Metrolina Announces The 2014 Plant Of The Year

zinnia1For the second year, Metrolina Greenhouses turned to consumers to find out what they want in a plant and what they would choose as their top pick.

The grower held its second annual Plant Of The Year Contest to determine a new winner for 2014.

A group of 53 panelists were given two months to try out 10 different plants, and in the end, vote for their favorite.

Going Back To Consumers

Through research, Metrolina has concluded that consumers rely on friends and family for advice and inspiration when gardening. The contest is based on that logic. Metrolina solicited a wide range of home garden panelists to select the winner.

“It helps us support and encourage gardening,” says Mariah Holland, director of marketing for Metrolina.

As for how it benefits gardeners, Holland says consumers “trust and believe in their peers and it is important to have an outlet [to] communicate their successes.”

“A product selected by their peers and tested in real world conditions bestows a vote of confidence they can trust,” says Myles Wynn, marketing research coordinator for Metrolina.

Since August 2011, Metrolina has been surveying a group of home garden panelists, which is comprised of average gardeners representing the most significant plant consumer demographics. From this panel, the grower collects consumer market data, including seasonal color preference and shopping habits.

In 2012, the Metrolina marketing team decided that the year’s survey questions would focus on an effort to “learn and confirm,” so they could challenge assumptions made about the consumer and gather data to confirm or refute any industry myths.

This is what led to the decision to have consumers choose a favorite plant in a contest format, as opposed to having them answer general questions.

In 2013, the grower took the same approach to determine this year’s winner. A total of 10 plant breeders submitted cuttings, liners or seed to Metrolina to grow out in one-pint pots. The plants were distributed by the panel throughout the country to 53 consumers.

Each consumer received a box of 10 one-pint plants. They were instructed to plant and care for the plants for two months, from May to July, and then vote for their favorite. The final votes were tallied in July.

Consumers Want Easy Care And Colorful Blooms

The consumer panelists chose zinnia ‘Profusion Double Hot Cherry’ from Sakata as the winner for 2014.

Begonia ‘Big Red’ from Benary took second place and zinnia ‘Zahara Sunburst’ from PanAmerican Seed took third.

In addition to their final selection, consumers submitted comments about their experience and images to support their decision.

“The consumers in general were most attracted to plants blooming multiple times with full, lasting color,” says Wynn.

In addition, the ability to withstand difficult weather conditions with minimal care requirements was an important asset.

One consumer commented that ‘Profusion Double Hot Cherry’ had “a ton of colorful blooms and never stopped blooming the whole time. [It was] very little maintenance, even with the extreme weather conditions we have had.”

Another reported that the begonia selection withstood the heat and rain the best.

“It still looks like the day it was sent,” she said. “The leaves didn’t turn brown and it adapted really well and is flowering nicely.”

An industry panel makes a selection, as well, but Holland says the final vote rests with the consumers.

“The thought process is to get a sample of gardeners from across the U.S. to vote on plants that perform best for them,” Holland says.

The industry selection is a more informal process at the Trial Garden Open House, which took place in June 2013. Coincidentally, the industry’s top choice was also zinnia ‘Profusion Double Hot Cherry.’

Topics:

Leave a Reply

More From Varieties...
Dr Allan Armitage

February 8, 2016

Why Succulents Have Become The Hippest Plants On The Market

Allan Armitage says succulents used to be relegated to the far end of the display bench, but their adaptability, decorative value, and low maintenance requirements have now made them a staple.

Read More

February 4, 2016

Poinsettia Growers Discuss Their Recent Trials And Triumphs

Growers from Pennsylvania, Illinois, and North Carolina describer their experiences trialing everyone’s favorite holiday season flora.

Read More
Rhododendron ‘Dandy Man’ (Proven Winners ColorChoice Shrubs)

February 2, 2016

Spring Meadow Nursery Partnering With Proven Winners Europe To Introduce New Flowering Shrubs

The expansion creates a cohesive brand for what is now a global market, immediately introducing more than 24 shrubs to the European market, with the potential for 125 or more in the future.

Read More
Latest Stories
Dr Allan Armitage

February 8, 2016

Why Succulents Have Become The Hippest Plants On The Ma…

Allan Armitage says succulents used to be relegated to the far end of the display bench, but their adaptability, decorative value, and low maintenance requirements have now made them a staple.

Read More

February 4, 2016

Poinsettia Growers Discuss Their Recent Trials And Triu…

Growers from Pennsylvania, Illinois, and North Carolina describer their experiences trialing everyone’s favorite holiday season flora.

Read More
Rhododendron ‘Dandy Man’ (Proven Winners ColorChoice Shrubs)

February 2, 2016

Spring Meadow Nursery Partnering With Proven Winners Eu…

The expansion creates a cohesive brand for what is now a global market, immediately introducing more than 24 shrubs to the European market, with the potential for 125 or more in the future.

Read More

February 1, 2016

12 New Poinsettias For Holiday Growing

Poinsettias are still a consumer favorite during the holidays for home décor and gift giving. For greenhouse growers looking to get a jumpstart on purchasing young plants for the 2016 poinsettia growing season, there is no shortage of great varieties to choose from. Here are 12 new varieties to keep in mind for holiday product offerings.

Read More

January 27, 2016

Costa Farms’ Season Premier Provides Sneak Peek A…

Costa Farms presented the 2016 Season Premier at its 2-acre Trial Gardens in Miami, FL, in the third week of January. The event showcases varieties from breeders of all sizes to growers and major retail buyers, providing a look at what genetics are coming to the market and how they’ll perform in retail settings and in the landscape, when consumers bring them home. The mild winter climate in South Florida allows Costa Farms’ Research and Development Department to simulate the spring growing conditions of various regions in the country. Because each group of visitors to Costa Farms’ Trial Gardens wants to see what the new plants look like in the environments that matter to them, Season Premier offers several areas within the Trial Gardens that highlight different ways to look at the wealth of new varieties. The New Product Showcase offers a way for retailers to see how plants will […]

Read More

January 26, 2016

Beekenkamp And Danziger Partner To Distribute Poinsetti…

Danziger is continuing to expand its portfolio of products to the U.S. market with the addition of poinsettia cuttings of Beekenkamp’s varieties.

Read More

January 24, 2016

Positive Consumer Experiences Help Advance The Orchid C…

HGTV HOME Plant Collection plans to expand its Fresh Style product line through a partnership with Green Circle Growers (Oberlin, Ohio), which will supply decorative orchids, tropical plants, and indoor garden combinations. Greenhouse Grower asked Maxwell Sherer about Green Circle's orchid program, the latest trends he’s seeing, and where he thinks orchid growing is headed in the future.

Read More
Sansevieria in Corner of home

January 21, 2016

Tropical And Indoor Foliage Plants Emerge As A Lifestyl…

Consumers are incorporating houseplants into their everyday lives, which is driving the trends toward smaller-size plants and unique products that appeal to a younger demographic.

Read More
Pollinator-Conference-NC State

January 20, 2016

How To Promote Pollinator-Friendly Plants This Spring

Following last year’s launch of the National Pollinator Garden Network, groups like the National Garden Bureau and others remind growers that offering pollinator-friendly plants is a great way to keep up with consumer demand.

Read More
Caladium Painted Frog Series (Plants Nouveau)

January 17, 2016

16 New Foliage Plants To Round Out The Garden

Every garden needs a good mix of flowering and foliage plants for an attention-grabbing show of thrillers, fillers, and spillers. These new foliage varieties will not only act as a lush backdrop for colorful blooms, they can also stand on their own with their noteworthy textures and colors.

Read More
California Coast

January 13, 2016

Mark Your Calendars For The 2016 California Spring Tri…

It’s time to think about registering for the 2016 California Spring Trials. You won’t want to miss any stops along the way, so use this quick reference to help with planning for your trip.

Read More
David Roberts Bailey Nuseries Feature Image

January 12, 2016

Bailey Nurseries’ David Roberts Says New, Novel Varieti…

Roberts was recently hired by Bailey Nurseries to be the General Manager and Breeder for Plant Introductions, Inc., which Bailey acquired last year.

Read More
Kelly Norris - feature

January 11, 2016

Kelly Norris: Questioning The Purpose Of New Plants

Norris asks if the time has come to rethink new plant introductions, or how we market them to consumers.

Read More
Weeks Roses Miss Congeniality

January 11, 2016

Weeks Roses Introduces New Lineup Of Roses For 2016

Weeks breeds and grows a wide range of rose bushes, all of which are field tested for many factors.

Read More
CAST2015_Floranova_Vegetalis_Ageratum Cloud Nine Blue

January 8, 2016

Floranova Opening New Chile-Based Research Station, For…

Floranova has announced it is building a new research station in Chile that will open in mid-2016. As a result, the company will not participate in the 2016 California Spring Trials, but says it will be back in 2017.

Read More
Streptocarpus 'Yellow Blue Eye' (Green Fuse Botanicals)

January 5, 2016

15 Flowering Foliage And Tropical Plants For The Home A…

Tropical and foliage plants are the ultimate lifestyle plants because they enrich the environment and provide mood-boosting benefits. Take into account some of these new introductions for a crop mix that helps your customers realize the true benefits of plants.

Read More
BallSeed-WebTrackToGo-app Feature Image

January 5, 2016

Ball Seed Launches WebTrack To Go App For Mobile Phones…

The app is available for free in the Google Play and iTunes app stores, and serves as a companion to Ball’s full WebTrack business management system.

Read More
Terra Nova Garden Decorating Guide

December 31, 2015

Terra Nova Nurseries Releases New Garden Decorating Gui…

The guide’s wheel-shaped design groups new plants by color and was inspired by the Pantone Matching System color guide.

Read More
[gravityform id="35" title="false" description="false"]