Proven Winners ColorChoice Announces 2018 Shrub Madness National Champ
After a month-long battle, ‘Zinfin Doll’ hydrangea paniculata has been crowned Proven Winners ColorChoice 2018 Shrub Madness champion.
The plant bracket competition, Shrub Madness, is 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.
This year’s Floral Four included ‘Pugster Amethyst’ buddleia, ‘Let’s Dance Blue Jangles’ hydrangea macrophylla, ‘Czechmark Trilogy’ weigela and ‘Zinfin Doll’ hydrangea. After a month of voting, ‘Zinfin Doll’ hydrangea paniculata emerged from a crowded field of 64 contenders to become the 2018 champion.
Developed five years ago, Shrub Madness is the brainchild of the marketing department at Spring Meadow Nursery, Grand Haven, Michigan. Spring Meadow Nursery is the developer of the Proven Winners ColorChoice brand of shrubs.
“Shrub Madness is excellent market research,” said Spring Meadow marketing specialist Shannon Downey, “It’s an effective way to find out first-hand what customers respond to and what they’ll be looking for when planting season begins … it’s an inside look at what they want and need in their yards this season.”
This research is useful because it gives the company an opportunity to challenge internal preconceived notions about plant popularity and helps to inform marketing decisions going forward.
“This has been a fantastic year for Shrub Madness. We ended up just shy of 275,000 votes and had over 7,000 people register. That’s a 207 percent increase in votes and 196 percent increase in registered Shrub Madness website users,” said Stacey Hirvela, Spring Meadow marketing specialist and horticulturist. “While everyone in the marketing department puts lot of time, effort, and of course, love, into Shrub Madness, there’s simply no better, more cost-effective way to advertise so many plants … we accomplish more engagement with our plants and our brand with this contest than we do with anything else.”
Introduced to garden centers in 2016, ‘Zinfin Doll’ panicle hydrangea is loaded with beautiful, dense blooms that emerge pure white, and then turn bright pink from the bottom up as the season progresses. The blooms then age to a dark red-pink in the fall. The hydrangea’s large, unique blooms, held up on strong stems and the plant’s overall exceptional hardiness, make this plant a stand out and helped propel it to victory in the 2018 Shrub Madness competition.
Shrub Madness players were once again given several opportunities to score dozens of prizes. At the end of each round, samples of top-scoring plants were awarded to participants. The player with the bracket prediction closest to the tournament’s results received the grand prize “Floral Four and Plant Geek Swag Bag.”
The list of winners can be found on the Shrub Madness website, www.ShrubMadness.com.