Choose superior plants
Look for field-tested labels
If you have shopped for plants, you may have noticed some in Proven Winners pots or with Proven Winners plant sticks that represent a licensed cultivar that has passed a variety of field and greenhouse tests to be considered the best of the best for this company. They are selected for their vigor and ease of care, disease resistance and visual punch.
Proven Winners is not the only line of plants that are tested and branded for sale. There are many companies that have branded plants (Monrovia, Hort Couture, etc.) and many options when choosing the best plants for your landscape and your containers each year.
One example of a review of all of these is the All American Selections, which can be found at https://all-americaselections.org/.
Also, The Ohio State University and other university do many trials to compare the best of the best when it comes to plants.
The rest of this article details my personal experiences with Proven Winners plants as one option for choosing superior plants.
Plants are not selected to be Proven Winners the first year out. They are tested for two to three years, passing quality standards like insect and disease resistance that requires less chemicals and benefits you and the environment. The ability to tolerate heat and humidity and, of course, they are selected for their nonstop color and abundance of blooms.
The only ones selected become the stars in our flowerbeds, window boxes, planters or hanging baskets.
They are field-tested in various areas around the globe. I had the opportunity to visit two of the testing gardens during the Michigan Garden Trials Tour given every summer around the end of July and the first week of August. They are free and open to the public and there is so much to see and learn.
Tours are self-guided or you can ask for a guide (which I did as I order thousands of Proven Winners petunias, Supertunias, thunbergias, verbena, canna, guara and helianthus, just to name a few).
Four Star Greenhouse in Carrolton, Mich., had beautifully manicured beds in their one-acre trial garden. They show each cultivar in its optimum condition and you can see where hours of care have gone into their display.
There is nothing for sale at these trial gardens, so take your camera and good notes for when you look for them in your local greenhouse or nursery.
Another trial garden that included Proven Winners as well as other branded plants was Michigan State University trial garden on the campus of MSU in East Lansing. They are truly more trial-based because if a plant fails, they leave it to use as a learning tool for the future horticulturalist coming from the fine horticulture program there.
I use Proven Winners every chance I get in my beautification efforts in my downtown and because I know I will get great results. As an added bonus, the Vista supertunias never need dead-heading, they have colorful blooms all season, are disease- and insect-resistant and the Bubblegum (with a vigor rating of 4 out of 4) was named 2017 plant of the year, exceeding expectations in a variety of growing zones and weather conditions. I recommend regular feeding for best production.
Remember, you need to consult the label of the fertilizer you use to ensure you are following proper directions.
I have just touched on the annuals, but Proven Winners also offers shrubs, grasses and perennials.
For more details on OSU Extension’s trials of annual plants, which include Burpee, Johnny’s Selected Seeds and Proven Winners, go to http://go.osu.edu/osutrials. There are details about visiting some of the trial gardens at this site.