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What will be the hot flowers of 2023?

All-America Selection winners include new salvia, coneflower and groundcover Shasta daisy

Shasta daisy hybrid
Carpet Angel is a new groundcover Shasta daisy, among the just-announced 2023 All-America Selections perennial winners. (Photos courtesy All-America Selections)

Gardeners are always looking ahead. We have to! It takes time to go from seed to bloom or harvest.

So, in the middle of Summer 2022, we’re looking forward to Summer 2023 and the new varieties we’ll see (and grow) next year.

Whetting our appetite for new flowers is the announcement this week of the first 2023 All-America Selections winners. The AAS committee dribbles out its winners list, and the first to be revealed are three perennials that are improvements on old favorites.

National perennial winner is a pretty blue sage that can handle both extreme cold and blast-furnace heat. Blue By You salvia ( ), developed by Chicago-based Darwin Perennials, offers six months of bloom with little effort.

Blue salvia
Blue By You salvia is a national AAS winner.
“With excellent winter hardiness and heat tolerance, Blue by You will be a new favorite in your perennial, pollinator, cutting and container gardens,” predicts the AAS committee. “Bursting with bright blue blossoms from late spring into fall, you’ll get repeat blooms throughout the season when spent blooms are removed.”

A hybrid between Salvia nemorosa and Salvia pratensis , Blue by You is a bee magnet. It needs average irrigation and grows about 20 to 22 inches tall. Another plus: Deer don’t like it.

Two regional winners also were revealed: A hybrid coneflower and a groundcover Shasta daisy.

Artisan Yellow Ombre echinacea ( ), developed by PanAmerican Seed (which does a lot of plant breeding and testing in Yolo County), is an improved coneflower with strong, straight stems – great for cutting. Named the Southeast and Northwest regional winner, it grows 24 to 30 inches tall and blooms continuously for months.

(Both Darwin Perennials and PanAmerican Seed are part of Ball Horticultural.)

“Artisan Yellow Ombre is a great plant for anyone wanting vibrant color all season long in their perennial garden, or to use as a cut flower,” says the AAS committee.

Golden coneflowers
Artisan Yellow Ombre coneflower was named a regional winner.

“This is the first F1 hybrid echinacea series that comes in individual colors. This winner, with an intense golden yellow bloom along with graduated colors of yellow, is a gem in the garden. AAS Judges were impressed with the uniform growth habit, vibrantly colored flowers, and multi-branched plants that produce a prolific number of blooms. Pollinators will flock to this echinacea, and gardeners will love this low-maintenance, long-blooming beauty.”

Other colors in the Artisan series of coneflowers (so far) include Red Ombre and Soft Orange.

The most unusual All-America Selection winner may be the groundcover Shasta daisy Carpet Angel ( ); it was named the West regional winner. The only AAS winner of its kind, it’s also the first AAS winner for breeder Green Fuse Botanicals of Santa Paula, Calif.

“Green Fuse Botanicals’ First Light Perennials is a program of first-year flowering perennials that are day-length neutral, meaning earlier blooms that continue all season long,” explains the AAS committee. “Large 3-inch flowers boast a second inner frilly bloom adding to the unique look of Carpet Angel.

"Growing only to a height of 6 inches, this unique Leucanthemum can act as a groundcover spreading up to 20 inches wide. Fantastic branching on this new AAS winner means more flower stems sporting beautiful pure white blooms that look like angels dancing over a carpet of dark green foliage. A little deadheading of spent flowers will reward you with even more blooms.”

Look for these plants in nurseries and plant catalogs next spring.

Learn more about All-America Selections and how these plants were tested: .


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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of Dec. 10:

Take advantage of these dry but crisp conditions. It’s time to get out the rake!

* Rake leaves away from storm drains and keep gutters clear.

* Fallen leaves can be used for mulch and compost. Chop up large leaves with a couple of passes with a lawn mower.

* Prune non-flowering trees and shrubs while they’re dormant. Without their foliage, trees are easier to prune.

* Rake and remove dead leaves and stems from dormant perennials.

* Make sure to take frost precautions with new transplants and sensitive plants. Mulch, water and cover tender plants in the late afternoon to retain warmth.

* Succulent plants are at particular risk if temperatures drop below freezing. Don’t water succulents before frost; cover instead. Use cloth sheets, not plastic. Make sure to remove coverings during the day.

* Clean and sharpen garden tools before storing for the winter.

* Brighten the holidays with winter bloomers such as poinsettias, amaryllis, calendulas, Iceland poppies, pansies and primroses.

* Keep poinsettias in a sunny, warm location. Water thoroughly. After the holidays, feed your plants monthly so they'll bloom again next December.

* Just because it rained doesn't mean every plant got watered. Give a drink to plants that the rain didn't reach, such as under eaves or under evergreen trees. Also, well-watered plants hold up better to frost than thirsty plants.

* Plant garlic (December's the last chance -- the ground is getting cold!) and onions for harvest in summer.

* Bare-root season begins. Plant bare-root berries, kiwifruit, grapes, artichokes, horseradish and rhubarb. Beware of soggy soil. It can rot bare-root plants.

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