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University of Minnesota names top 10 performing annuals

November 16, 2020  By Greenhouse Canada

The University of Minnesota has released their 2020 Annual Flower Trial Garden Performance Report, along with the top 10 performing varieties.

“All annuals are evaluated multiple times throughout the growing season; cultivars are rated based on their unique characteristics, exceptional performance, colour and vigour under regional conditions,” states the report from the University of Minnesota West Central Research and Outreach Center. “Once the final evaluations are completed, only the top-rated annual flowers are considered for the distinction of being called a Top Ten Performing Annual.”

Nearly 450 annual flower varieties were trialed during the 2020 growing season at the U of MN WCROC. The newest cultivars of annual flowers representing 18 plant breeding companies from around the world were planted over 4 acres of spectacular public display gardens. Evaluations are shared with commercial and amateur bedding-plant growers.


The top 10 are:

Angelonia, Aria Blue – Dummen Orange

Begonia, Dreams Garden Macarouge – Beekenkamp

Bracteantha, Granvia Gold – Suntory Flowers

Gomphrena, Truffula Pink – Proven Winners North America

Marigold erecta, Big Top Yellow – Syngenta Flowers

Petunia, Amore Queen of Hearts – Danziger

Petunia, SuperCal Rose – Sakata Seed America

Scaevola, Surdiva Blue Violet – Suntory Flowers

Vinca, Valiant Orchid – PanAmerican Seed

Zinnia, Double Zahara Yellow Improved – PanAmerican Seed

Plants were evaluated five times during the growing season; July 2, 14 and 28, August 11 and 27. This was done to evaluate each variety’s performance.

Traits considered when giving the ratings:

  • uniformity of habit and flowering;
  • vigour;
  • flower numbers relative to others;
  • insect resistance;
  • disease resistance; and
  • uniqueness.

The data was taken by the same individual to reduce variability in scoring. Plants are rated on a scale of 1-5 (5 = excellent; 4 = above average; 3 = average; 2 = below average; 1 = poor).

“We’ve been conducting horticulture research at the University of Minnesota West Central Research and Outreach Center (WCROC), Morris, for nearly 100 years. With over four acres of impressive public display gardens including close to 500 trial annual cultivars, we offer an educational landscape for home owners, Master Gardeners, and flower enthusiasts alike to see just how annual flowers perform under our unique growing conditions,” states the report.

 The Morris area typically has hot, dry summers with exposure to wind, which provides a unique opportunity to compare performance of bedding-plant cultivars under regional conditions.

Entries in the annual flower trial are evaluated by a certified trial judge throughout the months of June, July and August. Even though the annual flowers are under evaluation, the plants are placed into an aesthetically pleasing design, allowing visitors to enjoy the beauty of the garden. All flowers are labeled, allowing visitors to take note of top performing cultivars under regional conditions.

The Horticulture Display Garden has been an All‐America Selections (AAS) Display Garden since 1990. The AAS award recognizes a flower or vegetable variety proven to have superior performance throughout the North American continent. An AAS Display Garden provides the public an opportunity to view the new AAS winners in a well‐maintained setting. Additionally, the Horticulture Display Garden is the only AAS Trial Ground site in Minnesota, where AAS entries are planted next to comparisons and evaluated by an AAS Trial Judge.

Participating Companies:

All-America Selections; American Takii; AmeriSeed; Ball Ingenuity; Ernst Benary of America, Inc.; Beekenkamp Plants; Ball FloraPlant; Danziger; Darwin Perennials; Dümmen Orange; HemGenetics; PanAmerican Seed; Kieft Seed; Proven Winners North America, LLC; Selecta One; Takii Europe B. V.; Sakata Seed America; Suntory Flowers; and Syngenta Flowers, LLC.

To learn more:

Source: University of Minnesota West Central Research and Outreach Center

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