Each year, organizations across the United States choose plants that are exceptionally garden worthy. These tried-and-true trees, shrubs, perennials, annuals and edible plants are singled out by garden professionals in the hopes that they’ll find their way into more landscapes, because of the benefits that they will bring.


A network of anonymous gardening professionals from various regions of the United States and Canada evaluate new, not-yet-sold cultivars in about 80 test gardens each growing season, judging them against comparable selections that are already on the market. The new cultivars are scored for certain criteria and the top scorers are named All-America Selections. For lists of past winners as well as regional standouts, go to http://www.all-americaselections.org.

1 Candela Pink celosia

Celosia spicata Candela Pink

2021 FLOWER WINNER This flowering plant won points with the All-America Selections judges for its long bloom time, deer resistance and tolerance of heat and humidity. From late spring until fall, it lifts hot-pink flower spikes above purple-blushed foliage. Its upright habit makes it easy to combine in the ground or containers. Site in full or partial sun. Celosia grows best with consistent moisture even though it can withstand a dry spell. Annual.

2 ‘Goldilocks’ squash

Cucurbita pepo ‘Goldilocks’

2021 VEGETABLE WINNER The vivid orange color of this acorn squash makes it useful as both an ingredient or a fall decoration. The plant remains bushy and compact, growing to 30 inches tall and 40 inches wide. The squash ripens at four inches around, about 85 days after seeding, and delivers a nutty-sweet flavor. Plant in full sun and provide even watering. Warm-season vegetable.


The Nebraska Statewide Arboretum and the Nebraska Nursery and Landscape Association collaborate each year to highlight superb plants for the challenging conditions of the Great Plains. The 2021 choices reflect the concerns of gardeners today:

“Adaptability is especially important with our current weather extremes,” explains Karma Larsen, arboretum communications specialist. “We also want to feed pollinators and wildlife, do a minimum.

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