November/December 2018
Winners Circle By Jasmina Dolce

Choosing which plant varieties to keep stocked on your benches can be difficult. That’s why each year we put together this list of recent award winners. They’re proven performers from coast to coast and around the globe, and deserve your attention.

What characteristics do you look for when choosing which plants to offer your customers each year? Flower color, landscape strength, drought tolerance, disease resistance, container performance? Regardless what specific traits you seek, these awarded varieties have it all. Trialed and tested in the U.S. and abroad, these varieties impressed judges with their strength and beauty.

Perennial Plant Association

Allium ‘Millenium’

This butterfly magnet is perfect for full-sun gardens where its sleek structure can complement other growth habits. This plant provides interest through multiple seasons with its attractive foliage and large, gorgeous blooms. ‘Millenium’ grows best in full sun and is hardy to Zones 3 or 4 through 9.

All-America Selections

Ornamental pepper ‘Onyx Red’ (American Takii)

This naturally compact plant is perfect for potted plants, garden beds, borders and dramatic mass plantings. The color combination of the red and black fruit against the extremely black foliage creates season-long interest. Plants are vigorous, continually growing, while retaining their tidy habit.

Gypsophila ‘Gypsy White Improved’ (Sakata)

The larger, semi-double blooms on this improved variety will make the garden sparkle. ‘Gypsy White Improved’ forms a fluffy white mound that is perfect for containers, small spaces and garden beds. It features a much longer bloom season and better heat tolerance than ‘Gypsy Compact White’.

Canna ‘South Pacific Orange’ (American Takii)

Sister to 2013 AAS winner ‘South Pacific Scarlet’, this new winner offers an outstanding bloom color in an attractive vivid orange that contrasts beautifully with the bright green foliage. It is compact in habit and well suited for both landscape and container use. Pollinator gardens will appreciate this vigorous addition that boasts a long blooming season.

Cuphea ‘FloriGlory Diana’ (Westhoff)

According to AAS judges, this Mexican Heather was a winner due to its abundance of flowers, dark foliage and vibrant flower color. Gardeners will appreciate the compact (10 to 12 inch) size, longer flowering time, and heat and weather tolerance. The entire FloriGlory series is bred to have five times the flower power compared to standard cuphea.

Zinnia ‘Queeny Lime Orange’ (Hugo Dittmar, available through Floragran)

Boasting large, long-lasting, dahlia-like blooms, this variety provides cut flower gardeners with beautiful hues of dark coral, peach and orange. Trial garden visitors enjoyed the uniform plants that produced prolific deeply fluted petals. This zinnia is also a pollinator magnet.

Marigold ‘Super Hero Spry’ (Benary)

Judges raved about the uniform and stable color pattern on this French marigold. This compact variety presents dark maroon lower petals and golden yellow upper petals along with earliness to bloom. It performs into late summer, and no deadheading is required.


Calendula ‘Calexis Orange’ (Van Hemert & Co.)

‘Calexis Orange’ presents a brand-new flower shape with beautiful double cactus flowers and rolled petals. Consumers will appreciate the vivid color and innovative shape. This hardy annual is great in pots or borders, and will survive some light frost in winter or early spring.

Begonia ‘Fiona Red’ (American Takii)

With radiant-red, semi-double flowers, this begonia is an eye-catcher throughout the entire season. It features excellent garden performance, a long flowering window and nicely filled large flowers. ‘Fiona Red’ is self cleaning and provides color until first frost.

Zinnia ‘Queeny Lime Orange’ (Hugo Dittmar, available through Floragran)

This double award winner is a genuine break- through in breeding with its unique color combination. It flowers continuously and is a stunner in borders, but it can also be used as a cut flower in bouquets.

Osteospermum ‘Enrico’ (Florensis)

Compared to other osteospermums, ‘Enrico’ displays an abundance of blooms that flower throughout the season. The flowers do not close in the dark or in cool conditions, offering a nice benefit at retail. Consumers will enjoy the double flowers and long-lasting blooms.

Petunia ‘Success! HD Rose Star’ (Benary)

This vivid, large-flowered petunia performs well in pots and hanging baskets but also looks spectacular in garden beds. Judges were impressed with the star-patterned color combination on a genetically compact petunia. Consumers will appreciate its vigor in cooler climates.

Dahlia ‘Dalaya Amba’ (Selecta One)

With large, attractive flowers and a long shelf life, this new dahlia will be a standout at retail. It is a low-maintenance plant and is perfect for pollinators. Stunning in borders, its dark red flowers and bronze foliage make a statement in the garden as well as pots and containers.

American Hosta Growers Association

Hosta ‘World Cup’ (Beilsten/Zilis 2006)

Quickly becoming a very hot hosta variety, ‘World Cup’ forms an upright clump of deeply cupped, moderately wavy, deeply corrugated, bright gold foliage. Pale purple flowers appear in late June through early July.

Jasmina Dolce

Jasmina Dolce is managing editor of GPN magazine. She can be reached at [email protected]


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