Trialed & tested for your success
Here’s a look at the process:
Years 1-4 – greenhouse evaluation
- Plants that we have received from breeders around the world, or that were the result of our own internal breeding program, are grown in our R&D greenhouses in plastic containers.
- Placed alongside other plants of the same genus, intermixed with existing PWCC varieties as well as those already on the market.
- We are looking at how performance compares to existing plants and whether plants show resistance to common diseases like powdery mildew and blackspot.
- If plants make it through the greenhouse trial, they are propagated so that they can move on to the next phase.
- Three specimens of each plant are planted in the ground at our 20-acre trial garden, which simulates performance in a home landscape, and five are planted in our open, exposed fields, which tests performance in harsh conditions.
Years 5-8 – field and trial garden evaluation
- Plants are watered regularly, trimmed if needed, and fertilized in spring, but otherwise, minimal care is given.
- R&D team evaluates regularly, during main season of interest as well as outside of it, to check performance.
- Multi-year evaluation means plants experience a wide variety of weather conditions to check for heat and cold tolerance.
- Plants that are not hardy in Michigan are trialed at the breeder’s facility and/or through partners in suitable climates.
Years 9-10 – final selection & preparation for introduction
- The few plants that have excelled each year of the trial are moved toward introduction. This means increasing numbers so that we can supply starter plants to growers across the US and Canada, getting photography and video, and coming up with a name.
- Shrubs are first available to growers, who get them as tiny starter plants. They grow them on for a year (sometimes longer, depending on the plant), and then they are finally available at your local garden center to add to your landscape. In some cases, small specimens of brand-new varieties will be available for ordering online.
Learn more about our reblooming hydrangea trialing process.
Learn more about our extensive rose trialing process.
Ready to plant the best in your garden or landscape? Explore all 320+ Proven Winners ColorChoice Shrubs now.