For easy, beautiful flower enjoyment, perennials are always a great option.
Sometimes, getting perennials that prosper year after year, can be a challenge. Drum roll, please… Enter the first-ever herbaceous perennials to win our All-America Selections (AAS) winners award, Echinacea Sombrero® Baja Burgundy and Rudbeckia x American Gold Rush.
AAS Perennial Trials Are Located Across North America
Each of these AAS Winners was trialed throughout North America by professional, independent, volunteer judges who grew them next to comparisons that were already considered best-in-class (best-in-garden). These two varieties performed better than their comparisons over a grueling three winter trial and were granted the prestigious AAS award designation.
Sombrero Baja® Burgundy Echinacea – 2020 AAS Perennial Winner
This coneflower, or echinacea, with its vibrant, deep violet-red blossoms will add a bold accent to any sunny garden or container. The flower color is stunning and is perfect for cut flower designs too. After being trialed over three tough winters, the AAS Judges noted that Sombrero® Baja Burgundy stood out with hardiness (Zone 4), its sturdy branching and its amazing blooming habit.
Not only will you enjoy this plant in containers and landscapes, but the birds and pollinators will flock to the flowers and seeds as well. Deer a problem in your area? Then plant plenty of Echinacea! Picky deer find the flower’s spiny center and the aroma of the plant unpalatable.
After three years in their AAS trial gardens, this is what some of our judges said about Sombrero Baja Burgundy…
- “The plants were covered with flowers throughout the season.”
- “Flowers and seed heads can be used in floral arrangements- cones can be dried and used for fall decorations.”
- “The deep reddish-burgundy flower color was a standout and the plants were consistently full and compact.”
With prolific blooms from mid-summer until first frost, this is a definite must-have in your garden!
Rudbeckia x American Gold Rush – 2020 AAS Perennial Winner
American Gold Rush’s bright, golden-yellow flowers with black centers and arched petals are a gorgeous garden addition. This compact, upright domed-shaped beauty has narrow 2-inch wide hairy foliage that blooms from July to September, and some even until first frost. This cultivar has smaller foliage and shorter height compared to other rudbeckia varieties making it perfect for use in container gardening while being incredibly easy to grow!
Hardy to Zone 4, American Gold Rush is a pollinator magnet. Butterflies and bees will love the many flowers, and, in the fall, the finches will enjoy the seeds!
One of the winning traits for American Gold Rush is that it was bred for its resistance to Septoria leaf spot. This cultivar showed no signs of the fungus even in wet, humid conditions. Septoria leaf spot is a very common fungus on other black-eyed Susan (rudbeckia) varieties. The fungus starts on the lower leaves and then moves up the plant during the season.
AAS Judges comments after growing this new AAS Winner include…
- ” I believe this is one of the very best rudbeckias I’ve trialed and one of the very best perennials, too.”
- “Would make an excellent addition to a yard, especially in any sort of mass planting.”
- ” The foliage texture, plant habit, and flower show are refined in appearance.”
Give it a try, this new AAS Winner is destined to be the new rudbeckia staple in your garden and landscape!
What is AAS?
All-America Selections is the oldest and most well-known non-profit plant trialing organization in North America. Our All-America Selections Winners have been tested for garden performance by a panel of expert judges. The AAS Winners offer gardeners reliable new varieties that have proven their superior garden performance in Trial Grounds across North America, thus, our tagline of “Tested Nationally and Proven Locally®”.
When you purchase an AAS Winner, “The Proof is in The Plant™”, you know that it has been put through its paces by an independent, neutral trialing organization and has been judged by experts in their field. The AAS Winner label is like a stamp of approval. AAS Winners are bred and produced without using genetic engineering, commonly referred to as genetic modification or GMOs.
“This post is provided as an education/inspirational service of All-America Selections. Please credit and link to All-America Selections when using all or parts of this article.”