Two colorful peppers, a yellow-skinned watermelon and a pink salvia are the first All-America Selections announced for 2012.
All-America Selections are grown from seeds in test gardens throughout the United States and those that are judged reliable and with improvements over other cultivars get the honor.
Unlike previous years, AAS, a non-profit trade and education group, will announce winners throughout the year rather than all at once. And AAS plants or seeds should be more readily available at local garden centers, online or mailorder retailers.
‘Black Olive’ ornamental pepper (Capsicum annum) has pale purple flowers, deep purple leaves and purple fruit that turns red as it matures. The fruit is edible but fiery hot. Grow in full sun. The frost-tender annual gets about 18 inches tall and 15 inches wide. Ornamental peppers work well in containers, as a front border in a flower bed or used in a mass planting.
‘Cayennetta’ chili pepper (Capsicum annum) has a compact, bushy habit that yields 4-inch long, tapered green peppers that turn red as they mature. The plant gets about 20 inches tall and 24 inches wide. Grow in full sun.
‘Faerie’ watermelon (Citrullus lanatus) has pale yellow rind pinkish-red, very sweet and crisp flesh. The vine spreads to about 11 feet, making ‘Faerie’ a good choice for a smaller garden. It is an early variety, with only 72 days to harvest when sown from seed. Each slightly rounded melon weighs four to six pounds with a slightly rounded shape. Grow in full sun.
‘Summer Jewel Pink’ salvia (S. coccinea) is a long blooming annual that gets 20 inches tall and 16 inches wide. Plant in full sun in clusters or as a filler in a container. It is a sister to ‘Summer Jewel Red’ salvia, which was an All-America Selection in 2011.