All-American Selections Winners for 2018

small white flowers planted in a wood container with stone behind it

Every year, the Trial and Display Garden at Reiman Gardens evaluates new plants for All-American Selections (AAS), a nationally recognized non-profit organization. AAS has been operating since 1933 with the mission of promoting new plant cultivars that have superior garden performance. AAS has announced 12 national winners so far for 2018 based on trials from over 200 gardens in 2017. Keep these cultivars in mind when selecting seeds to start in the following months!

Canna ‘South Pacific Orange’ F1 — Takii & Co., Ltd. – A compact, vigorous, and uniform Canna with vivid orange flowers and bright green foliage. A great plant for containers and landscapes. Home gardeners can easily start this canna from seed to create a bold, tropical look in any landscape.

Cuphea ‘FloriGlory Diana’— Westhoff – A Mexican Heather with larger-than-average magenta flowers and dark foliage. This cultivar is compact, heat tolerant, and long blooming. This winner is a vegetatively propagated plant, so look for it at garden centers this spring.

Gypsophila ‘Gypsy White Improved’— Sakata Seed – An abundance of large, semi-double white flowers make this plant sparkle. ‘Gypsy White Improved’ has good branching and a mounding growth habit making it perfect for containers or the garden border. ‘Gypsy White Improved’ could also make a great accent plant for specialty purposes such as fairy gardens or railroad gardens—the scale is perfect!

Marigold ‘Super Hero Spry’— Ernst Benary – A compact French Marigold with stable dark maroon and golden petals and dark foliage. This plant is self-cleaning, so no deadheading necessary! French Marigolds are a sweet way to edge a garden, but new genetics improve this marigold over what you might remember from your grandmother’s garden.

Pak Choi ‘Asian Delight’ F1— Seed Solutions of America – A pak choi that does not bolt in the heat of summer, doubling the expected yield. The small heads on ‘Asian Delight’ have tasty white rib and dark green leaves. We were really impressed at Reiman Gardens by this pak choi’s resistance to heat—all of the comparison plants sent up flower stalks before growing to “baby”-sized, but ‘Asian Delight’ grew through the heat and did not taste bitter at all.

Cayenne Pepper ‘Red Ember’ F1 — Johnny’s Selected Seeds – A spicy cayenne pepper that matures earlier than other cultivars. ‘Red Ember’ tastes great and packs a tasty heat perfect for DIY-hot sauce creators. Cayenne is reported to boost your body’s metabolism and this pepper is a fast way to test for yourself.

Habanero Pepper ‘Roulette’ F1  — Monsanto/Seminis Home Garden – A habanero with all the citrusy flavor but little to none of the heat! Fruits are large and uniform. As the cultivar name hints, you may occasionally get a hot pepper, but the gamble is definitely worth it for this tasty winner!

Tomato ‘Valentine’ F1 — Johnny’s Selected Seeds – A grape tomato with the taste of a Roma. This plant is early to mature and prolific, and the fruit is crack-resistant and firm. ‘Valentine’ is a sweet treat that registers high on the Brix (which measures sugar content) and is ready early and often to provide grape tomatoes for recipes and in-garden snacking.

Zinnia ‘Queeny Lime Orange’ — Hugo Dittmar – A large dahlia-style zinnia with a peach/coral/orange gradient of petals. The cut flowers last 3 weeks in a vase without preservatives. This zinnia drew many looks in the trials at Reiman Gardens this year with its flower style and novel color. Blooms are uniform and perfect for bouquets. Additionally, pollinators love it in the garden!

Sweet Corn ‘American Dream’ – Illinois Foundation Seeds – Tender, super sweet kernels make ‘American Dream’ a fantastic sweet corn for roasting, grilling, canning, or freezing. The plant has excellent germination, early production, and grow 6-7’ tall. Make sure you beat the wildlife to this ear because it is just as tasty in the field as it is in the kitchen.

Ornamental Pepper ‘Onyx Red’ — Takii & Co., Ltd – The black foliage and shiny red fruit of this ornamental pepper makes a statement in the garden. This tidy annual can be used in containers, borders, or dramatic mass plantings. ‘Onyx Red’ is more compact than other popular ornamental peppers like ‘Black Pearl’ and the fruits turn red much earlier for an eye-catching contrast.

Cocktail Tomato ‘Red Racer’ F1 — EarthWork Seeds/Garden Trends Wholesale – A small, cocktail size fruit with a good sweet/acid balance and high yields. Cocktail tomatoes are advertised as being a “two-bite tomato” which makes them perfect for salads and appetizers (I loved them roasted too!). ‘Red Racer’ is a determinate plant, making it a manageable size for containers and patios, perfect for popping out the door to make a quick Caprese!

We trialed these plants this past year here at Reiman Gardens, and will be displaying them again next year! Please come check out our Trial and Display Garden next summer to see these great plants and new plants we are trialing for 2019!

CLICK HERE to see the entire list of plants trialed at Reiman Gardens in 2017. CLICK HERE to learn more about All-American Selections.

Prepared by Lindsey Smith, Collections Curator