All-American Selection Winners Perform

All-American Selections LogoAre you constantly in search of flowers and vegetables that grow well in this area?  You might want to check out the All-American Selection (AAS) winners.  All-America Selections is an independent non-profit organization that tests new, never-before-sold varieties for the home gardener.  It is the only non-profit plant trialing organization in the US.

Some varieties are regional winners, while others go on to become national winners that perform well throughout the country.  Varieties have been trialed since 1932.  Judges are evaluating the plant on trial, looking for improved characteristics.  These characteristics may include: increased disease or pest tolerance, earliness to bloom or harvest, novel color or flavor, length of bloom or harvest, total yield, novel flower form, and overall performance.

All-American Selection winners have been tested in over 80 trial sites throughout the US.  Trial sites include universities, botanical gardens, greenhouses, plant farms, and seed production facilities.  Each year about 40-50 varieties are tested.  To provide a basis of comparison for new varieties, seeds from competing companies are donated for trial use.  There are four categories that plants are trialed in:

  • ornamentals from seed.
  • ornamentals from vegetative cuttings.
  • edibles (fruits and vegetables from seed).
  • herbaceous perennials (first winners to be announced in 2019).

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You can view a the map of all of the AAS Trial sites at

Winners of the AAS can be found in display gardens throughout the US.  You can find a display garden near you at  Wisconsin currently has eight display gardens.  The Hancock Agricultural Research Station is one of these sites, so I would encourage you to visit it on their open house days throughout the year to see the newest AAS varieties.

Last summer I had the opportunity to visit another of the AAS display gardens.  I visited the University of Wisconsin Spooner Agriculture Research Station Teaching and Display Garden.  Display gardens always have interesting plant arrangements to complement the winning plant varieties being showcased.  The Spooner Research Station was no exception.

Wood chip path leading into the Spooner Agriculture Research Station AAS Display Garden. The path is surrounded by summer-blooming perennials, shrubs of different colors and textures, and markers identifying each type of plant.

As you enter the Spooner Display Garden, you will see perennials and flowering annuals attractively arranged as part of the more permanent portion of the garden. Photo by Lyssa Seefeldt.

Tea garden featuring many types of flowers that attract pollinators. Flowers are mostly in shades of white, pink, and purple. Display includes a small patio table and two chairs at the center and two white teapots on the table. In the background you can see the Spooner Ag Research Station trial grape plants.

As you explore further into the garden at Spooner, you will see different themed sections that change each year. Here we see a tea garden featuring many different flowers that attract pollinators. In the background you can see grapevines that are on test in Spooner for hardiness (separate from the All-American Selections portion of the garden). Photo by Lyssa Seefeldt.

The University of Wisconsin-Extension provides research-based information to help citizens of Wisconsin make informed decisions based on science.  UW-Extension extends the boundaries of the university to the boundaries of the state, helping the people of Wisconsin and beyond access university resources and engage in learning, wherever they live or work.


Note: This article originally was published in the Marquette County Tribune, Waushara Argus, and/or the Berlin Journal.  This article was written by Lyssa Seefeldt, UW-Extension Agriculture Agent for Marquette County unless otherwise noted.