom snatched up by consumers unless they have seen this plant perform with exuberant red fruits in early autumn. With a light dusting of snow, this selection is show-stopping!”

Finneran Ilex verticillata Winterberry Holly
Winterberry holly may escape notice on that spring shopping trip, but if you put this plant on your bucket list, it will perform in late fall into early winter. Photo by Rebecca Finneran, MSU Extension.

Ross has travelled around the globe in search of some of these game-changing landscape plants. Through his excellent photography, he hopes to bring to life a personal bucket-list for participants during his presentation at 2024 Plant Quest. Plant nerds will be thrilled as he leads them on a journey through the nation's top botanic gardens, private gardens and natural areas in search of the latest, greatest and most durable plants. 

The series will run on Monday evenings from Jan. 8 – 27. Early registration is open now through Jan. 7, with regular registration open through Jan. 27. If you register and cannot attend any of the live webinars, you will receive the recording of all the sessions. Use this link below to register and find out about all four presenters!

Register for 2024 Plant Quest

Questions? Contact Diane Brady at

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