University of Vermont Extension 
Department of Plant and Soil Science

Winter/Spring News Article
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THREE NEW FLOWERS FOR 2013
 
Dr. Leonard Perry, Extension Professor
University of Vermont
 
           
Each year the best of the new flowers, blooming the first year from seed, and new vegetables are chosen as winners by the All-America Selections (AAS) program.  These winners are the result of trials across North America, against existing cultivars (cultivated varieties) where they 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 planting.
           
Canna ‘South Pacific Scarlet’ is only the second canna to be a winner since this program began in 1933, the other being ‘Tropical Rose’ in 1992.  It is the first F1 hybrid seed canna (being a cross of a couple particular parent 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 conditions, 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, cream, and 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 once past 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 color—starting white 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 in heat.
           
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 Appleblossom’.
           
Ratings on how many other new flowers have performed at our AAS display garden on the Burlington waterfront can be found online (perrysperennials.info/aaswp.html). 

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