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Extension > Local Extension Offices > Douglas > County Horticulture Educator > Articles > 2017 Top Performing Annuals

2017 Top Performing Annuals

One of the largest and most impressive displays of annual flower varieties and cultivars in the Upper Midwest is at the University of Minnesota West Central Research and Outreach Center Horticulture Display Garden in Morris, MN. The WCROC Garden serves as an All-American Selections Display Garden and Trial Grounds. This Garden provides the public an opportunity to view the newest superior performers recognized by AAS. Additionally, the Horticulture Display Garden is the only AAS Trial Ground site in Minnesota in which AAS entries are planted next to comparisons and evaluated by an AAS Trial Judge. Each of the cultivars is evaluated on plant height, width and uniformity; flower size, flower and plant quality characteristics; and disease resistance. The top ten for 2017 were consistently the best performing annuals in the trials. If you are interested in including some new varieties in your garden this year, consider these:

  • Argyranthemum Pure White Butterfly™ boasts attractive large daisy white flowers with a bright yellow eye. Can be planted in full sun to part shade, deadheading is not necessary and grows to a height of 18”-24”. This Argyranthemum, which grows evenly and uniformly in the garden, is also a great thriller in a container.
  • Begonia Megawatt™ Rose Bronze Leaf offers striking, non-stop flowers which keep plants covered in huge color throughout the summer with no deadheading. Has sturdy flower stems that hold flowers above the lush foliage. Perfect plant for landscapes, hanging baskets and big containers.
  • Calibrachoa MiniFamous® Neo Orange+Red Eye has attractive eye-catching single orange flowers with a dark red center with summer long performance. This semi-trailing Calibrachoa grows evenly and uniformly in a large hanging basket.
  • Coleus Main Street Michigan Avenue is a high impact vigorous coleus that held its variegated foliage color throughout the growing season. Michigan Avenue was easy to grow, very uniform in growth and performs equally well in sun or shade. It’s also a perfect complement to other plants in the landscape.
  • New Guinea Impatiens SunStanding Purple has very bright purple flowers over glossy green and bronze foliage. They thrived in our garden bed and were outstanding in a container. SunStanding Purple is naturally compact and uniform and can be grown in the sun or shade.
  • Petunia Surprise Blue Sky is smothered in stunning royal blue flowers from early spring to early fall. Its leaves remain green in color throughout the season and rows to a height and spread of around 18”.
  • Salvia Mystic Spires Improved is impressive salvia that has been improved for better summer garden performance, with flowers holding longer for a brighter blue flower color in the garden. The plants are sturdy. Dark green leaves add a dramatic touch to the plants. Mystic Spires Improved attracts bees and butterflies and is deer resistant.
  • Vinca Cora® Cascade Violet is a compact spreading groundcover with eye-catching violet flowers and unbeatable glossy green foliage. An ideal sun-loving plant for hanging baskets and landscape. Vinca tend to like dry soil, so don’t over water.
  • Zinnia Magellan™ Orange is a very easy to grow zinnia that grows about 12-18” tall with large abundant fully double orange blooms all summer long. Magellan Orange is a vigorous variety with good disease tolerance and is well suited to challenging weather conditions. Occasional deadheading the old flowers will keep new buds coming, and you'll get even more color.
  • Zinnia Profusion Coral Pink is a compact bushy plant, 12 inches high and 15 inches wide, is simply smothered nonstop all season with cheerful, 2-inch daisy-formed blooms. The petals are bright coral pink with hints of orange and salmon. Plant in large plantings for best effect. For optimum performance, plant zinnias in a well-drained garden soil.

The Horticulture Display Garden is open daily from dawn until dusk; admission is free. For a complete list of all trial results, please refer to www.wcroc.cfans.umn.edu/flower-research-results.

Contacts

Robin Trott
Extension Educator, Horticulture
(320) 762-3890
trot0053@umn.edu
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