More award-winning flowers and vegetables for 2022
"Growing Together" columnist Don Kinzler runs through some new plant varieties that have picked up honors already.
FARGO — To make a gardener’s heart sing, just mention the words “new variety.” Whether it’s a new cultivar of birch, tomato, peony or begonia, new items are tantalizing to those who enjoy yards, gardens and plants.
On Jan. 1, my column featured the new All-America Selections award-winning flowers and vegetables for 2022 . When new varieties merit this national recognition, they’re well worth trying.
In a recent news release, AAS announced the names of six more interesting winners to add to the previous 2022 champions. The following are the latest award winners, along with comments by the AAS judges.
- Celosia, Flamma Orange: This compact annual has numerous branches, each with a strong flower plume, giving a long show of flaming color in the flower garden. Flamma celosia has exceptional heat tolerance and begins flowering early, producing a great show of orange color all season long in either containers or flower beds. It grows to about 10 inches and is perfect for the pollinator garden.
- Pepper, Quickfire: Judges called this Thai pepper mighty, strong, hot and quick. It produces a large quantity of hot, delicious fruits on a compact, sturdy plant that’s perfect for container gardening. It’s an attractive ornamental, but it was bred for its taste and yield. Culinary gardeners will appreciate this for Thai and Southeast Asian dishes where a little heat and kick will add quickfire. The plants grow to only about 6 inches high, producing a multitude of inch-and-a-half-long fruits that ripen red in 50 days from setting transplants into the garden.
- Verbena, Beats Purple and White: Judges noted that this verbena begins blooming very early in the season, making it a pollinator magnet all season long. The unique purple and white bicolor flowers maintain an attention-getting pattern and thrive even under extreme heat stress. Its compact, mounded, spreading habit with a height of only 8 inches makes it perfect for the edge of a flower bed or trailing over the edge of a container.
- Verbena, Vanity: One judge described this verbena as their favorite among all this year’s flower champions. Vanity belongs to the bonariensis type of verbena, popular in older cottage gardens. This newer variety creates a butterfly paradise in the flower bed, and its compact habit makes it sturdier and easier to maintain than previous types. The 30-inch-high plants are covered with purple-blue flowers from summer to late fall, making it perfect for the taller background of flower beds.
- Torenia, Summery Love Pure White: The pure white color of this torenia sports larger blooms than the comparisons, showing better vigor and health than older available varieties. At only 8 inches high, Summery Love maintains a compact habit, yet branches freely, making it a showy plant for containers or when used in mass plantings in flower beds. It blooms well in either sun or shade.
- Zinnia, Queeny Lime Peach: This easy-to-grow annual blooms on healthy, vigorous plants covered with distinctive 4-inch flowers. The unique bloom color is lemon yellow with a dark peach center. As the blooms age, they have a reverse fading habit that forms beautiful color shades starting as a bright lemon yellow, moving to a light coral color. Plants bloom all summer without deadheading and thrive on summer heat, reaching a height of 2 feet. Queeny Lime Peach is extremely showy in the flower garden, and it also makes a great cut flower for enjoying indoors.
A note about All-America Selection availability: Because these varieties are so new, locating them might require shopping around, especially the first year they’re introduced.
Locally owned garden centers are well-known for a wide selection of adapted items, but even they aren’t able to grow or add every new variety to their stock.
Don Kinzler, a lifelong gardener, is the horticulturist with North Dakota State University Extension for Cass County. Readers can reach him at email@example.com.