Ask for Itasca!

Check out our list of wineries that have released/will soon release an Itasca wine and nurseries/vineyards selling Itasca vines/grapes. Please be sure to check websites/contact the vineyards/wineries/nurseries in advance regarding current availabilty and any COVID-19 related restrictions.

Looking for First Kiss® apples?

Check out our list of licensed growers but please be sure to check websites/contact the orchards in advance regarding current availabilty, harvest dates and sales locations.

Welcome to Minnesota Hardy

The University of Minnesota has been breeding apples, berries, grapes, ornamental trees and shrubs, flowers, and grasses for over 150 years. More than 400 proven hardy varieties provide a foundation for Minnesota's more than $200 billion horticultural industry. On this site you will find details about University breeding programs and lists of varieties currently available.

The U of M does not generally sell plant material to the public but provides it to licensed propagators who then distribute it to the growers, retailers, and landscapers. Commercial growers can learn more about licensing and purchasing our various varieties here. Home gardeners looking for varieties available at their local nurseries, orchards, or vineyards will find more information on FAQ pages for apples, wine grapes and landscape plants.

New and Exciting Varieties From the U of M

  • UMN plant breeders introduce First Kiss Apple

    First Kiss® (or Rave® as it will be known as when grown outside Minnesota), marks the 27th apple variety release from the apple breeders at the University of Minnesota. This child of Honeycrisp inherited its crisp and juicy texture but will be really up to four weeks earlier than its parent tree.  Rave/First Kiss Apple.

  • 'Itasca' Joins List of Released Cold-Hardy Wine Grapes

    'Itasca', the Univerisity's newest grape release, will be used to make dry white wines. Itasca has lower acidity and high sugar levels coupled with high resistance to common grape pests such as downy and powdery mildew and the insect phylloxera. Itasca wine grape.
  • Two New Azaleas Join the 'Lights' Series

    'Electric Lights Double Pink' and 'Electric Lights Red' azaleas are the newest members of the 'Lights' series and the first new azalea releases in nearly 15 years. Electric Lights Red is the long-awaited first red azalea released by the University.

  • True North™ Kentucky Coffeetree

    New introduction True North™ Kentucky coffeetree offers a narrow, upright form making them suitable replacements for ash in Minnesota. Research has shown it to be easier to propagate compared to other Kentucky coffeetrees. Coffee Tree.
  • Pink Popcorn® Blueberry

    Pink Popcorn® (aka MNPink1 cultivar) is the first pink blueberry introduced by the University. Truly pink-fruited blueberries, with the sweet taste and satisfying crispness of the best of the blues, are a culinary novelty. The attractive blush-colored berries grow on vase-shaped bushes, tested and proven cold hardy to Zone 4 temperatures. 

    Pink Popcorn blueberries.

Minnesota Hardy Publication

2014 MN Hardy Cover.Minnesota Hardy describes over 150 horticultural plants released by Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station (MAES) and available at local nurseries and garden centers. The current version was published in 2014 and includes useful growing information, locations to view University varieties, and a peek at future introductions. Download your own copy (.pdf)