If you want to try some eye-catching new plants this year, take a look at the 2019 AAS (All-America Selections) award-winning flowers and tomatoes—all tested and proven successful!
The All-America Selections is an American organization which tests new varieties of seeds for use in gardening. They grow plants at 80 trial sites in the U.S. and Canada next to similar varieties for comparison. Professional horticulturalists volunteer as judges looking for plants with superior garden performance, earliness, taste, disease resistance, and other unique qualities. It’s a very helpful type of “competition” to us home gardeners.
Some are national winners good to grow all over the continental US and Canada while others performed best in certain regions of the country.
2019 AAS Winning Varieties
Here are some of this year’s winning flowers and tomatoes:
Begonia Viking XL Red on Chocolate
The name says it all! Bright one-inch red flowers stand out against large, uniquely colored dark leaves—all four seasons! This brand new begonia has a compact shape that doesn’t get leggy. They form extra-large (24- to 28-inch-tall) mounds that perform well in the ground or in containers. National Flower Winner.
Marigold Big Duck Gold
This bushy 15” tall plant produces very large, 3” golden-yellow flowers throughout the season. Those partial to marigolds will want to use them everywhere: in beds and containers, in landscapes as mini hedges, as back of the border plants, or to fill bare spots in new perennial beds. National Flower Winner.
Petunia Wave Carmine Velour
Wave® petunias are one of our best-sellers each spring. Can’t grow enough of them! If you want a reliable showy bloomer that stands up to the weather Waves® are for you. Growing 6 to 8” tall, they spread 3 to 4 feet wide and are great in containers and hanging baskets or in the ground. This new member of the Wave® family offers 2 to 2.5 inch, velvety, carmine rose flowers that cover the easy-care, self-cleaning plants. National Flower Winner.
Nasturtium Baby Rose
I love to plant nasturtiums as a companion plant among the cucumbers and squash in my garden. Supposedly they repel cucumber beetles and squash bugs and I need all the help I can get on that front. Plus, they look pretty, attract bees and other pollinators, and the flowers and leaves are edible. This rose-colored nasturtium will be a nice change from the classic orange ones. It grows 12” tall and has dark green leaves that show off the petite rose-red flowers. It has a compact rather than a vining habit of growth making it ideal for containers and small space gardens—with less “flopping.” Regional Winner for the Northeast, Heartland, and Mountain/Southwest areas.
If you are looking for a tiny yellow cherry tomato, this is it. Weighing in at about 1/2 oz. and under 1 inch in size each, the super sweet pale yellow fruits have delicate, translucent skins less prone to splitting than ‘Sungold’ and offer a mild acid flavor that enhances the sweet taste. Indeterminate plants grow to 5 to 6 feet, have good disease resistance, and are prolific, producing 500 or more fruits per plant. National Winner.
Tomato Red Torch
Red Torch is a striped oblong tomato similar in looks to ‘Striped or Speckled Roman’ with 1.5” long fruits that weigh about 1.5 ounces. It is an early-season producer with fruit ripening in 60 to 70 days from transplanting. It boasts excellent flavor, great texture and high yields of 100 plus fruits per plant. If you struggle to grow tomatoes in a less than ideal environment, these plants have been bred to tolerate stresses like heat and harsh growing conditions. Indeterminate vines grow 5 to 6’ tall. National Winner.
Tomato Chef’s Choice Black
This is the sixth color variation in the Chef’s Choice tomato series. It has been compared to the popular heirloom ‘Black Krim’ but bears earlier at 75 days from transplanting and has more disease resistance. Flattened globe-shaped beefsteak fruits weigh 8 to 10 oz. each and have a sweet, slightly salty taste. An indeterminate grower, it produces 30 or more fruits per plant on strong 5-foot vines. Regional Winner for the Southeast, West/Northwest, Mountain/Southwest.
To see some of these plants in the flesh, AAS has about 200 display gardens in the US and Canada. Look at their website (www.all-americaselections.org) for a garden near you.
The All-America Selections is a non-profit organization that has been testing new plant varieties since 1932. They have brought some of the best plants to our attention by designating them as AAS winners. So many are still popular today, including Waltham Butternut (1970 winner), Sugar Snap Peas (1979), Celebrity tomatoes (1984), and Diva cucumber (2002).
To grow popular edibles and flowers, see our free Almanac Growing Guides.