As the year comes to an end, this is an opportune time to evaluate the past season and plan for 2018. As you begin making selections for your plant offerings, you’ll want to choose varieties that will be eye-catching on the bench and ensure outstanding performance in the garden.
The following varieties impressed judges from various organizations in the U.S. and abroad, and should be candidates for your 2018 lineup.
Calibrachoa ‘MiniFamous Double Pink’
The latest addition to the MiniFamous series, ‘MiniFamous Double Pink’ features a strengthened root system ensuring an excellent shelf life. Consumers will appreciate the magnificent double flowers and continuous garden performance from May to October.
With abundant, continuous flowering, ‘Elise Ruby Red’ will stand out at retail with its unique, radiant color and impressive shelf life. This sun-loving succulent stands up to heat and drought and blooms all season long.
Zinnia ‘Profusion Red’
A double winner (see AAS winners), ‘Profusion Red’ impressed Fleuroselect judges with its striking red color. Retailers will appreciate this low-maintenance, disease-tolerant zinnia.
AmericanHosta Growers Association
This medium-sized hosta displays large, heavily corrugated gold leaves with a wide green margin. Near white flowers grow in early summer. Finished size is 22 inches tall by 35 inches wide.
This celosia is the first-ever AAS winner from Japanese breeding company Murakami Seed. In the garden, ‘Asian Garden’ was a continuous bloomer on sturdy stems and kept its bright pink color all summer long. Judges noted that this variety was a pollinator magnet.
Joining its sister 2006 AAS Winner ‘Supra Purple’, ‘Supra Pink’ delivers three seasons of color in this easy-to-grow interspecific dianthus. This compact, bushy plant requires no deadheading. One judge attempted to deadhead this entry, but it rebloomed too fast to do so!
This new addition to the well-known interspecific Calliope series presents deep red velvety flowers on strong stems. This plant works great in containers, combination plantings, hanging baskets and in-ground landscapes.
This penstemon was judged as a first-year flowering perennial, and judges were impressed with its upright plant habit and superb flowering performance. ‘Twizzle Purple’ is a North American native and can be used to add height to combination planters or in landscapes for high-impact color.
This is the first petunia to receive an AAS award for its delightful fragrance and striking color. As the name implies, the scent is stronger in the evening hours, but it can be experienced during the day as well. ‘Evening Scentsation’ is a medium-sized multiflora type, reaching 5 to 8 inches tall and 30 to 35 inches wide.
The EnduraScape series is known for its ability to tolerate drought and heat as well as cooler temperatures down to the low teens. This long-blooming pink bicolor verbena is striking in the landscape, and in large containers and baskets. Consumers will enjoy the abundant soft pink blossoms that darken toward the center of the blooms.
This exciting new vinca produces extra-large, bright purple blooms with a wide white eye. Plants maintain a nice, dense habit with flowers remaining above the foliage for full flower power color.
Sister to Orchid Halo, Pink Halo produces huge soft pink blooms with a white eye. Both varieties offer outstanding heat and humidity tolerance without succumbing to disease. These flowers present a striking look in the garden, even from a distance.
Red is the fourth color in the Profusionseries to win an AAS award. Gardeners will appreciate that it is easy to grow and a favorite with pollinators. ‘Profusion Red’ presents vibrant, true red blooms on a compact, disease- resistant plant that blooms all season long.
Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers
Winner of the Fresh Flower category, this elegant flower boasts large blooms that range from soft pink or peach to creamy beige with a hit of mocha. ‘Café au Lait’ is particularly popular with event and wedding designers for its lushness and easy-to-blend colors.
This North American native shrub wins the Woody Stem category and has become a mainstay foliage source for summer and fall arrangements. It features purple-bronze leaves that can be greenish in late summer in warm climates.
Winning the Bulb category, this double- flowered, late tulip is one of the most sought- after tulips on the market today. It presents a unique rose-plum color that transforms to a lighter, almost peach-yellow shade with hints of white edging along the petals.
Perennial Plant Association
Commonly known as butterfly weed, this striking perennial is native to the U.S. (except the Northeast) and, as the name suggests, is a butterfly magnet. With vibrant orange, red and yellow flowers, butterfly weed is a lovely addition to sunny gardens and also makes an excellent cut flower.