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Shining Stars at Cultivate’22

Ellen C. Wells & Jennifer Polanz

Article ImageThis year at Cultivate’22 in Columbus we witnessed lots of star power on the show floor, from Pop Star Hydrangea to Star Roses’ Scentables line, and so much more. Here, we run down the latest new products that not only caught our eye, but the eyes of The Garden Center Group retailers who voted on the Retailer’s Choice Awards. We’re only showing some of those award-winners here, so click the QR code to see the full video on all the products that won!

A New Monstera
Aroid Greenhouses is no stranger to the TPIE Cool New Product Awards (also organized by Danny Summers, executive director of The Garden Center Group) and they can now say they have a Retailer’s Choice Award, too. It was given to Aroid for its Monstera obliqua, a unique form of Monstera that’s been described as “more holes than leaf.” It’s an extremely rare plant, probably because it takes 12 to 14 months for one of these fenestrated leaves to fully form.

A Lighter Option
Proven Winners’ AquaPots designed by Jack Barnwell have been a success, but there were some drawbacks with the initial lineup. Being ceramic, they were heavy and risked cracking in northern climates. They were also a higher price point and more difficult to get because of shipping from Vietnam. Now, Jack has designed a lighter-weight resin pot that’s easier and more inexpensive to ship and store, and can withstand cold winters. He also designed a drop-in kit version of the AquaPot system, allowing customers to turn existing pots into AquaPots, an idea that merited a Retailer’s Choice Award.

Hardy to What?!
Gardenworld-Growing Colors/2 Plant received an award for the first-ever hardy (to Zone 5!) colocasia. It’s called Polargreen and features green leaves with pink stems. It tops off at 3- to 5-ft. tall. Interestingly, it doesn’t produce much of a bulb, which is why they’re producing it as tissue culture.

Article ImageOne for the Pollinators
A new intro from Terra Nova Nurseries: Cara Mia Sands Echinacea. It’s white with green hues at the center with super branching—three to seven flower stems per branch! And those branches do not flop, either. It has a great scent, too, and pollinators love it, says Chuck Pavlich, plant breeder and spokesman for Terra Nova.

Shimmering Star
Sedums are finding the spotlight lately. Selecta One’s Sedum Little Shimmer found a bit of that spotlight with a Retailer’s Choice Award. It’s an annual sedum with small, heart-shaped leaves of light and dark green. It also has small, delicate flowers. Mounding to 2- to 3-in. tall and spreads up to 7 in. Use it as a groundcover in low-water areas in baskets. Oh, and she's got an all-green sister, Little Shine.

A Sturdy New Red
Darwin Perennials debuted a delphinium, Red Lark, that caught the attention of the roving retailer judges with its sturdy upright habit. Unshakable! The color is great, too. And another bonus—it’s sterile so it won’t reseed.

Article ImageOrange You Glad You Read This?
Another plant in this year’s Retailer’s Choice mix is Calibrachoa Million Bells Orangina from Suntory Flowers. If you guessed that it has the same coloration as the popular orange drink, you’re right. Brilliant co-branding here with a well-known beverage brand, thanks to Suntory Holdings being part owner of Pepsi Bottling Ventures, the producers of Orangina. They say that Orangina POP could be coming. Could a whisky-colored Hibiki variety be next?

Article ImageA Fun Name for a Cool Plant
Dümmen Orange may have just gotten into the houseplant game, but they’re already winning awards for items they carry in their Welcome to the Jungle houseplant program. Delosperma Gherkin, AKA pickle plant, received the award for this touchable, fuzzy foliage that resembles pickles. Mounding and trailing, it’s a great item for a basket. Bonus: It has small yellow flowers on occasion.

A Taste of the Tropics
Another non-stranger to the Cool New Products Awards, Northland Floral’s time at Cultivate’22 netted them a Retailer’s Choice Award for the Hawaiian Palm (Brighamia insignis). This species can only be found in the wilds of Hawaii’s Kauai Island. It’s become nearly extinct thanks to difficulties of natural cultivation, but it’s been successfully produced through seed and tissue culture propagation. Interestingly, its leaves fall off once a year, leaving some scarring on the trunk that’s much like an external growth ring.

This and …
As you can guess from the name Captain Carp plant food, it’s a fish-based fertilizer. Nothing new there. But what we like about it is that it’s made from carp that are invading U.S. waterways. This is one of those “this and …” products that the younger generations are interested in. It’s a fertilizer and it’s helping to control an invasive species. Organic certification is pending. Available in quarts all the way to bulk orders.

Article ImageA Star is Born
Bailey Nurseries’ Pop Star Hydrangea was a can’t-miss item at Cultivate, as marketing for the latest addition to the Endless Summer brand was everywhere. With good reason—it’s gorgeous! Pop Star is reportedly one of the earliest lacecaps to bloom and it does so with abundance on sturdy stems. It’s compact, easy to grow, well-suited for containers and garden beds, and makes for great cut flower bouquets.

Sweet Smell of Success
The new Scentables lineup from Star Roses all feature roses with high petal counts and fragrance—oh my, the fragrance. There are 14 in the collection right now, with two brand new introductions of Raspberry Cupcake and Top Cream rounding out the group. Each rose chosen for the collection has a unique scent profile, from citrusy to classic rose. The goal is to have fragrant roses for the garden and then cut flowers to bring into the home.

Caterpillar Candy
Centerton Nursery in New Jersey took home a Retailer’s Choice Award for its line of plants that support pollinators in their caterpillar form. The Caterpillar Candy Series includes creative messaging around a selection of plants that are like … well … candy that the fuzzy crawlers love to munch. The series includes a selection of asclepias in colorful 4-in. pots with eye-catching graphics. Plant a row for the hungry caterpillars! GP

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