All-American selections

Horticulture Hints

Looking forward to starting your spring garden? Consider choosing an All-American Selection (AAS) winner when selecting seeds to start for your garden. With a mission to “promote new garden seed varieties with superior garden performance judged in impartial trials in North America”, the AAS selects new winners annually.

All-American Selections first begin in 1933, to endorse new plant varieties as national winners, and is the oldest independent, non-profit seed testing organization in North America.

Seed grown in AAS trial gardens follow very exact rules for planting and care. Plants are evaluated bi-weekly by horticulture specialists on vigor, uniformity and ornamental value, as well as resistance to disease, insects, and holding up to weather conditions. Winners are determined by their overall performance in these experimental field trials, which are held in test gardens across the country.

For 2017, AAS has announced 24 national winners based on results from over 200 trial gardens in 2016. Regional winners for Iowa include: ‘Sweetie Pie’ pepper; ‘Evening Scentsation’ petunia; and ‘Honeybaby’ winter squash.

Locally, ISU’s Reiman Gardens is an AAS affiliate, having tested the 2017 winning plants last year. They will have these winners on display again this year, along with the new plants being trial tested for 2018.

For further information on the 2017 and past years winners, visit the All-American Selection website at:

Did you know? It was in November 2013 that the first All-American Selection regional winners were announced. Regional divisions began as recognition that different plants do better in different areas of the country. Of the six national regions, Iowa is included in the Heartland region, along with ND, SD, NE, KS, MN, and MO.

Gardening Questions? Contact McCormick at for information or advice.