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2014 All-America Selection Winners

submitted by Sarah Browning, UNL Extension Educator

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All-America Selections (AAS) celebrates 82 years of testing and introducing improved flowers and vegetables. Founded in 1932 to foster the development, production and distribution of new and improved horticultural and agricultural varieties of flowers, bedding plants and vegetables in North America, the organization evaluates plants at a network of almost 200 display gardens across the United States and Canada. Selection as an AAS Award winner recognizes a flower or vegetable for significant achievements, proven to be superior to all others on the market.

In 2014, AAS announces five national bedding plant award winners, 'Sparkle White' Gaura, 'Florific Sweet Orange' New Guinea Impatiens, 'Akila Daisy White' Osteospernum, 'NuMex Easter' ornamental pepper, and 'African Sunset' Petunia. This year there is also one flower award winner, called 'Serenita Pink' Angelonia. To see pictures of all these great plants visit the All-America Selection website, www.all-americaselections.org.

Gaura lindheimeri, commonly known as whirling butterflies, is a North American native plant found in Louisiana and Texas. It's tolerant of poor soils and grows well under difficult conditions. 'Sparkle White' gaura is no exception as a season-long bloomer with excellent heat tolerance. Delicate white flowers, with a pink blush are produced on tall, slender flower stalks, giving an airy feel to the garden. The ideal garden location provides full sun and well-drained soil, although partial sun is tolerated.

Hardy to Zone 6, 'Sparkle White' can be used by Nebraska gardeners as a tough summer annual, and in protected locations it may survive as a perennial from year to year. Plants reach 10-24 inches in height, and should be spaced 14-24 inches apart in the garden. It works well in masses toward the middle of the perennial garden. Seed is available from Harris, Park, and Stokes Seed.

'Florific Sweet Orange' New Guinea Impatiens produces large, bicolored flowers in shades of light salmon to deep orange. Plants are well-branched and quickly fill in containers or planting beds for season-long color. They provide a bright accent in shade or partially shaded gardens, and are resistant to impatiens downy mildew. Seed is available from Park Seed.

'Akila Daisy White' Osteospernum has beautiful clear white flowers with a yellow center, on compact, rounded 10-24" plants. Osteospernum is a relatively new bedding plant, first appearing in Nebraska garden centers in the late 1990s. They are profuse bloomers in spring and fall, but usually stop blooming during summer's heat. 'Akila Daisy White' blooms non-stop all summer; even southern judges praised its ability to flower during summer heat. Once established, plants are also drought tolerant. Plant in full sun. Seed is available from Park and Stokes Seeds.

'NuMex Easter' ornamental pepper bursts with brightly colored fruits in shades of lavender, light yellow and orange on compact 10" plants. Ornamental peppers are easy to grow, and their colorful fruits add a fun and unique accent to containers or planting beds. Locate them in full sun, with at least 12 hours of direct sun. Once established, plants tolerate heat, drought and wind. Seed is available from Park, Schumways, and Jung Seed.

'African Sunset' petunia will bring warm color to your landscape with bright orange flowers. Plants are season-long bloomers, forming uniform mounded plants 10-24 inches tall. Plants can spread up to 20 inches. With its compact spreading habit, 'African Sunset' works well in hanging baskets, containers, or towards the front of a garden bed. Seed is available from Burpee Seed, Earl May Seed & Nursery, Johnny's Select Seed, Harris Seed, Park Seed, and Stokes Seed.

This year's Flower Award winner is 'Serenita Pink' Angelonia, an elegant, yet easy to grow, summer annual. Also known as summer snapdragon, Angelonias are heat and drought tolerant, growing well in either full or partial sun. Bright pink flowers, with a darker eye, are produced on a delicate, upright stalk. Once plants begin to bloom, they will continue for the rest of the summer especially if old stalks are removed periodically. Plants grow 12-14 inches tall, with a similar width, and provide a nice vertical form for containers or planting beds. Seed is available from Harris, Jung, Park, Stokes Seeds.

Seed sources contact information.

This resource was added March 2014 and appeared in the Lincoln Journal Star Newspaper Sunday edition. For information on reproducing this article or using any photographs or graphics, read the Terms of Use statement


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