Proven Winners ColorChoice crowned its 2019 Shrub Madness winner. Based on the college basketball playoffs, the contest is populated with a wide variety of Proven Winners ColorChoice shrubs, which compete throughout the month of March for the chance to be crowned National Champion.
Coming from a field of 64 contenders, the competition narrows to the Floral Four, then the final two after multiple rounds of voting. This year’s Floral Four included Pugster Blue Buddleia, Let’s Dance Rhythmic Blue bigleaf hydrangea, Suñorita rose, and Tuff Stuff Ah-Ha mountain hydrangea.
The last round of voting found Tuff Stuff Ah-Ha hydrangea with a slim lead over challenger Suñorita rose, but it steadily gained traction. In the final few hours of the competition, the hardy hydrangea defeated the winsome rose and was crowned the 2019 Shrub Madness National Champion.
Brand new to garden centers in 2019, Tuff Stuff Ah-Ha mountain hydrangea has large, waterlily-like double florets. It is also one of the most prolific reblooming hydrangeas ever seen. All summer long, it devotes its energies to creating flower buds on its new growth so that there is a constant supply of blooms from early summer through frost.
Developed six years ago, Shrub Madness is one example of how Proven Winners puts its marketing dollars to work to bring attention to its plants, and as a result, bring more customers into their local garden centers.
"Shrub Madness is the perfect vehicle to find out first-hand what shrubs are most interesting gardeners this year,” PR specialist Natalie Carmolli said. “It’s also a great way to spur some interest in newer varieties."
The competition also gives folks at Proven Winners ColorChoice an opportunity to challenge internal preconceived notions about which plants might be most popular with the public. The additional information that is gained as a result of the contest helps to inform marketing decisions going forward.
When asked if the contest seems to be gaining traction, Spring Meadow horticulturist Stacey Hirvela said, "This has been a fantastic year for Shrub Madness. This year we had over 6,000 participants who cast over 287,000 votes. There’s simply no better, more cost-effective way to bring attention to so many plants."
This year the Shrub Madness team took their popular “Shrubs Center” broadcast to Facebook Live, broadcasting at the beginning of each round of voting. Players were once again given several opportunities to score samples of top-scoring plants including the grand prize “Floral Four and Plant Geek Swag Bag.”For more information about Shrub Madness or to obtain a winners list go