University of Vermont
Department of Plant and Soil Science
AAS FLOWER WINNERS FOR 2016
Dr. Leonard Perry, Horticulture Professor
University of Vermont
Each year the best of the new annual flowers are judged, and the winners
given the All-America Selections (AAS) designation. In the past
these have all been grown from seeds, but starting in 2015 those grown from
cuttings have been included as well. This year’s flower winners
include two annual geraniums, and a salvia.
To be an AAS winner, flowers must show improvements over any similar
existing cultivars (cultivated varieties). If grown from seeds, as
most are, they must bloom that year sown. So a few perennials that
bloom the first year from sowing have won as well.
In the past, the winners only were those that were deemed worthy across much
of North America. While there are still these “national” winners,
there are now regional winners as well—those performing particularly well in
a particular region.
Salvia Summer Jewel Lavender is one of these regional winners for 2016
(Southeast, Heartland, Great Lakes), although the other three colors in this
series have grown and bloomed quite well in the past in our Northeast region
too. This Texas sage is a different species from the usual bedding out
forms that most gardeners may know, having taller and thinner flower spikes
reaching 18 to 24 inches high. Flowers are spaced a bit more up the
stalks than with the compact bedding scarlet sages.
Summer Jewel salvias bloom through the summer, and are quite attractive to
bees and hummingbirds. The other colors in this series all have been
winners too—red (2011), pink (2012), and white (2015). All are easily
grown from seeds sown indoors about 8 weeks before planting outside.
There are two annual geraniums in the Brocade series that are national
flower winners for 2016—Cherry Night with semi-double blooms of cherry pink,
and Fire with semi-double orange blooms. Both reach 12 to 18
inches high, and should be spaced similarly apart. Brocade Cherry
Night has attractive bronze leaves with green margins, while Brocade Fire
has bicolor bright green leaves with dark centers. As with many other annual
geraniums, it helps with these to promote more blooms by removing
(“deadheading”) spent flowers. These two geraniums can be purchased as
plants grown from cuttings.
Each year, the last five years of winners are displayed in about 200
official All-America Selections gardens across North America, including our
own Waterfront Park in Burlington. If traveling this summer, make sure
to look up which gardens may be near your route
Also check out our ratings and listings online, along with some photos, of
which flowers have performed best in Vermont
(pss.uvm.edu/ppp/aaswp.html). Of the 100 or so new flowers in the
Burlington display garden each year, many are not All-America winners, and
most are those grown from cuttings.
One of our top flowers over several years has been the AAS winning (2011)
Glamour Red ornamental kale. It has very uniform, large bluish heads
with pink centers that last well and darken through fall. Moonsong
Deep Orange marigold, another AAS winner (2010) has large orange flowers
about 3-inches wide on plants about one foot or so high. We’ve had
good luck interplanting this marigold with a contrasting color, such as
purple alyssum or fan flower.
Return to Perry's Perennial