Heritage: Fall 2021

Laura Masor poses in a greenhouse full of colorful flowers.

Laura Masor: Combining the Science of Nature and Art

Laura Masor
’09, BS Interdisciplinary Agriculture-Horticulture and Crop Science
Ball FloraPlant Annual Flowering Plant Breeder,
Arroyo Grande, CA

Through the breeding of annual flowering plants, Laura Masor brings joy, color and life to people all over the world by doing something she is passionate about.

From her home in Arroyo Grande, California, Masor creates new varieties through hybrid crossing and selection. She then travels around the world collecting data on the performance of her selected plants, looking for those with the most desirable traits in a variety of environments. The top performing plants are then chosen to go to the commercial market.

“Ornamental plant breeding is unique, because it truly combines art and science,” Masor said. “A certain flower form or color combination can be envisioned; but by knowing the science behind those traits, a breeder can reach those goals more efficiently and effectively.”

Research shows the pandemic has caused an increase in gardening and growing houseplants; and Masor’s work, available in nurseries around the world, ensures individuals have more beautiful and easy-to-care-for options to choose from.

“People are becoming more interested in having ornamental and food crops in and around their homes. COVID saw a lot of people stuck at home, and tending to plants was one healthy way to deal with the stress of the pandemic,” she said. “The horticulture industry as a whole is growing, and I expect it will continue to grow.”

She said her initial passion and knowledge of plants can be traced back to her undergraduate ‘roots’ where her ideal career path was planted. After graduating from SHSU, Masor attended graduate school and went on to earn a doctorate degree.

“Plant breeding was an unknown career to me until I was deep into my horticulture degree at SHSU. While at Sam, I learned the basic horticultural and agricultural knowledge that would be the backbone of my career.”