All-America Selections has announced three flower award winners – Profusion Red Yellow Bicolor zinnia, Kelos Candela Pink celosia and Sweet Daisy Birdy shasta daisy. To see pictures of these and other great plants visit the All-America Selection website, www.all-americaselections.org.
Zinnia Profusion Red Yellow Bicolor: This is the newest entry in the popular Profusion series, which features very tough plants tolerating heat, wind and dry conditions well and offering great flower production. Each new wave of flowers is produced outside the older flowers, minimizing the need for deadheading. The truly unique feature of this new cultivar is the bicolor flowers, yellow petals with a red center ring, which fade as the flowers age, morphing into beautiful shades of apricot, salmon and dusty rose. Plants bloom from late spring through fall, with each flower measuring about 2½ inches across.
Judges commented, “Started as an exceptional red and yellow bicolor, with very good garden performance and plant habit. It would have received my approval as a winner, but then the faded blooms turned rosy, and it knocked my socks off (well sandals because it was too hot for socks)! Thank you for being a bright spot in 2020.”
Another judge stated, “The entry is one of the most interesting zinnia varieties I’ve come across. I really like the mixture of colors as the flowers age and fade.”
Zinnas are annual plants, performing best in full sun with well-drained soil. Compact plants reach 14 inches in height, with medium green foliage. Profusion series plants are highly disease resistant, especially powdery mildew which plagues other zinnias.
It may be too late to get plants started for this year’s garden, but order seed and grow transplants for a great addition to your 2022 garden. Available from Park Seed, https://parkseed.com/
Celosia Kelos Candela Pink’: Judges called this celosia the “Energizer Bunny” because it just kept blooming! Its unique flowers are slender and upright, 10 to 15 inches tall, almost like a candelabra of tall, tapered candles. The bright pink color will brighten any garden or container.
Celosias are annuals performing well in full sun or partial shade. Once established, they are tough plants tolerating dry conditions, heat, rain and wind, but plants bloom best with regular water and fertilizer. Kelos Candela Pink has strong stems so doesn’t need staking; they also don’t need deadheading to keep them looking neat, even though plants bloom from late spring through fall. Overall plant height is 25 to 30 inches, adding height to container plantings, but they also work well as mass plantings in ground beds. Celosia are a great addition to cutting gardens and perform well either fresh cut or dried.
One judge commented, “Totally deer resistant and tolerated high humidity and high temperatures into the 90s.”
Unfortunately, Kelos Candela Pink is not yet available for purchase. Hopefully it will be available in garden centers next year.
Shasta Daisy Sweet Daisy Birdy: Shasta daisies are not a new landscape perennial, but according to the judges this cultivar has merit. Their comments include the following.
• “This is a beautiful perennial with long-lasting blooms and good durability in the landscape.”
• “It demonstrates excellent cold-hardiness and maintains a tidy, sturdy habit.”
• “The flowers are large and very pure in color.”
• “Superior growth habit and flower size.”
Shasta daisies do best in full sun with average garden soil. Plants have dark green foliage and reach 18 to 24 inches in height. Shasta daisy flowers are bright white with a yellow eye and each Sweet Daisy Birdy flower is 5 inches across. New blooms stack on top of old ones creating a clean look, but plants can be deadheaded if you prefer. In AAS trial gardens, plants demonstrated excellent cold and heat tolerance, while maintaining a tidy, study habit. Plants didn’t get too tall or flop over in the garden. Daisies are another great addition to a cutting garden. Hardiness zones 3-10.
Unfortunately, Sweet Daisy Birdy is also not yet available for purchase. Hopefully it will be available in garden centers next year.
Sarah Browning is an extension educator with Nebraska Extension. To ask a question or reach her, call 402-441-7180 or write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 444 Cherrycreek Road, Lincoln, NE 68528.