What’s new in plants for 2019? Checking catalogues, greenhouses and stores will provide different plants than last season but they might not be the newest available.
Each year All American Selections lists and gives descriptions of plants they have trialled throughout North America and have found to be different or an improvement on existing plant material.
Trial gardens are located in many different locations across North America which means that some of the chosen plants will thrive locally. Alberta is grouped in an area they call the Heartland that extents from Missouri to the Arctic Ocean.
Growers and seed houses are always limited in room, meaning they have to pick and choose what varieties to carry and might pass on new varieties. The following link gives a list of seed companies that carry the seed for AAS plants.
Begonia Viking™ XL Red on Chocolate F1 is a compact Begonia with chocolate brown leaves and a multitude of red flowers. Like most Begonias, it will do best in containers in Central Alberta as it likes warm roots. The AAS recommends a soil temperature above 65˚F (18˚C).
Marigold Big Duck, is available in gold, orange and yellow. These marigolds are described as a break though as they are relatively compact plants 15 in. (38 cm) that produce a 4 inch (10 cm) bloom. The bloom will last all season if planted in full sun and not overwatered.
Watermelon Cal Sweet Bush is for people with a sunny hot spot in the garden or for a container. The compact plant only grows 18 inches (.5m) in length and still produces an average of 3 large watermelon in a season. The fruit is sweet, juicy and tasty.
Nasturtium Baby Rose is a compact with rose colored flowers. Sow the seeds after the last frost and keep moist until the seeds germinate and become established. This plant grows well in containers and makes a great border plant as it only reaches 12 in (30 cm) in height.
Pepper Just Sweet F1 are a sweet tasting sturdy plant that will thrive in a warm location. The plant can reach 36 inches. Like all peppers it must be started inside and planted out after all danger of frost is past.
Tomato Chef’s Choice Black F1 are indeterminate plants that usually reaches a height of 5 ft (1.5m) in a season. At trial, the plants averaged 30 Beefsteak shaped tomatoes each.
To thrive, the plants need a warm to hot environment. It will take fruit an average of 75 days from transplant to mature.
According to the judges Tomato Mountain Rouge F1 was chosen for its flavor, disease resistance and true pink color. The indeterminate plant will grow to between 4 to 6 feet in a season. The large fruit will mature in approximately 73 days from transplant.
Tomato Sparky XSL F1 produces red and yellow cherry tomatoes. The plant will require staking or tied to a string from above as it could reach a height of 5 ft. (1.5 m). Judges enjoyed the fruit flavor and commented on the large size and quantity produced. Market gardeners will like this fruit as has a long shelf life.
Judges chose Vinca Mega Bloom Polka Dot F1 due to its resistance to diseases and the showy white flowers with a bright pink center. The plant needs little care to maintain its shape of a 10-12 inch (25-30 cm) mound. Unlike many varieties of Vinca, the foliage stayed healthy and green all season. Plant out when all danger of frost is past.
For more information on past AAS winners visit their website. https://all-americaselections.org/product-category/year/2019/
Linda Tomlinson is a horticulturalist that lives near Rocky Mountain House. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org