Check Out These All-American Selection Trial Winning Plants
The All-American Selection Trial is a national trial that evaluates flowers and edible crops in six regions, with select varieties becoming successful national winners across the United States.
The AAS website describes the process: “When you buy an AAS winner, you know it has been tested by an independent, neutral testing organization and judged by experts in their field.”
The 2022 regional winner for the Heartland region (which encompasses all of Kansas) was the Pink Delicious tomato, but other trial winners from previous years should not be overlooked.
Tomato ‘Pink Delicious’
The 2022 winner for the Heartland region is everyone’s favorite – a tomato. The strain is Pink Delicious, which is a great descriptor for her most desirable traits. The trial describes the fruit as early to ripen with heirloom appearance but limited cracking. Germination with this type is easier than with many tomatoes, making it ideal for home gardeners to start from seed. Pink Delicious has a high yield, uniformity in fruit size and disease resistance of a hybrid type. The flavor, the most important part, was described as “excellent” and “milder than the normal pink tomato”.
The next AAS winner I have selected is 2015, a Persian basil. This basil is remarkable both as a savory herb and as an ornamental plant. Persian basil grows quickly and produces enough leaves that you can cut what you need to cook with plenty of leftovers in the landscape. It flowers later in the season (often when the herbs flower they develop a more bitter flavor) and the bees are said to be extremely active on the flowers. This is a must have for your 2022 herb garden.
Rudbeckie ‘Amarillo Gold’
The 2020 winner for the Heartland region was Amarillo Gold Rudbeckia. Rudbeckia, often called Black-eyed Susan, is native to our state in its original form. This variety has a green center (as opposed to the usual brown to black) which turns yellow with maturity. Amarillo Gold blooms earlier than other varieties and lasts all summer. Each flower measures between 4 and 6 inches, with the total plant spread ranging from 12 to 18 inches and described as having a “wow” factor in the landscape.
Nasturtium ‘Baby Rose’
The winner of the 2019 Heartland region was the beautiful Baby Rose nasturtium. The name comes from the color of the flower, a rosy pink, which contrasts with the medium to dark green leaves. The AAS judges described the plant as “ideal for containers and small space gardens”. The shape is uniform and the color of the flower was consistent throughout. Although strongly flavored, the flowers and foliage of the nasturtium are edible.
To see these and other AAS winners, visit their website.
Ariel Whitely-Noll is the Horticulture Officer for Shawnee County Research and Extension. She can be contacted at [email protected]