Greenhouse Grower Honors 2016 Medal Of Excellence Breeding Award Winners

Greenhouse Grower Honors 2016 Medal Of Excellence Breeding Award Winners

Excellence deserves recognition. Greenhouse Grower’s Evening of Excellence at Cultivate’16 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 2016 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: Coreopsis Uptick Series (Darwin)

The new Coreopsis Uptick series offers a larger flower size with no deadheading and a long bloom period. Large, handsome flowers bloom longer than most coreopsis varieties from late spring through the end of summer, for more color at retail and in the garden. The UpTick Series’ tidy, mounded habit makes it easy to ship and attractive in the landscape. Its bright colors should attract consumers, and because coreopsis are great pollinator plants, this series will help growers continue the effort to be pollinator-friendly. Colors include Cream, Cream and Red, Gold and Bronze, and Yellow and Red.

Editor’s Choice Lupine Staircase Series (Green Fuse Botanicals)

A breakthrough in lupine breeding, the Staircase series offers gorgeous flowers in a range of colors that put on a great display with solid and bicolor hues. A cool-season plant, the Staircase series is daylength responsive and has good bud count, with plants forming four to six axillary flower stems that are eager to expand. This series requires no vernalization, is hardy to Zone 3, and promises to finish early for quick delivery to garden store shelves. Propagated through tissue culture, these lupines are stronger and more disease-resistant than seed-propagated varieties.

Readers’ Choice Petunia ‘Night Sky’ (Selecta)

Petunia ‘Night Sky’ is the most distinctive bloom you’ve ever seen on this planet. No two flowers are the same — like a fingerprint! Their constellation-like speckling on a rich purple backdrop offers a unique look that gardeners can’t get enough of. ‘Night Sky’ matches the Headliner petunia series in habit, timing, and vigor. It is a great-looking plant for hanging baskets and patio containers.


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 panelists.
• 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.

Ball Premier Lab received the Excellence for Industry Achievement Award. The Ball Premier Lab was established around 1983. While space and technology were limited, the technologies that emerged include Ball’s High-Energy Seed, Genesis Seed, and film-coated seed. Over time, the lab expanded, and in 2011, the Ball Premier Seed Lab moved into a new 18,000 square foot LEED-certified facility. Today, more than 80% of Ball Seed inventory — billions of seeds each year — pass through the Ball Premier Lab.

The SunPatiens Brand from Sakata Ornamentals received the Excellence in Marketing Award. SunPatiens got its start in Indonesia, when Sakata plant breeders identified a distinctive impatiens series growing in the wild that was flowering under full-sun conditions. Thanks to its performance in both containers and the landscape, the SunPatiens brand has established itself as one of the top-selling bedding plants. SunPatiens is a gamechanger in impatiens because it can be grown anywhere, provides disease resistance, especially from downy mildew, and helps consumers to be successful.

Thank you to the 2016 sponsors of Greenhouse Grower‘s Medal Of Excellence Awards: AmericanHort, Landmark Plastic, Nufarm, and Stockosorb. Also, thanks to Suntory Flowers for sponsoring this year’s Medal Of Excellence coverage.