Proven Winners’ breeding goals are simply stated in the company’s name. Since the beginning, plants in the distinctive white pots bearing the Proven Winners logo have to be easy to grow, disease resistant, floriferous, and unique.
“We are always focused on the same thing – improving the gardening experience for the consumer,” says Kevin Hurd, Director of New Products for Proven Winners. “That means finding the better-performing plants, which give consumers longer-lasting beauty and function. We are proud to be introducing varieties with tighter habits and better branching – two improvements that help growers in their efforts to get plants to the consumer.”
More specifically, Hurd says “better performing” means lower water requirements, less need for high levels of fertilizer, improved disease resistance, and expanded performance.
“Expanded performance means both better performance in the main gardening seasons and also better performance over a wider region of North America,” Hurd says. “The future will see an expansion in regionalized plants, as well. Some examples would be plants for the southern market with heat and humidity tolerance, and plants for southwestern markets with lower water usage.”
While the pollinator issue has gained more attention in recent years, it has always been on Proven Winners’ radar when selecting plants.
“We are always focused on plants that have dual attributes like attracting nature/pollinators into the garden as well as extended season of performance,” Hurd says. “We list the pollinators that each of our plants attract on our website on each plant record page, and this is also a searchable attribute for anyone using our search function.”
Another category Hurd is excited about is interspecific hybrids, which offer a chance to improve flowering time, drought tolerance, and allow for easy maintenance.