Greenhouse Grower Honors 2017 Medal of Excellence Breeding Award Winners at Cultivate’17

Greenhouse Grower’s Evening of Excellence at Cultivate’17 is a celebration of individuals and operations that strive to achieve excellence every day in all they do. For them, it is the only way to do business.

Congratulations to the 2017 Medal of Excellence Winners that embody the best in breeding, marketing and growing, and typify the dedication to quality that is so prevalent in our industry.

Industry’s Choice: Helianthus ‘Sunfinity’ (Syngenta Flowers)

Sunfinity is the next generation of sunflower, offering nonstop blooming, multiple branches, and more flowers all season long. It provides incredible consumer value with multiple flowers per plant, and season-long flowering. A facultative long-day plant, Sunfinity offers fast crop times well suited for late spring and early summer, and it extends the retail sales season as a premium product for landscape or in large patio pots.

Editor’s Choice: Begonia Dibs Series (Green Fuse Botanicals)

With a wide range of dramatic colors and patterns, the Dibs series is a showstopper. Used in shade combos or as stand-alone specimens outdoors, or brought inside and grown as houseplants, this Rex begonia line has everything it takes to keep the houseplant obsession going with Millennials and get them into the garden.

Readers’ Choice Helianthus ‘Sunfinity’ (Syngenta Flowers)


Greenhouse Grower’s Medal of Excellence Awards has been the floriculture industry’s premier awards and recognition program for more than 25 years. Three awards are presented for breeding, including the Editor’s Choice Award, chosen by Greenhouse Grower Editor Laura Drotleff; the Industry’s Choice Award, based on a selection of varieties chosen by an industry panel during California Spring Trials; and the Readers’ Choice Award, in which breeding companies submit varieties for readers to vote on their favorite new introduction.

Thank you to our esteemed panel of industry experts:
• The Metrolina Team: Abe Van Wingerden, Sim McMurry, Mark Yelanich
• The Welby Gardens Team: Al Gerace, John Gerace, Mandy Foster
• The Mast Young Plants Team: Jim Raterink, Laura Robles, Brian Weesies
• The Raker Team: Steve Reed, Jenny Kuhn, Jarvis Green, and Susie Raker-Zimmerman
• Lloyd and Candy Traven, Peace Tree Farm
• Vaughn Fletcher, McHutchison
• Brad Julian, Lowe’s Home Improvement
• Tim Runte, Calloway Gardens
• Dr. Allan Armitage, Professor Emeritus of Horticulture, University of Georgia
• Laura Drotleff, Greenhouse Grower

Medal of Excellence awards were also announced for excellence in Industry Achievement and in Marketing.

Ushio Sakazaki received the Excellence for Industry Achievement Award. Sakazaki’s path to plant breeding greatness began in Brazil, where he encountered a groundcover petunia he’d never seen anywhere else. There was opportunity to bring something wholly new to the Japanese market, and Sakazaki took it. Over time, Sakazaki’s work through his company, Plant 21, would continue to mix wild and domestic breeds to gift the industry with some of its most popular plants. Growers, retailers, and consumers are familiar with Sakazaki’s most crowd-pleasing introductions including Surfinia and Supertunia petunias, Superbells calibrachoa, and Superbena verbena collections.

PlantHaven International received the Excellence in Marketing Award. PlantHaven has helped botanical artisans, growers, and gardeners bond over beautiful plants through its inventive marketing campaigns. The PlantHaven team represents more than 90 independent plant breeders, featuring a portfolio of plants bred in all four corners of the globe. This diverse offering also inspires PlantHaven’s cream-of-the-crop marketing initiatives. It’s recent Cocktail Culture Brochure is a great example of this inventive spirit.

Thank you to the 2017 sponsors of Greenhouse Grower‘s Medal Of Excellence Awards: AmericanHort, Landmark Plastic, Nufarm, and Stockosorb.

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