The world’s only plant bracket contest, Shrub Madness, has entered its seventh year of competition. Each year this contest pits shrub-against-shrub in a single-elimination tournament. Based on the March college basketball playoffs, 64 Proven Winners ColorChoice shrubs will compete for the chance to be crowned national champion.
Spanning March 2-31, a selection of shrubs will move through six rounds of competition. Winners of each shrub matchup are chosen by popular vote via the website, www.shrubmadness.com, where participants can watch informative and inspirational videos, fill out their bracket predictions online and root for their favorites.
Flowering shrub varieties will enter the fray this season, including some brand-new varieties like, Illuminati Tower mock orange, Waxwing Gold mirror bush and Flying Machine Forsythia.
Voters will notice that there is a lack of hydrangeas in the brackets this year. When asked why these were removed from the lineup, Tim Wood, new product development manager commented: “Everyone loves the hydrangeas, of course — maybe too much, since they’ve won almost every Shrub Madness. So, we wanted to see what happened this year if they didn’t compete.”
This year the Shrub Madness team is also introducing a few more additions, like the Feb. 10-15 Instagram Wild Card round where participants can choose a bracket variety via Instagram Stories vote. Also included in this year’s new additions is “Shrub Madness-Libs.” Staff favorites will be read on Facebook Live starting Feb. 27. Go to shrubmadness.com/madness for more info.
Shrub Madness runs in prediction mode from Feb. 17 through Feb. 27 when players have the opportunity to create an account and fill out a prediction bracket. However, there’s no requirement to play in prediction mode to vote or to win prizes. During the month of March, participants who simply want to register and follow along will be awarded samples of top-scoring plants via random drawings.
Those who have filled out prediction brackets are eligible for the month-long plant drawings, plus, at the end of Shrub Madness, four bracket voters will be randomly selected to win a collection of the last four plants standing, known as the Floral Four. Also, the player with the bracket prediction closest to the final results will win a grand prize pack, the Floral Four and Plant Geek Swag Bag.
Last year, 288,000 votes were cast by over 6,200 registered participants, culminating in a Floral Four that included the Pugster Blue butterfly bush, Let’s Dance Rhythmic Blue bigleaf hydrangea, Suñorita rose and 2019 reigning National Champion, Tuff Stuff Ah-Ha mountain hydrangea.
To cast votes during the plant matchups, and to be eligible for end-of-round random prize drawings, players can register for an account on the Shrub Madness website now, and any time until the last round of the competition. A new account must be created each year to be eligible for prizes.