Breeders & Hybridizers

We breed more than just plants. We also cultivate relationships with some of the most innovative nurseries and hybridizers in the world. This allows us to expand our horticultural capabilities, building on a 100-year old tradition of introducing innovative and improved varieties.

Breeder Bios

Our in-house breeding division
Our in-house breeding division applies modern techniques in plant genetics to the development of industry-worthy and consumer-friendly ornamental flowering plants. Focusing mostly on the development of roses and other high-value woody shrubs and perennials, they work under the same roof as the Star® Roses and Plants corporate headquarters in Pennsylvania allowing for year-round collaboration and involvement from all departments. The team supplies a steady pipeline of new varieties to Star® Roses and Plants for evaluation and trials each year.

Will Radler

Rose breeder Will Radler has revolutionized the way we think of roses. Many say that, with the creation of The Knock Out® Rose, he single-handedly brought rose genetics from the 20th century into the 21st century. The Knock Out® Rose, Radler’s first commercial success, has broken all records for sales of a new rose. Today The Knock Out® Rose is the most widely sold rose in North America.

Meilland International

Meilland International is a world-class rose breeder based in France with whom we have had a relationship for many, many years.  They have numerous AARS winners to their credit, and a plethora of notable series such as the Romantica® family of modern fragrant roses, the Meidiland® series of hardy, disease-resistant roses, Sunblaze®, developed as brightly colored container roses, and most recently, Drift® Groundcover Roses which are equally breakthrough.

Dr. Richard Lighty

Dr. Richard Lighty is an avid plantsman and has been an integral player in the world of horticulture. He is noted for establishing and directing the research program at Longwood Gardens, and he was the founding director of Mt. Cuba Center for the Study of Piedmont Flora in Northern Delaware. Dr. Lighty has named and introduced more than 30 cultivars. Hydrangea 'Annie’s Blue' is closely related to one of Lighty’s introductions, Hydrangea 'Blue Billows'. 'Annie’s Blue' displays a larger profusion of lace cap flowers that are deep blue when grown in acidic soils and mauve when grown in more neutral soils.

Jim Sproul

Amateur rose breeder Jim Sproul has had a passion for breeding roses for the past 20 years and is constantly on the lookout for new and novel roses. Over the years, he has met many other noted rose hybridizers who have guided, encouraged, and inspired him. Jim breeds roses at his home in Bakersfield, California where he loves to share his knowledge of rose breeding with others.

John Bagnasco

As an amateur breeder, John introduced his first rose in 2006. Tangerine Streams™ is his eleventh rose to be introduced. His breeding focuses on roses that perform well in borders, baskets and containers. John is also heavily involved in rose preservation and has worked to bring many rare roses back into culture.

Mike Farrow

Mike Farrow, propagator at Holly Hill Farms in Maryland, has a keen eye for selecting new plants. In recent years he has discovered and worked with us to introduce Veronica 'Tickled Pink', Echinacea Panther Pink™ and a new compact golden Spiraea named Lightning Strike™.

Suncrest Nurseries

Suncrest Nurseries in Watsonville, California, has been actively working on breeding and selecting Salvias since 2004. The first two patented varieties introduced through Conard-Pyle via the Suncrest Salvias are Salvia 'Dancing Dolls' and Salvia 'Shell Dancer' — both are very unique and stable bicolored selections. There are six total varieties in the series, offering a range of vibrant colors.

 

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