More All-America Selections Winners for 2017

All-America Selections announced sixteen 2017 Award Winners last November, and now has announced several more winners for the 2017 season.

Look for the red, white and blue logo of All-America Selections on seed packets in retail stores, plant tags in bedding plants in garden centers or nurseries, or in mail-order catalogs this spring. Success is almost guaranteed with these varieties of reliable new flower and vegetable varieties. Some cultivars are designated as AAS Regional Winners, but most are National Winners. Read about the 14 of the first 16 Winners at

The five additional National AAS winners for 2017 are:

AAS Vegetable Award Winner: Pole Bean ‘Seychelles’

Pole Bean ‘Seychelles’

A Dutch breeder developed the Seychelles pole bean to produce long (5-6”), uniform, straight stringless pods with an excellent flavor. This AAS Winner produces high yields in multiple crops over the growing season and is easy to maintain. Whether grown in the garden or in a pot on the patio, Seychelles grows 7-9 feet tall on vigorous dark green vines and should be grown on supports, thus, its classification as a pole bean. Foodies, vegetarians, and vegetable-lovers will all enjoy this productive bean that is fast-growing and early-to-produce crisp delicious pods.

Phaseolus vulgaris
Common name: Pole bean
Water needs: Normal
Staking: Yes
Foliage color: Dark green
Plant habit: Climbing
Plant height: 7-9 feet
Garden spacing: 6 inches
Fruit shape: Long, slender pods
Fruit size: 5-6”
Days to harvest from seed: 55
Container: Yes
Disease Resistance: Tolerance to Bean Common Mosaic Virus
Closest comparisons on market:
Kentucky Blue, Stringless Blue Lake

AAS Vegetable Award Winner: Pepper ‘Aji Rico’

Pepper ‘Aji Rico’

Aji Rico is the first of its kind: a hybrid hot pepper from the Capsicum baccatum species that matures early for short-season production or early summer enjoyment. The large plant produces many thin-walled, crunchy fruits which have a narrow conical shape. Fruit matures from green to red and can be eaten at any stage. “Ají” is the term for chili in South America. These fruits have a refreshing citrus flavor and warm heat level, perfect for eating fresh or cooking into salsas or hot sauces. Simply incorporate the desired number of seeds from the pepper to add some heat. Aji also dries well for a flavorful homemade flavorful “paprika.”

Capsicum baccatum
Common name: Pepper
Water needs: Normal
Staking: No
Foliage color: Green
Plant habit: Bushy
Plant height: 30-36 inches
Garden spacing: 2-3 feet
Fruit color (harvest): Red
Fruit shape: Narrow, conical
Fruit size: 3-4”
Fruit flavor: Warm level of heat
Fruits/plant: 50-75
Days to harvest (transpl): 50-75
Container: No
Closest comparisons on market:
Aji Cristal, Mayan

AAS Vegetable Award Winner: Pepper ‘Chile Pie’

A unique miniature Bell Pepper that is mildly hot when fruits turn red. These peppers are compact, easy to grow and adapt well to a container or small garden planting. Another plus is their dark green foliage and ability to set fruit even under hot humid conditions. Each plant yields 25 to 30 fruit and can be eaten fresh or cooked. “A word to the wise,” cautioned one judge, “plant these opposite side of your garden from your sweet bells – I only absentmindedly confused the two once!”

Capsicum annuum
Common name: Pepper
Staking: Yes
Foliage color: Green
Plant habit: Upright
Plant height: 18-32 inches
Garden spacing: 2-3 feet
Fruit color (harvest): Green or red
Fruit shape: Bell
Fruit size: 2 x 2.5”
Fruit flavor: Slight pungent
Fruits/plant: 25-30
Days to harvest (transpl): 65-70
Container: Yes
Closest comparisons on market:
Cajun Belle, Mexi Belle

AAS Vegetable Award Winner: Tomato ‘Midnight Snack’

Tomato ‘Midnight Snack’

Midnight Snack is a unique indigo-type cherry tomato that ripens to red with a beautiful glossy black-purple overlay when exposed to sunlight. This coloration comes from the accumulation of anthocyanin pigments, the same reason blueberries are blue and contain healthy antioxidants. The indeterminate growth habit means vines should be staked and, lucky for us gardeners, plentiful fruits will ripen all season long! Midnight Snack is great in salads or eaten straight off the plant…a guilt-free treat any time of the day or night. Judges commented on the improved taste of this indigo tomato and said this is a “Big improvement in purple tomatoes!” This novel AAS Winner matures earlier than the comparisons, is very easy to grow and will be a unique addition to any garden.

Solanum lycopersicum
Common name: Tomato
Plant habit: Indeterminate
Staking: Yes
Plant Height: 60-72 inches
Garden spacing: 18-36”
Days to harvest (transpl): 65-70
Fruit color (harvest): Red with a blush of glossy black-purple
Fruit Shape: Cherry
Fruit Size: 1.5 inches
Fruit Weight: 0.5 ounces
Fruit Flavor Description: Well-balanced traditional red cherry flavor
# Fruits/Plant: 100+
Closest comparisons on market:
Indigo Ruby, Indigo Cherry Drop

AAS Vegetable Award Winner: Watermelon ‘Gold in Gold’

Watermelon ‘Gold in Gold’

“Eye-catching and fun” was one judge’s comment about “Gold in Gold” Watermelon. The fruit’s outer color is yellow with golden stripes while the inner flesh is a lovely orange/gold. Crisp texture with high sugar contents is also an advantage. This winner is an early producing, high yielding, and improved disease-resistant melon with a strong rind that resists cracking or bursting. The unique oblong shape of the 6-12 pound fruit makes it a perfect “icebox” watermelon and the tasty fruit is superior. Judges said, “We loved it!”

Citrullus lanatus
Common name: Watermelon
Plant habit: Spreading
Plant Height: Indeterminate
Garden spacing: 2-3 feet
Days to harvest (transpl): 70
Fruit color (harvest): Yellow
Fruit Shape: Long oval
Fruit Weight: 11-16 pounds
Fruit Flavor Description: Sweet
# Fruits/Plant: 1
Closest comparisons on market:
Faerie, Lemon Krush

The one additional Regional Winner for our area (Great Lakes) for 2017 is:

AAS Regional Flower Award Winner: Petunia ‘Evening Scentsation’ (Great Lakes, Heartland)

Petunia ‘Evening Scentsation’

Evening Scentsation is the first petunia to receive an AAS award for its lovely fragrance and stunning color. This is “One of the best blue petunias I have seen, nice mounding and spreading habit. Excellent fragrance too!” wrote one judge. Evening Scentsation’s fragrance has notes of hyacinth, sweet honey and rose. As the name implies, the scent is stronger in the evening hours, though it can be experienced throughout the day as well. Scent is perceived differently by each individual. Evening Scentsation is a medium-sized multiflora type, reaching a height of 5-8 inches, and a width of 30-35 inches and will work well in containers, hanging baskets and in mass.

Petunia x atkinsiana
Common name: Petunia
Type: Flower from seed
Plant habit: Compact determinate
Light Needs: Full sun
Water Needs: Normal
Deadheading Recommended: No
Staking Required: No
Plant Habit: Spreading, trailing
Plant Height: 5 inches
Bloom Time: Late spring to frost
Bloom Color: Solid indigo blue
Bloom Size: 2.5 inches
Fragrance: Strong
Container: Yes
Weather Tolerance: Rain, heat
Garden Spacing: 12 inches
Hanging Basket: Yes
Closest comparisons on market:
Wave Blue

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