Industry Influencer Helmut Kientzler Dies
The world lost a horticultural champion and quiet legend in Helmut Kientzler, 68, who passed away March 7.
Helmut Kientzler was the second son of Else and Ludwig Kientzler, and grew up in his family’s young plant business in Germany, which was established in 1904. When his father died suddenly of a stroke in 1960, his mother, Else Kientzler, preserved the family’s business, expanding it through the years to become an empire in the industry, so her children could have a future in the family business. After completing business school, Helmut joined the company at age 22.
According to an obituary on TASPO.de, written by long-time former Kientzer employee Garry Grueber of Cultivaris and Global Breadfruit, Helmut Kientzler, who with his brother Ludwig led and managed the Kientzler Group for decades and created Kientzler’s now worldwide presence, was the less visible and more reserved of the two, yet his influential role in the business and the industry has been equally weighty.
“Without his active participation, many things would not have materialized – such as the founding and expansion of the worldwide successful Proven Winners network,” among other local achievements planning and hosting state garden shows in Germany, according to the obituary by Grueber.
Grueber wrote, “The two brothers complemented each other perfectly for decades – one brother (Ludwig) the driving force, the other brother quiet and reflective (Helmut). In tandem, they have both made the Kientzler Group one of the most innovative and pioneering companies in the industry.”
The Kientzler Group’s Achievements Reach Across the World
Greenhouse Grower recognized The Kientzler Group with its Medal of Excellence Award for Industry Achievement Award in 2015, honoring the company for its lifetime of contributions and dedication to breeding and developing new varieties.
As one of the world’s most prolific and innovative breeding powerhouses, the Kientzler Group built on its rich history by providing new and exciting genetics to the floriculture industry. The company created the market for New Guinea Impatiens with its Paradise and Pure Beauty series, as well as bringing Scaevola, Bracteantha, Sutera, and other plant genetics to the marketplace, introduced in the U.S. through the Proven Winners network.
Through its InnovaPlant facilities in Costa Rica, Kientzler has also become well-known for establishing high standards for quality and cleanliness, and providing a dependable supply of young plants to growers in the U.S. for more than 20 years. The company took a new business direction in 2015 to provide its own genetics directly to the U.S. market.
Helmut Kientzler Drove the Company Toward Innovation From Behind the Scenes
Despite all of this, Grueber wrote, “Helmut Kientzler never wanted to be in the limelight. He would much rather go far behind the scenes, get informed, and think a lot. He was prudent, thoughtful, and would like to philosophize in conversation about the current happenings in the industry and how they could influence the future Kientzler strategy.”
“He lived for the company and for his family, was always generous to others – but granted himself little. If you came to the company on Sunday afternoons, his car was almost always in the yard. He was usually found in the greenhouses, to visit the test cultivation with the many novelties in peace.”
“His family – especially his two sons, Alexander and Thomas – all Kientzler employees, and the entire industry will always remember him as the dormant, prudent, and thoughtful esthete in the home Kientzler. He leaves a gap that goes much further than the important tasks that he has mastered untiringly for decades within the group. We will all miss him very much.”