Many look at the All American Select for the best of the independently selected plants for 2023.
This New Year brings beautiful plants, both foliage and flowering, and some sweet and spicy veggies.
The Coleus Premium Sun Coral Candy is a sun loving Coleus with vivid light and dark shades of coral surrounded by a margin of bright green. Most Coleus need to be protected from the heat of summer and the harsh rays of the sun, but Sun Coral Candy holds its color through the heat and full sun of summer into the late fall. This particular Coleus has very few if any flower, keeping the bright tropical colors without much maintenance. Growing beautifully in garden beds and in colorful containers, the tropical feeling will last all summer long.
Most Elephant Ear plants are solid green and create the wonderful tropical look to the Delmarva gardens. The Colocasia Royal Hawaiian Waikiki has large glossy leaves that curl open to show off bright pink veins that glow on top of a centered splash of white. The leaves are held upright on deep burgundy stems allowing the plants to grow to almost 3 feet tall. Plants thrive in full to part sun with lots of water, making planting them in to decorative containers a great choice.
Plants are cold hardy up to Zone 7b, which means that many Delmarva gardens might be able to overwinter without having to dig them up.
Echinacea Artisan Yellow Ombre is a lovely colorful coneflower that grows 24-30 inches tall in full sun and normal to dry soils. The bright yellow flowers hold up to heat and full sun, blooming from late spring through the summer. Plants grow in a lovey uniform growth habit with many branches that produce many vibrant yellow flowers. Unlike some coneflowers, Echinacea Artisan Yellow Ombre has high resistance to plant diseases like Botrytis, downy and powdery mildews and rust. The bright yellow color attracts many native pollinators into the garden to provide both color and graceful motion throughout the summer months.
Shasta Daisies are staples in many perennial gardens with their beautiful simple white daisy flowers. The new Leucanthemum Carpet Angel Shasta Daisy is not only very showy semi-double with 3 inch large flowers that are crowned with a frilly cluster of smaller petals, it is also a blooming groundcover. The plants grow only 6 inches tall and 20 inches wide, blooming from spring through summer and excellent winter hardiness. The dark green foliage is a great background for the pure white daisy flowers.
Salvia flowers in lovely shades of blues and deep purples and are long lasting perennials in the sunny well-drained soils. Salvia Blue by You is a new deep blue to purple cultivar that blooms 2 weeks earlier than most Salvias, and with the removal of spent flowers or dead heading, the Salvia Blue by You will bloom from spring into the end of summer. The size and shape of these bright flowers attract many pollinators including many native butterflies and hummingbirds. Plants can grow 20-22 inches tall with flower spikes reaching 10-12 inches tall.
Snapdragon DoubleShot Orange Bicolor is a vibrant spark of color in the garden. The open-faced bicolor flowers of warm orange backed by darker orange red grow on top of strong branching stems. Like many Snapdragons, the DoubleShot Orange Bicolor can be planted in early spring along with pansies, but unlike most Snapdragons, the colorful flower continues to bloom in full sun through the heat of summer.
Begonia Viking Rose on Green is a trailing annual plant that grows 16 inches tall and cascades down in a trailing, spreading fashion. The bright green leaves are a great background to the almost 3 inch rose colored flowers. Beautiful in containers or planted as a groundcover, the rose and green colors will brighten any garden. Plants stand up to heat and rain, wind and pollution, drought and pests. They have resistance to powdery mildew, Botrytis cineres and Anthracnose.
Cuttings, rather than seeds, propagate many of the All American Select plants, so they will need to be purchased from growers rather than seed catalogs.
On the other hand, there is nothing quite like visiting a greenhouse in late winter and early spring to inspire gardeners to design their gardens with these beautiful bright flowers and foliage.
(Editor’s Note: Ginny Rosenkranz is a commercial horticulture specialist with the University of Maryland Extension.)