All-American Selections Winners for 2020

close up dark red coleus plantp lantted in a container

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 10 national winners for 2020 based on their performance in trails garden in 2019. Keep these cultivars in mind when selecting seeds to start in the following months! Comments by our AAS Trial Judge, Jessie Liebenguth, are below.

  • Coleus Main Street Beale Street – The first Coleus to be named an AAS Winner. The deep red leaves are fade resistant and flowers 6 weeks later than most other cultivars. Grows well in full sun and full shade.
  • Cucumber ‘Green Light’ F1 – A miniature cucumber with high yields, early maturity, and consistently sized 3-4” fruits. Fruit is spineless. Seedless.
    • Very popular in the breakroom–small snacking size made them the perfect addition to lunches. Plants lasted well past the comparisons and produced fruits that continued to be juicy and mild, even in the heat of late summer.
  • Echinacea Sombrero ‘Baja Burgundy’ – A herbaceous perennial winner with vibrant violet-red flowers. Perennials are trialed for three years to test hardiness, habit, and bloom consistency. Baja Burgundy has study branching and floriferous.
    • Shockingly few issues with rabbits once the plants were established. Vibrant color and pollinator magnet!
  • Pea ‘Snak Hero’ – Dwarf plants reach 18-24” tall and produce long pods of sweet snap peas. ‘Snak Hero’ is noted as being very sweet, stringless, and great to eat garden-fresh as well as in stir-fries.
    • Tasty pea that would do just as well in containers on a patio or balcony as it would in the ground.
  • Pumpkin ‘Blue Prince’ F1 – An attractive blue, flattened pumpkin that flowers and fruits earlier in the season. The golden flesh is noted as being savory sweet, non-stringy, and creamy.
    • Sweet flesh and a beautiful color! Great for fall decorating AND fall eating!
  • Rudbeckia x ‘American Gold Rush’ – A compact Rudbeckia that is resistant to the leaf spot that discolors the foliage of ‘Goldsturm’. The golden-yellow, arched flowers appear form July to September. 
    • Longer-blooming and showier than comparisons. Very charming!
  • Tomato ‘Apple Yellow’ F1 – An apple-shaped tomato with a sweet, citrusy taste and a meaty texture. Fruit does not split and is produced abundantly.
    • A very interesting tomato in a shape I had not seen before. The flavor was very bright and acidic. If you don’t eat smaller tomatoes because they’re too sweet, this could be the tomato you’re looking for. If you love eating sweet tomatoes, you might enjoy this change of taste.
  • Tomato ‘Celano’ F1 – A grape tomato with a bushy habit. Flesh is sweet and small.
    • Stayed in the trials late into September and continued to produce delicious tomatoes. Very bushy and will need some staking, but a great performer that exhibited better disease resistance during a very rainy trial season.
  • Tomato ‘Early Resilience’ F1 – A round, roma tomato that is good for canning and cooking. Resistant to blossom end rot, Verticillium, Fursarium, and Alternaria. Fruits ripen by the middle of July in Iowa.
    • Unfortunately, these did not do well here last year – too rainy for romas.
  • Watermelon ‘Mambo’ F1 – A plant that produces round, sweet melons even in cloudy and cool conditions. This selection does not overripen as quickly as others and the vines were noted as healthy and vigorous.
    • Matured earlier than the comparisons on very vigorous vines.

We trialed these plants here at Reiman Gardens last year, and will be displaying them again next year to compare them against new introductions. Please come check out our Trial and Display Garden in 2020!

Prepared by Lindsey Smith, Collections Curator