variety information By Andrew Wagner

Winner’s Circle

All-America Selections, All-America Rose Selections, Fleuroselect and FloraStar provide a service to professional growers by letting them know which varieties are good performers, important information for the growers who can’t make it to the trials.

Every year, these organizations choose winners for the next year’s growing season. Judges use a standardized grading system that scores how well the variety performed during the growing period of the trial; varieties are not compared to other varieties at the trial. If no variety performs well enough to raise the eyebrows of the judges, then no winners are named. Usually, however, there are a few varieties that perform well enough to deserve the praise of the industry and the kudos that come with winning any one of these prestigious awards.

AAS winners

Geranium ‘Black Magic Rose’ has a distinct bicolor leaf patter with a chocolate center and a green leaf edge. The pattern is most obvious when plants are grown under cool temperatures. The dark foliage contrasts beautifully with the bright rose umbels. Recommended for 4-inch pot production, Black Magic Rose responds to cycocel treatments when necessary. Due to the unique foliage colors, Black Magic is a desirable new variety, although it requires 80 days from sowing to bloom. Black Magic Rose earned the prestigious AAS Bedding Plant Award. Bred by Sahin Zadin B.V., Alphen aan den Rijn, Holland.

Ornamental pepper F1 ‘Chilly Chili’ is the first “family friendly” or non-pungent ornamental pepper that has excellent garden performance. The capsicum or “heat” has been bred out of the long, 2-inch, tapered peppers. The peppers are held upright above the foliage, forming a mosaic of color as the peppers change from yellow to orange and red. Chilly Chili peppers are edible, but their primary value is ornamental. Plants are easy to grow from seed and can be produced in about 20 weeks for late spring or early summer sales. Plants will reach 8—12 inches tall and spread about 6—10 inches, forming a dense cover. Chilly Chili is extremely heat tolerant, tolerating dry heat or tropical rains and humidity. Bred by PanAmerican Seed Co., West Chicago, Ill.

Petunia F1 ‘Tidal wave silver’ has an unusual bicolor pattern; the silvery white, 2-inch flower has a dark purple center. Tidal Wave Silver can perform like a flowering ground cover, spreading 2 1/2—3 feet with a height of 8—12 inches if planted 18—24 inches apart. When planted 12 inches apart, Tidal Wave Silver will perform like a flowering hedge. The dense, mounded plants will reach 16—22 inches tall and hold themselves together all season. Exhibiting excellent Botrytis resistance and rapid recovery after severe weather, neither pinching nor pruning is needed for Tidal Wave Silver. Tidal Wave Silver also performs well in large patio containers and hanging baskets, 6—inches or larger. Bred by Kirin Brewery Co., Ltd., Tokyo, Japan and marketed by PanAmerican Seed Co.

Rudbeckia hirta ‘Cherokee Sunset’ contains a blend of sunset colors; yellow, orange, bronze, mahogany and similar colors. Flowers are 3—4 1/2 inches wide and vary from double to semi-double. Cherokee Sunset performs best in a full sun location. Mature plant height is 24—30 inches with a 12-inch spread. Plant habit is branching and size varies. Many plants are self-supporting; others may need staking. Another benefit is the flower can be cut and used for bouquets. Cherokee Sunset plants can be produced in 6-inch pots for spring sales. Thompson and Morgan, Suffolk, England.

Basil ‘Magical Michael’ is an improved ornamental, edible herb with a clearly refined plant habit. Magical Michael plants grow uniformly in size and shape. Mature plant height in a full sun garden is about 15 inches, with a spread of 16—17 inches. Magical Michael was selected for its uniform plant size, aromatic dark green leaves and ornamental qualities. Plants will produce a compact spike of purple flowers. Magical Michael is easy to grow and prefers warm growing conditions. Bred by Jim Simon and Mario Morales of Purdue University and marketed by PanAmerican Seed Co.

AARS Winners

Hybrid Tea ‘Love and Peace’ is a classic, disease-resistant, upright hybrid tea that grows 4-5 ft. x 3 ft. It produces 5-inch, golden yellow with pink-edged blooms set against glossy, dark green foliage. It has high-center, piral formed blooms on individual stems. Love and Peace exhibits a sweet, fruity scent. Each flower has a minimum petal count of 40. Love and Peace was hybridized with a combination of ‘Peace’ and an unknown seedling. Bailey Nurseries, St. Paul, Minn.

Landscape Shrub ‘Starry Night’ has large clusters of pure white star blooms and glossy green leaves. It is a spreading, disease resistant, medium bushy plant that grows 3 ft. x 3 ft. in cool climates and 6 ft. x 6 ft. in mild to warm climates. Its pure white flowers contrast the medium green foliage. Starry Night’s bloom resembles a dogwood flower and is of medium size, 2 1/2-3 inches in diameter, with a petal count of five. It blooms from spring to late fall. This variety’s parentage is a combination of ‘Anisley Dickson’ and ‘Rosa Wichurianna.’ Edmunds’ Roses, Wilsonville, Ore. Á

Fleuroselect winners

Dianthus Barbatus ‘Noverna Purple’ is the first ever genuine annual Sweet William that does not require a cold period for flower induction. This means that Noverna Purple can be grown naturally as an annual with a crop time of only 10-12 weeks. Once blooming, Noverna continues to produce an abundance of large flower heads with light purple flowers on strong, sturdy stems. The plant demonstrates a strong, well-branched habit that performs well in garden borders and containers. Kieft Seeds, Holland.

Petunia ‘Lavender Wave’ is the first ever lavender trailing petunia from seed. This spreading petunia is easy to grow and gives outstanding performance in hanging baskets, pots, window boxes, garden beds or anywhere else where it is planted, producing masses of flowers along the cascading branches. In the garden, a single plant can quickly spread up to 1.2 meters in just a few weeks, making it an excellent ground cover. This variety flowers freely all season, and gardeners are surprised by its weather tolerance, since this was a common disadvantage of petunias. Kirin Brewery Co., Japan, marketed by PanAmerican Seed.

Viola ‘Ultima Morpho’ provides a mass of small flowers on a compact plant with an excellent growing habit. It is named after a butterfly that is native to Costa Rica. The blue and yellow color combination of the petals forms a pattern that is clearly reminiscent of these tropical creatures. While ideal for professional growers, Morpho is also easy for the amateur gardener to grow from seed. As a spring pansy, it will flower from April to June and in autumn from September to December, producing a continuous mass of medium sized flowers. Regular dead-heading will prolong the display, which can be used as a border plant or in containers. Sakata Seed Corp., Japan.

FloraStar Winners

Gerbera ‘Festival Mini Yellow Shades’ presents multiple blooms in vibrant shades of yellow on a uniform plant. The new introduction presents a mass of color ranging from a light lemon-like yellow to deep yellow-orange, making a bold and attractive display. Daehnfeldt, North Manchester, Ind.

Campanulas ‘Pearl Deep Blue’ and ‘Pearl White’ feature earlier bloom time, larger flowers and improved heat tolerance. Dense crowns of upright facing flowers cover uniform, globe-shaped plants. They are hardy perennials for the landscape that are also well suited for year-round pot plant production. Benary, Sycamore, Ill.

Empire Mum’s ‘Courtney’ introduced by Yoder is the best true pink daisy to date with excellent flower form and productivity. Bright pink ray petals are highlighted by a soft green daisy eye, and the large daisy flowers average up to 2 1/4-inches in diameter. Courtney has smoother flower colors and more refined growth habit. Yoder Brothers Inc., Barberton, Ohio.

Andrew Wagner

Andrew Wagner is staff writer for GPN.

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