close icon
leaf icon
leaf icon
leaf icon
calendar icon
Gardens To Visit
caret icon
Visit a PHS garden or landscape to help build stronger social connections with your community.
For Neighborhoods
caret icon
Explore programs that create healthy, livable environments and increase access to fresh food.
For Gardeners
caret icon
Engage with PHS on gardening, whether you’re an expert or a beginner.
About Us
caret icon
Get to know our story, become a part of our staff, or see what is in the news with PHS.
The Flower Show

Going for the Gold: New Database Showcases PHS Gold Medal Plants

January 21, 2021

leaf icon plants

leaf icon phs programs

2021 GMP Hero Revised

By Wendy Lam 

Want to know the best plants to add to your garden or growing space? Are you intrigued by the idea of being a new plant parent? PHS has you covered with our new Gold Medal Plant database! This exciting resource is perfect for beginners and experts alike. Our hope is that you will refer to this hub of plant information for your next growing adventure.  

How it Began 

The Gold Medal Plant program was established in 1979 with a donation from nurseryman J. Franklin Styer, owner of J. Franklin Styer's nursery in Concordville, PA. Originally called the J. Franklin Styer Award of Garden Merit, the name was changed to the PHS Gold Medal Plant Award in 1992. Once restricted to woody ornamentals, the award now recognizes exceptional perennials and pollinator-friendly plants as judged by a committee of PHS horticulturists, expert gardeners, nursery owners, and more.

Gold Medal Qualities 

Just as an Olympic athlete must be qualified for a gold medal, the plants chosen for each year's list earned their stars and stripes by meeting the criteria created by the PHS Gold Medal Plant Committee. Committee members study hundreds of plants each year to ensure quality recommendations for only the best-of-the-best. Plants are selected based on hardiness, ease of growing, weather tolerance, and pest resistance. With a deep passion for the environment and sustainability, PHS shares this valuable insight with all levels of gardeners, along with a desire to “Garden for the Greater Good.”  

Plant Species: Aronia melanocarpa ‘Viking’ Black Chokeberry, a 2020 Gold Medal Plant winner

"The new Gold Medal Plant database is an incredible tool which allows a user to find an amazing array of information on over 150 Gold Medal Plants.”

Andrew Bunting

PHS Vice President of Public Horticulture

leaf icon leaf icon leaf icon

Explore the Database 

We encourage you to explore the user-friendly database with decades of winners housed inside. It currently has 151 official Gold Medal plants just waiting to be discovered (or re-discovered)! The database categorizes each plant by its common name, plant type, foliage, colors, the year it was awarded, and other fields. With so many filters, you can customize and group settings to create your own distinctive search.

"The new Gold Medal Plant database is an incredible tool which allows a user to find an amazing array of information on over 150 Gold Medal Plants. Each entry has multiple images, as well as several categories of information that will help users find a plant that is a perfect fit for their garden's needs” says Andrew Bunting, PHS Vice President of Public Horticulture. 

View a Tutorial 

If you are more of a visual learner, no need to fret! We have created a tutorial video to help navigate the database. This brief video walks you through how to sort the plants and even explains how you can print a shopping list with the plants found through our database. After you explore our years of winners, make your selections now for your next planting!


PHS’s newest Gold Medal Plant Database is an accessible resource for anyone to use. Our hope is you are primed for success in your future horticultural endeavors. Stay tuned as PHS gets ready to announce the 2021 winners this Spring! 

Discover a Gold Medal Plant for Your Garden