Grow Award Winning Plants
Industry Awards Highlight Some Good Garden
Become a Plant Expert
An easy way to become a plant expert is to try
growing one or two new varieties each year. Make a point of
observing the new plants throughout several growing seasons and
make notes of their performance.
• Do they adjust well to their new home or is
there transplant shock?
• If they bloom, when does it occur: early, mid-summer, late
• Do they bloom more than once?
• Do they grow full or lanky?
• Did they need to be staked?
• Did they need pinching or pruning?
• Were they relatively free of pests and disease?
• Did the weather greatly affect their performance?
Plant of the Year
Several plant trade organizations would like to
help you learn about new plants through their “Plant of the
These programs are
marketing tools to help promote plants that the trade
organizations feel are of particular merit.
Annuals & Vegetables
In the case of the All America Selections (AAS),
seed companies work together to trial new plant introductions.
Winning annual flower and vegetable varieties are selected each
year and can be seen in AAS Display gardens throughout the
country. Popular past winners include ‘Cornell’s Bush Delicata’
squash, Rudbeckia Hirta ‘Indian Summer’, ‘Eight Ball’
zucchini, ‘Bright Lights’ chard, ‘Cosmic Orange’ cosmos and the
‘Purple Wave’ Petunia.
Rose growers have their own award, the All
America Rose Selection (AARS). They look for newer varieties
with time tested performance qualities including: color, bloom
and disease resistance. Lady Elsie MayTM is a recent
winner with coral pink, slightly fragrant flowers and excellent
The Perennial Plant Association (PPA) chooses
only one plant to be Plant of the Year and it doesn’t need to be
a new introduction. There mission is to educate gardeners about
the use of perennials. Many of the most popular perennials have
won the PPA Plant of the Year award because they are such
excellent performers. Japanese Painted Fern Athyrium
niponicum 'Pictum', Phlox 'David', Calamagrostis x
acutiflora 'Karl Foerster', Pin Cushion Flower Scabiosa
columbaria 'Butterfly Blue', Black-eyed Susan Rudbeckia
fulgida var. sullivantii 'Goldsturm' and Salvia 'Mainacht'
(May Night) are all past winners.
Like the PPA, The International Herb Association
(IHA) selects only one yearly winner and it need not be a new
introduction or a particular variety. In past years they have
celebrated garlic, rosemary, fennel, mint and monarda.
If you are interested in trying a few new
plants and learning more about both the classics and the cutting
edge, watch for next year’s award winners.