Seedling of the Year Awards
(Awarded in June of 2021)

Growers/hybridizers should evaluate their own seedlings for a period of at least one year, in every growing season. They either graft the original seedlings, or propagate from cuttings so that they can judge if the cloned seedling will perform as well or better than the original seedling grown from seed. During this evaluation period they might choose to ask one or two others to grow a plant and add their evaluation to the hybridizer's observations. When satisfied that he has a unique seedling, or one that is similar to, but better than, a cultivar already in commerce, the hybridizer should register it with the American Hibiscus Society Nomenclature Officer before entering the bloom in a sanctioned AHS show. Most of these seedlings will have at least a working name, but the bloom may be entered with just a number. If his bloom wins a Best of Show Seedling (BOSS) Award, the cultivar must be named on the spot and breeding information furnished to the Show Chairman if this information is not already on the registration form. If the bloom has not been previously registered, it must be done at the time it wins the Best of Show Seedling Award. These registration forms are included in the Show Packet, and the Show Chairman will mail the registration form to the Nomenclature Officer. Seedlings must be registered to be considered for the SOTY competition.

BOSS wood must be furnished to the Designated Propagator by the June convention following the win. The hybridizer must furnish enough seedling wood to clone at least 10 plants to the Designated Propagator who will graft plants and send one to each member of the AHS Seedling Evaluation Committee. This Committee will grow these plants for three years, reporting their findings twice each year to the entire Society at the two Membership Meetings held in June and November. At the November Membership Meeting in the third year of evaluation, the Committee will select the four best seedlings to be considered for Hibiscus of the Year. A final evaluation is made in the spring to finish determining the Hibiscus of the Year.

An example: The seedling class of 2017 provided the winning SOTY for 2021. In March, the Chairman of the SEC sends the final evaluation form to SEC members who rate the final four candidates. On a scale of 1 - 10, each cultivar is rated on four different attributes: Plant Vigor; Plant Appearance; Bloom Features; Bloom Frequency. The Committee Chairman averages the final four evaluations to determine the order of finish. He notifies the Executive Secretary who arranges for the appropriate plaques, pictures and certificates to be announced and awarded at the AHS Annual Convention in June.

Notes: A new seedling may be shown only five times in a period of no more than five consecutive show years as a seedling. If a seedling bloom is entered in an exhibit category as a regular variety, by an exhibitor other than the hybridizer, even without the hybridizer's consent, it can no longer be shown as a seedling. When a seedling wins BOSS at any show it shall no longer be shown as a seedling, but then only as a standard variety. Unless patented, a BOSS may be propagated and sold by anyone, including members of the SEC. A sport must be grafted or grown on its own root before being shown.

Click here for a listing of all winners from 1971 to present.


Seedling of the Year -- Mocha Stone
Hybridized by Don & Carolyn Florus