Outstanding new plants announced for 1997 - Indiana Yard and Garden - Purdue Consumer Horticulture

Outstanding new plants announced for 1997

Six new garden plants have been awarded the prestigious honor of being an All America Selection (AAS) for 1997. These new cultivars have been judged as superior in their class based on their performance in test gardens all over the country.

Zinnia angustifolia ‘Crystal White’ is not your ordinary everyday zinnia! Crystal White has a daintier texture, with small, pure-white, daisy-like flowers that virtually carpet the dwarf, 10-inch high plants. Zinnia angustifolia is a different species from the common garden zinnia and is known for its excellent resistance to heat stress and powdery mildew.

Celosia cristata ‘Prestige Scarlet’ is a new type of celosia that has smaller flowers, but many more of them. Prestige Scarlet is loaded with small (3.5-inch), deep scarlet, velvety, cockscomb-type blooms that are excellent for cutting and drying. You won’t need to stake these plants; they only reach a height of 15 to 20 inches.

Although most gardeners think of baby’s breath as a perennial plant, Gypsophila muralis ‘Gypsy’ is an annual form that is the first baby’s breath to earn the AAS distinction. Gypsy produces an abundance of tiny (.75-inch) pink blooms on a diminutive 10- to 14-inch plant, resulting in a light, airy effect. Gypsy is well-suited to the edge of the garden bed as well as baskets and other containers.

You’ll want to include cabbage ‘Dynamo’ (F-1 Hybrid) in your 1997 vegetable garden. Dynamo produces a compact, 2-pound head in about 70 days from transplanting. In the trial garden, Dynamo appeared to be quite tolerant of summer heat and resistant to fusarium yellows disease.

Okra ‘Cajun Delight’ (F-1 Hybrid) is a high-yielding early cultivar that is well-adapted to northern growing conditions. The pods are ready for harvest approximately 50 days after transplanting. Like other okra cultivars, frequent harvest (at least twice weekly) is recommended to keep the pods small and tender.

Gourmet chefs will appreciate Thai Basil ‘Siam Queen,’ a tropical basil with a distinct licorice-basil aroma. Thai basil is popular for flavoring Thai and Vietnamese dishes. ‘Siam Queen’ reaches 2 to 3 feet in height and sports bright green foliage, reddish-purple stems, and pink/purple flowers. Young shoots are ready for harvest around 50 days after transplanting.

The AAS winners are selected from many new cultivars based on garden performance as well as production performance in the greenhouse. Although no plant offers a guarantee of success in an individual garden, the AAS winners have proved themselves worthy through many different types of growing conditions. Try these new selections alongside your old standbys so you’ll have a means of comparison. AAS winners should be available through local garden centers and mail-order catalogs next spring.

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