All-America Selections (AAS) has chosen its 2005 winners, all of which were tested across North America and were found to be superior to existing varieties. These cultivars meet gardeners’ preferences for plants that are easy to grow and maintain and have maximum flower power or fruit. A few winners to note include ‘Arizona Sun’ Gaillardia aristata, ‘First Kiss Blueberry’ vinca and ‘Magellan Coral’ zinnia F1.
Arizona sun, unlike other Gaillardia aristata, is being awarded as an annual based on its superior performance the first summer grown from seed or started plants. It may over-winter as a perennial, but AAS promises gardeners will be impressed with it during the first year, as it is very floriferous. It grows to 8-10 inches high and 10-12 inches wide. Finishing time from seed is 90-100 days.
First Kiss Blueberry is the first violet-blue vinca, according to AAS. Early flowering from seed, once plants begin to produce blooms, the plants will continue to bud and display blooms in spit of the heat or humidity. It grows to 10-12 inches high and 14-16 inches wide. Finishing time from seed is 60-70 days.
Magellan Coral’s flower color, flower form and plant uniformity are significant improvements over other Zinnia elegans . Neither too tall nor too short, it is valuable in small space gardens or lengthy landscape borders. It grows to 12-17 inches tall and 15-19 inches wide. Finishing time from seed is 6-9 weeks.
Look for more information in the May 2005 issue of GPN. Until then, visit www.all-americaselections.org  to find the rest of the winners and more details on those mentioned above.