Growing extraordinary plants is critical to the success of your business and reputation. That’s why GPN compiles a list each year of all the award winners from various floriculture organizations in the United States and abroad.
All-America Selections, American Hosta Growers Association, American Hosta Society, Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers, Fleuroselect and Perennial Plant Association are dedicated to offering growers, retailers and gardeners valuable information on new varieties. Judges for each association use standardized grading systems to rate their performance. Tested and trialed for beauty, hardiness, color, strength and versatility, these varieties impressed judges with their exceptional characteristics.
AMERICAN GARDEN AWARD
‘TigerEye Gold’ Goldsmith Seeds
This variety grabbed the attention of voters with its prolific display of brilliant 3-inch golden blooms. Voters also appreciated the compact habit of the 16 to 24 inch tall plants. The long-lasting golden dark eyed blooms made a strong statement while showing their hybrid tolerance to heat, humidity and powdery mildew. This most popular winner guarantees fantastic season-long color in gardens, mixed containers and landscapes.
‘Baby Duck Yellow’
Ball Horticultural Co.
This petunia won because voters loved the way it brightened and blanketed the garden with its multitudes of soft yellow trumpet shaped blooms. Voters saw that the 11/2-inch blooms didn’t wilt in summer’s heat, humidity or rain. Blooms completely covered the 18 to 24 inch plants that didn’t need deadheading or cutting back. Fast growing ‘Baby Duck Yellow’ spreads 30-36 inches and will rapidly fill-in gardens and containers.
‘Northern Lights Lavender’
This pentas’ large, lacy masses of lavender flower clusters attracted hummingbirds, butterflies and consumer voters alike. These 4- to 6-inch clusters of star-shaped florets covered the tropical-looking plants, which stand 18 to 24 inches high. This pentas, a breeding breakthrough, performed well throughout the country, showing off its tolerance to Northern temperatures as low as 50° F, as well as a love for rigorous Southern heat.
PERENNIAL PLANT ASSOCIATION
Blue false indigo grows 3 to 4 feet tall and wide in an upright habit. This exceptional perennial grows across a wide range of zones and is one of the most adaptable native species. Newly emerging shoots produce violet-blue, lupine-like flowers in 10- to 12-inch erect racemes atop flower stems that extend well above the foliage mound of clover-like, blue-green leaves. The spring flowers are present for three to four weeks. The common name, blue false indigo, refers to the use of this perennial by early Americans as a dye.
‘Villa Roma Scarlet’ is the first Lathyrus odoratus to win the Fleuroselect Gold Medal. It impressed judges with its bright color, overall attractiveness and garden performance. Flowering profusely from July to September, this variety is suitable for both professional and consumer use for container gardening, hanging baskets and full-ground direct sowing. For plug production, it can be sown as early as January; for direct sowing in the garden, it can be sown in April and May.
‘Double Zahara Fire’
A double award winner this year (see below for its second mention), this exciting cultivar stunned judges with its beauty, disease resistance and garden performance. ‘Double Zahara Fire’ has been developed for use in mass landscape plantings in high light and warm temperate climates. It is a must for borders and containers.
ALL AMERICA SELECTIONS
‘Double Zahara Fire’
Like its mate ‘Double Zahara Cherry’ (below), this disease-resistant variety is crowned with 21/2-inch, fully double flowers. ‘Double Zahara Fire’ has proven leaf spot and mildew resistance. There is less risk of plant loss while growing these zinnias under cool, low-light conditions. Plants will continue to bloom from spring to the end of the growing season, with little garden maintenance. Mature plants will be about 14 inches tall and spread 12 inches. Similar to all zinnias, this AAS winner will perform best in full sun and thrive on summer heat.
‘PowWow Wild Berry’
This purple coneflower differs from all others for flower color, branching and plant size. It boasts 3- to 4-inch, deep rose–purple flowers that retain color on the plant longer. Plants were tested across the United States and Canada. This first-year flowering perennial has a basal branching habit, resulting in more flowers per plant. Reaching a height of 20-24 inches in full sun, this AAS winner blooms continuously without the need for deadheading. ‘PowWow Wild Berry’ is an intermediate day-length flowering variety with rapid and uniform flowering at 14 hours, flowering approximately 20 weeks after sowing.
‘Moonsong Deep Orange’
AAS judges noted that this variety’s intense, deep-orange flower color could not be captured by photo. The fade-resistant orange flowers make others look more golden than orange. This unique color is one of the plant’s three desirable, improved traits. The flower size, from 21/2 to 31/2 inches, and fully double blooms rank among the best of its class. Easy to grow in a 5- to 6-inch pot, plants will flower in about 70 days under short days or 84 days under long-day growing conditions. ‘Moonsong Deep Orange’ is vigorous and tolerates stress such as heat or drought.
‘Endurio Sky Blue Martien’
Winner of the Cool Season Award category, ‘Endurio Sky Blue Martien’ is a unique spreading/mounding viola that may look delicate but delivers tough performance in the garden. In mild southern regions it flowers throughout the winter. In northern temperate climates, it dazzles gardeners with two-season color. It can also be planted in early spring, covering planters and landscapes with sky-blue blooms well into summer. It is suited to window boxes and hanging gardens, as well as balcony and patio planters.
‘Double Zahara Cherry’
This interspecific cross of zinnia species has resulted in dependable resistance to leaf spot and mildew diseases. Growers can easily produce flowering ‘Double Zahara Cherry’ plants for spring sales without the fear of plant loss at the hands of these pathogens. Recommended for 4-inch or larger pots, the symmetrical dark-green plants produce fully double 21/2-inch blooms. Early to bloom (in about eight to 10 weeks), it has fewer inputs and more reliability. Growing in full sun, this AAS winner will mature at about 12 inches tall and wide.
ASSOCIATION OF SPECIALTY CUT FLOWER GROWERS
Another variety of the popular Karma series of cut-flower dahlias, Naomi produces dark-red flowers on 40-inch stems. Its strong stems and long vase life make it ideal for cut flower production and an ASCFG favorite.
Green seedheads open into an airy panicle with red tips, later maturing to bronze-red. It makes an excellent filler in mixed bouquets, with stems reaching 24-32 inches.
This woody shrub was chosen for its reliable flowering, attractive fall coloring and red fruits. Stems can be cut from 2 to 8 feet long, and flowers used at either white or green stages. Flowers last five to 10 days.
AMERICAN HOSTA GROWERS ASSOCIATION
Scolnick, Solberg 2002
A sport of ‘Halcyon’, ‘First Frost’ is a frosty, white-edged hosta. Blue leaves emerge with a wide margin that matches the wonderful color of the center of ‘June’, another ‘Halcyon’ sport and 2001 Hosta of the Year; the leaves turn pure white if grown in half a day of bright light. Lavender flowers bloom in July. It has excellent color and substance, and will look unblemished in the garden until “first frost.”
AMERICAN HOSTA SOCIETY
After several years of buildup, the first Benedict Medal for Garden Performance Hosta was selected in 2009. ‘June’ will grow 16 inches high and 36 inches wide. Its heart-shaped leaves are 6 inches long and 4 inches wide. Lavender flowers appear on 20-inch scapes in August. ‘June’, a sport of ‘Halcyon’, was found in tissue culture.