University of Vermont Extension
Department of Plant and Soil Science
FLOWERS FOR 2013
Dr. Leonard Perry, Extension
University of Vermont
Each year the best of the new
flowers, blooming the first year from seed, and new vegetables are
winners by the All-America Selections (AAS) program. These winners
are the result of trials across
North America, against existing cultivars (cultivated varieties)
exist. In this program, the new
introduction must show some new or improved trait. There are three
new AAS winning flowers for
2013. All grow best in well-drained
soils, unless noted, and full sun. Keep well-fertilized after
Canna ‘South Pacific Scarlet’ is
only the second canna to be a winner since this program began in
other being ‘Tropical Rose’ in 1992. It
is the first F1 hybrid seed canna (being a cross of a couple
plants), and so is more vigorous than other cannas from seed.
Since, to be a winner, plants must be grown
from seeds and bloom the first year, this is the case with this
canna. Similar to others, though, it will form a
“rhizome” (thickened, underground stem) which must be overwintered
in the north
(zones 6 and colder) indoors, where not freezing.
‘South Pacific’ can reach 4 to 5
feet tall, with 6 to 7 flowering stems per plant, blooms being
scarlet. It blooms early, through much of the summer,
and will take light frosts in fall.
Also, like other cannas, this tender perennial tolerates wet
as along pond edges. Figure on about 12
weeks from sowing seeds to the first flower.
If planting in beds rather than
pots, allow 18 to
24 inches between plants.
Echinacea ‘Cheyenne Spirit’ is a
coneflower winner, the only other one being ‘PowWow Wild Berry’ in
2010. Even though a hardy perennial, this
coneflower will bloom the first year from seed.
Just allow plenty of time, though, from sowing to first flowers—24
weeks—meaning a January sowing.
Otherwise, you’ll need to wait another year to see the flowers.
This coneflower is actually a mix,
plants coming in colors of purple, pink, orange, light yellow,
white. Unlike some coneflowers, this one
is sturdy, not toppling easily in wind and rain. It is low
maintenance, needing little water
once established, and not needing “deadheading” (removing flowers
bloom) in order to flower through much of the late summer. Figure
on plants 2 feet or slightly taller,
and space in the garden a couple feet apart.
Geranium ‘Pinto Premium White to
Rose’ is another F1 hybrid, noted for its unique flower
and changing to rose. Also, its blooms
are earlier than many geraniums, large (to 5-inches across), and
long-lasting. Leaves are attractive,
too, with darker zones. It performs well
These geranium plants reach about a
foot high, up to 2 feet when in flower, and flowers don’t need
deadheading. Figure on a garden spacing
of 12 to 18 inches, and about 12 weeks or more from sowing to first
blooms. If you can’t find this one,
other similar annual geraniums are ‘Pinto Blush’ and ‘Maverick
Ratings on how many other new
flowers have performed at our AAS display garden on the Burlington
can be found online (perrysperennials.info/aaswp.html).