Cultivate’22: New plant highlights (2022)

Cultivate’22: New plant highlights (1)

Matt McClellan

There were tons of amazing new introductions on display at the Columbus, Ohio, trade show.

July 29, 2022


Matt McClellan

New Varieties Plants

There were plenty of amazing new introductions at Cultivate’22, which took place from July 16-19. Here are a few of the standouts from the Columbus, Ohio trade show.

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At the Ball Ingenuity booth, the Jurassic Megalo series of Rex begonia were stopping people in their tracks. The exciting colors and textures on these varieties were attention-grabbers. And the bold patterns are definitely reminiscent of reptilian creatures.

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New to the Endless Summer family is 'Pop Star,' a beautiful lacecap hydrangea that's one of the earliest to bloom with a compact habit loaded with flowers. 'Pop Star' is easy to grow and well-suited for both landscapes and containers.

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Emerald Coast Growers showed off a new infertile Miscanthus sinensis, High Frequency, bred from NC State via Darwin Perennials. High Frequency impressed with gold cross-banding on its arching blades.

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Star Roses and Plants aims to bringthe fragrance back to roses with its Scentables line, an offshoot program of the Bloomables brand. The inaugural 14 varieties offer notes of wild honey, crisp fruit, warm spice, and sweet perfume. With names like Top Cream and Raspberry Cupcake, they still have disease resistance without losing the scents that consumers want from a rose. Liners are available for 2023 booking.

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Monrovia’s impressive display was segmented by plant type. From houseplants to conifers, it offered something for everyone. Glacier Bay, one of the newest additions to the Seaside Serenade series of hydrangeas, was notable for its distinctive cup-like floret shapes. The Evolution series of coneflowers also popped with multiple colors ofblooms off the same plant.

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It was hard to miss the superhero-themed display of BetterBoxwood, the latest brand from Plant Development Services, Inc. The series is the result of over two decades of breeding and trials led by Belgium grower and boxwood expert, Didier Hermans, and the Flemish Institute for Agricultural and Fisheries Research. He spent years and countless trials working with a dedicated team of researchers to breed a collection of boxwood that are genetically resistant to boxwood blight. The collection includes four unique varieties, filling a wide range of landscape needs.

(Video) What's new from Cultivate'22!

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At Spring Meadow’s booth, visitors were awed by the incredibly sturdy blooms of brand new Hydrangea macrophylla Let's Dance Big Band. It’s new for consumers in 2023. It partners well with fellow Proven Winners ColorChoice shrub Quick Fire Fab, the latest evolution of the Quick FireHydrangea paniculata. The dense mophead bloom of and cruciform florets of Quick Fire Fab differs from the original Quick Fire, which is a lacecap.

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Suntory Flowers celebrated its 20th year in style with its deluxe Airstream trailer as the centerpiece of its booth. The breeding company came about as an offshoot of the biotech boom at its parent company, primarily known for spirits like Suntory’s famous Japanese whiskey. In 1992, Suntory Flowers’ genetics began making their mark on the industry with varieties like Surfinia petunia and Million Bells calibrachoa. The Surfinia series is still a strong seller today, and its newest varieties were centered in front of the Airstream.

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At the Syngenta Flowers booth, Mantra was making a splash. This new geranium series, shown in bright red and dark green foliage, has a similar habit to the Mojo series but with 40% less vigor. It grows to 16-20" high and wide and is a good match for 2.5 quart and larger pots.

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másLabor and AgWorks H2

Together, the two companies obtain approvals for their clients to employ over 60,000 foreign workers per year.

July 28, 2022


Posted by Katie McDaniel

Industry News

MásLabor, a provider of comprehensive services for employers participating in the H-2A and H-2B nonimmigrant visa programs, has announced a merger with AgWorks H2, LLC, a Georgia-based H-2A and H-2B consulting firm.

“AgWorks has a proven success model, with a deep compliance focus and highly knowledgeable leadership,” said Edward Silva, CEO of másLabor, who recently purchased másLabor in July 2021. “But as we and the market continue to evolve and grow, there are clear benefits to integration, shared systems and knowledge, and more active collaboration.”

One such benefit is the economy of scale. Together, the two companies obtain approvals for their clients to employ over 60,000 foreign workers per year. This gives the companies unique insight into issues faced by clients in every geography and industry.

“Together, we have a detailed view of the labor market for the entire country as it relates to H-2 workers, across nearly every industry,” said Dan Bremer, current President of AgWorks who will remain in a key leadership role to both másLabor and AgWorks. “We know the challenges, the opportunities, and we have best-in-class solutions.”

Under the new structure, AgWorks will expand its service offerings to align with those offered by másLabor, including assistance with domestic job applicants, comprehensive audit services and other visa categories. The companies will also consolidate their compliance teams to provide clients with expertise and best practices. Finally, integration also comes with a significant investment in technology to provide clients with a more efficient and effective process throughout.

“Our core mission is saving American businesses, full stop,” said Silva. “We are thrilled to join with the AgWorks team in this mission and their decades of experience.”

Click here to learn more about másLabor and AgWorks.

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Photo by Kate Spirgen

Garden retailers chose their 15 favorite new plants and products at this year's horticulture show in Columbus, Ohio.

(Video) Highlights From Greenhouse Grower's Medal of Excellence Event at Cultivate'22

July 26, 2022


Posted by Kate Spirgen

Plants

The Retailers' Choice Awards were presented to 15 exhibitors at Cultivate'22 in Columbus, Ohio, last week. Organized by The Garden Center Group's Danny Summers, the annual awards program recognizes garden retailers' selections of the best new plants and products to bring excitement and interest to their stores in the coming season.

Monstera obliqua from Aroid Greenhouses

Cultivate’22: New plant highlights (15)This unique form of monstera features the most extreme leaf opening, often described as "more holes than leaf." The plant often features 90% holes and only 10% leaf.

Hydrangea 'Pop Star' from Bailey Nurseries

Cultivate’22: New plant highlights (16)New to the Endless Summer family is a beautiful lacecap hydrangea that's one of the earliest to bloom with a compact habit loaded with flowers. 'Pop Star' is easy to grow and well-suited for both landscapes and containers.

Bamboo stakes and displays from Bamboo Supply Company

Cultivate’22: New plant highlights (17)Judges spotted the variety of sizes, shapes and display options from Bamboo Supply Company. Along with typical stakes, the company offers a compact display plus a variety of shapes and sizes of trellis, and a 100% natural plant tag holder available in 6-, 10.5- and 15-inch sizes. The solid bamboo stakes have a notch to securely hold tags with 5mm holes.

Deer and small animal repellents from Bobbex

Cultivate’22: New plant highlights (18)Bobbex repellents are eco-friendly, so they're safe for plants, people, pets and wildlife. The long-lasting protein-based formula won't wash off in rain or snow. Bobbex lasts for weeks during growth seasons, and even longer during dormant seasons. It's easy to apply and good for plants, flowers and bulbs so over-spraying is never a worry.

SUS tee Aquameter from Cabinotier

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At first glance, the SUS tee Aquameter appears to be a marking pen or marker, but instead it is one of the most unique way of managing water for your plants with no batteries required. Its unique wick detects moisture near the bottom and slowly turns the indicator near the top blue when plenty of moisture is available and turns white when the plant needs more water. SUS tee is available in three sizes.

Caterpillar Candy Series from Centerton Nursery

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With the important task of supporting pollinators, Centerton Nursery has introduced a creative message and selection of plants that Caterpillars love. It’s called Caterpillar Candy and includes a selected number of Asclepias (milkweed) in colorful 4-inch pots with great graphics. If you look closely at the photo on the left, you can see a caterpillar on this plant just above the tag!

Delphinium 'Red Lark' from Darwin Perennials

Cultivate’22: New plant highlights (21)This exciting new coral-red delphinium has a sturdy upright habit that makes it great in the garden and as a cut flower. This variety is sterile and will not reseed.

Delosperma 'DeGherkin' byDümmen Orange

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Also known as the ‘pickle plant’, the Delosperma 'DeGherkin' features touchable, fuzzy foliage on small pickle-like foliage. ‘DeGherkin’ looks great in containers and baskets displaying a mounding to trailing habit. Accented by small yellow flowers, ‘DeGherkin’ makes an indoor foliage statement standing alone or placed in collections.

Colocasia 'Polargreen' by Gardenworld-Growing Colors/2 Plant International

(Video) Cultivate'22: The Industry Must-Attend Event

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This is the first-ever colocasia that is hardy to Zone 5.Polargreen features medium green leaves with pink stems. Its mature height is 3-5 feet. This elephant ear does not produce a bulb.

Hawaii Palm (Brighamia insignis) by Northland Floral

Cultivate’22: New plant highlights (24)The Hawaiian Palm (Brighamia insignis) can only be found in the wild on the Hawaiian island of Kauai. It has become nearly extinct and despite the difficulties of natural cultivation in the wild, it can be commercially produced through seed and tissue culture. With proper care the Brighamia can produce yellow star-shaped flowers that can last up to several weeks. The leaves will fall off once a year and will leave scarring on the trunk which shows the new growth. A new canopy will soon start to bud. These palms are relatively easy to take care of.

Aquapots Kits by Proven Winners

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Proven Winners and Aquapots’ creator Jack Barnwell have designed kits to fit standard pots. Many have loved the original Aquapots with its unique water reservoir design. And now they are introducing several sizes of Aquapots Kits designed to fit into standard pots, even square ones. The reservoir is self-contained and features an extendable fill tube to adjust for the height of the pot. Watch the Proven Winners website for details on availability for 2023.

Automatic Handheld Shovel by Rotoshovel

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Judges were drawn to this new handheld battery-operated digging tool. Rotoshovel comes with its own case, charger and replaceable 12-volt battery. Extra batteries are also available. Rotoshovel comes in two sizes.

Sedum 'Little Shimmer' by SelectaOne

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This new annual sedum has a lot to catch your eye. Its small heart-shaped leaves have a shimmer of light green with some darker variations. It also develops delicate small flowers. This low-maintenance, drought-tolerant groundcover of 2-3" height and 5-7" spread has a trailing habit which is wonderful for hanging baskets or containers as well.

Calibrachoa Million Bells 'Orangina' by Suntory Flowers

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Suntory brings a new color to the Million Bells series in 2023 with Orangina, named after the popular orange drink. Oranginahas been popular internationally since it was introduced in France in 1936. It is a blend of three citrus juices, mandarin orange pulp and sparkling water. Suntory Flowers’ parent company, Suntory Holdings, is part owner of Pepsi Bottling Ventures, which produces Oranginain North America.

New organic plant foods by We The Wild Plant Care

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Judges quickly recognized this new line of organic plant food and protect spray for its new clean look. It originated in Australia but is now made in the USA. These products are 100% organic with up to 3 billion microbes per tsp. Products include an 8 oz. Grow Concentrate, 17 oz. Protect Spray with Neem and 14 oz. Enrich Power. They also offer a kit containing all three products.

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Photo © Stocked House Studio | Adobestock

Al Martin shared advice on how to find quality candidates from outside of the horticulture industry.

July 26, 2022


Chris Markham

(Video) Sunfinity® Sunflower | Cultivate'22

Given the growing number of horticulture operations that are struggling to find employees in the current labor shortage, it was no surprise that Al Martin’s presentation “Hiring from outside of the horticulture industry” was packed at Cultivate’22.

Finding people with horticulture skills is becoming harder and harder. And it’s difficult for growers to find candidates with the experience that they want, so, according to Martin, growers have to change their idea of what the ideal candidate looks like and be ready and willing to train people. Instead of just looking at hard skills, Martin says that employers also need to look at soft skills and good attitude. After all, hard skills can be taught, but soft skills can’t.

But how can growers find and attract these candidates from outside of the horticulture industry? Martin outlined several steps, including expanding job postings to include people with broader customer service experience, as well as finding multiple places to post a job advertisement.

As he’s recruited employees for green industry operations, Martin has found that restaurant workers tend to perform well in the horticulture industry, thanks to their people skills, communication skills and work ethic.

Martin explained how he always looks for potential employees when he’s out in public, be it at a restaurant or anywhere he’s interacting with service workers. When he encounters someone he thinks will do well, he’ll let them know he’s hiring and that he noticed their customer service skills. When interviewing a candidate from outside of the industry, Martin said it’s important to explain the job thoroughly, so the candidate knows exactly what they’re getting into. During this interview stage, Martin also said it’s crucial to be flexible, especially with younger candidates. Today, many people, but especially younger people, want to maintain a work-life balance, and being flexible in the hiring process can help attract these candidates, especially those who may only want to work part-time.

But what happens after the new employee joins the team? Martin explained the importance of having a good onboarding and training process, as most employee turnover happens during the first six months to a year. Because of this, it’s important to train new employees well and make sure they don’t leave. Martin said this process should include check-ins with the new employee every 30, 60 and 90 days to make sure they’re feeling good about their progress and their place in the company.

People attending the session also shared their own insights on hiring new employees. Here are some examples of recruitment strategies that people had success with:

  • Offering referral bonuses to current employees who bring in new employees.
  • H-2A and H-2B programs.
  • Recruiting from job centers and unemployment offices.
  • Recruiting from refugee centers in their area.
  • Providing new employees with a clear path forward, so they know what promotions may be available to them down the road if they stay at the company.
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National Garden Bureau

The plant classes of note for 2023 are amaryllis, celosia, broccoli, orchid, rudbeckia and spirea.

July 25, 2022


Posted by Katie McDaniel

Plants

National Garden Bureau,the non-profit organization promoting gardening in North America on behalf of the horticulture industry and its members, just rolled out all six of the 2023 “Year of the” plant classes last week at Cultivate’22.

For the bulb crop, 2023 will be the Year of the Amaryllis.

For annuals, 2023 will be the Year of the Celosia.

For edibles, 2023 will be the Year of the Broccoli.

For houseplants, 2023 will be the Year of the Orchid.

For perennials, 2023 will be the Year of the Rudbeckia.

For flowering shrubs, 2023 will be the Year of the Spirea.

The “Year of the” program chooses crops specifically for the North American market that are easy to grow, genetically diverse and with a lot of new breeding to showcase. Breeders, brokers, seed companies, growers and garden centers throughout the U.S. and Canada are urged to highlight these flowers and plants when planning their marketing for the 2023 season as the publicity generated from this program is substantial.

(Video) Highlights From Greenhouse Grower's Medal of Excellence Event at Cultivate'21

By November 1, 2022, National Garden Bureau will have photos of numerous varieties of all six crops (provided by NGB members) posted on the NGB website. NGB also provides PDF’s of fact sheets, flyers, handouts, signage, poster, PowerPoint presentations, etc. After November 1, all of the above can be downloaded at no charge from the NGB website. These tools will help the North American home garden industry promote these non-branded, non-specific varieties to consumers and encourage gardening with these interesting crop classes.

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