From a very young age, Hans Hansen has been living and breathing plants. Raised on a dairy farm in SW Minnesota where he had a keen interest in plants, his early passion was lilies, peonies, and iris. Today, he is employed at Walters Gardens, Inc. where he is head of the hybridizing department. In a nutshell, Hansen is one of the premier plant breeders for all sorts of plants.
After college, Hansen worked at the former Shady Oaks Nursery in Waseca, MN as Director of R & D. Hansen revolutionized tissue culture techniques for many genera including Hosta, Arisaema and Agave. At Shady Oaks, he managed tissue culture plants and the annual production of over one million hostas. During this time, Hans developed Hosta ‘Rainbow’s End’, ‘Earth Angel’, ‘Stained Glass’, ‘Pandora’s Box’, ‘Neptune’, and ‘Prairie Sky’.
Then, in 2009, Hans moved to Michigan to work for Walters Gardens ‒ one of North America’s leading wholesale perennial growers ‒ and became Director of New Plant Development. When Walters became the perennial supplier for the Proven Winners brand, Hansen’s influence upon perennials further expanded. He has made dramatic improvement in many plant genera in the past twelve years, working with over 75 genera including Agastache, Baptisia, Buddlea, Clematis, Digiplexis, Helleborus, Heuchera, Heucherella, Hibiscus, Lagerstroemia, Mangave, Nepeta, Salvia, Sedum and Veronicax, among others.