Minnesota Master Gardeners Seed Trials

What are some of the best-performing flowers, herbs, and vegetables for our region? Minnesota Master Gardeners weigh in with their top picks in today’s Plant Exchange Blog.



 University of Minnesota Extension Master Gardener Seed Trials


Minnesota Master Gardeners have been testing seeds for their gardeners since 1982. In blind tests, they monitor six varieties of each plant for disease and insect intolerance, growth and germination rate. They rate flowers for bloom color, size, and fragrance; vegetables are rated for taste, flavor, and productivity.

Other winners were Surrey arugula, 3-root Grex golden beets, licorice mint, and Indian Chief nasturtiums.

“Minnesota Winner” varieties are featured each year at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum’s Teaching Garden in Chaska, Minnesota.




Year Trial Winner
2019 Tall Yellow Snapdragons Aromas Fresh Lemon
2019 Red / Orange Nasturtium Indian Chief
2019 Mint Licorice Mint
2019 Early Tomatoes 4th of July
2019 Snap Peas Sugar Ann
2019 Red Cabbage Ruby Perfection
2019 Golden Beets 3-Root Grex
2019 Arugula Surrey
2018 Sweet Pea Millenium
2018 Edamame Chiba Green
2018 Salvia Victoria Blue
2018 Large Leaf Basil Nufar
2018 Yellow Bean Gold Rush
2018 Yellow Tomato Valencia
2018 Small Yellow Squash Sweet Dumpling
2018 Bunching Onions Feast
2017 Yellow Carrots Yellow Bunch
2017 Currant Tomatoes White Current
2017 Brussel Sprouts Gustus
2017 Purple Cauliflower Depurple
2017 Broccoli Green Magic
2016 Rudbeckia Irish Eye
2016 Snapdragon Chantilly Cream Yellow
2016 Salvia Coral Nymph
2016 Sunflower Lemon Queen
2016 Marigold Bambino
2016 Zinnia PopArt Red and White
2015 Romano Bush Beans Navarro
2015 Asian Greens Spicy Greens
2015 Black Heirloom Tomatoes Cherokee Purple
2015 White-Headed Cauliflower Terzola
2015 Patty Pan Squash Benning’s Green Tint
2015 Thyme Pro-Easy
2015 Flowering/Ornamental Kale Pigeon Pink
2015 Red/Pink Morning Glories Dolce Vita
2014 Spinach Olympia
2014 Carrots, Orange Sugarsnax & Touchon
2014 Squash, Summer, Yellow Cube of Butter
2014 Tea, Herbal Citronella Balm
2014 Pepper, Bull Horn Sweet Goccia d’Oro
2014 Tomatoes, Patio Container Tumbling Tom
2014 Daisies, Shasta Snow Lady
2014 Alyssum, White Snow Crystals

The University of Minnesota Extension Master Gardeners have just released their annual list of top picks, based on seed trials carried out in 2019. Among the winners? Ruby Perfection red cabbage, Sugar Ann snap peas, Surrey arugula and Fourth of July early tomatoes. Search the article “Sugar Ann, Sugar Bon or Sugar Sprint?” at www.extension.umn.edu


Do comment on your favorite plant and its growth in your area below.

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