Ten new flower cultivars were given All-America Selection awards for 2003. To receive this award, a selection must possess unique or improved characteristics compared with existing varieties. The large number of award winners makes this year a great opportunity to try some new flowers. Below are brief descriptions of the 2003 All-America Selection award recipients.
'Prairie Sun' Rudbeckia
This low-maintenance, full-sun annual is sure to provide many flowers on long stems, which are ideal for cutting. The 5-inch golden yellow blooms have a light green central cone. Plants are best used in the middle of plantings as they reach a height of 3 feet and spread 12 to 16 inches in width.
'Purple Majesty' Ornamental Millet
This ornamental millet reaches a height of 3 to 5 feet with attractive 8- to 12-inch-long purple flower spikes. The young leaves are green, but turn purple in a full-sun location. Heat and low moisture tolerance are other beneficial attributes of this plant. 'Purple Majesty' can be used in large containers and attracts birds.
'Can Can Scarlet' Carnation
Fragrance and heat tolerance are two beneficial characteristics of the 'Can Can Scarlet' carnation. The bright scarlet 2-inch blooms are not as big as florist carnations, but provide a nice display of color in flowerbeds or in a bouquet. Plants reach a height of 14 inches and spread approximately 6 to 8 inches. Full sun provides the best results.
'Corona Cherry Magic' Dianthus
Expect the unexpected when it comes to the color of 'Corona Cherry Magic' dianthus. The bicolor pattern of the 2-inch cherry red and lavender/pink flowers vary from one solid color to picotees. The 8- to 10-inch-wide rounded plants flower throughout the summer in a full-sun location. 'Corona Cherry Magic' reaches a height of 7 to 9 inches.
'Merlin Blue Morn' Petunia
The dark blue/purple and white bicolored blooms of 'Merlin Blue Morn' are attractive in hanging baskets, containers or flowerbeds. The 2-inch blooms cover the plant. The plants reach a height of 15 to 20 inches and spread 18 to 20 inches. Full-sun is recommended for best performance.
'Golden Jubilee' Hyssop
Lime green leaves cover symmetrical, branching plants, which are adorned with dense spikes of lavender-blue florets. 'Golden Jubilee' hyssop is heat tolerant, attains a height of 20 inches, spread 10 to 15 inches across, and has a mint-like fragrance that emanates from the leaves when crushed. A full- sun to part-shade location is needed for best results.
'Blue Wave' Petunia
The waves keep coming! 'Blue Wave' is the most recent addition to the wave series. The 2-inch dark blue-purple flowers cover the trailing vine-like stems of the plant for the growing season. Unlike many petunias, no pinching or pruning is necessary to keep the plant in an active blooming stage. As with many of the other waves, 'Blue Wave' attains a spread of 3 to 4 feet in width and reaches a height of 6 to 7 inches. Moderately fertile soil and a sunny location provide the best results. 'Purple Wave,' another All-America Selection winner, was the first wave to be selected in 1992.
'Forever White' Lisianthus
'Forever White' attains a height of 12 to 14 inches and is an ideal plant for containers. The 2-inch ivory-white blooms cover the plant at various times during the growing season. Heat and low moisture tolerance are other attributes of this outstanding lisianthus.
'Sundance Bicolor' Gaillardia
This cultivar is the first consistent mahogany red and yellow bicolor. Blooms are globe shaped and primarily double. For best results, find a moist, full-sun location with moderately fertile soil. The plants reach a height of 10 to15 inches and spread 15 to 16 inches. 'Sundance Bicolor' would be good for hanging baskets and containers.
'Jaio Dark Red' Rose Periwinkle
'Jaio Dark Red' is the first true red rose periwinkle or vinca. A rugged plant, this heat-and drought-tolerant rose periwinkle grows to 15 inches in height with a spread of up to 20 inches. 'Jaio Dark Red' prefers a full-sun location that is on the dry side. A more shaded and moist soil will not provide the best results from this eyecatching rose periwinkle. Blooms are 2 inches in width with a white dot in the center. Deer and insects are not attracted to these plants.
This article originally appeared in the January 17, 2003 issue, p. 4.