Grower-retailer members of The Garden Center Group have been recognizing some of their favorite findings at a number of events this summer. When it came time for the 2016 Landscape Show in Orlando in mid-September, group members upped the ante in presenting their favorite “Cool Product Awards.”
Led by The Garden Center Group’s Danny Summers, the team of retailers presented awards to 15 companies, representing 19 products on the Trends Stage on the show floor. Products were selected by garden retailers and landscape professionals in search of the best new products, both live goods and hard goods, for their business. The awards were a joint presentation by Florida Nursery Growers & Landscape Association and The Garden Center Group.
Here is a look at the products receiving recognition.
Ground Hook Tree Stake (Accuplastics, Inc.)
This is a new low-cost standard for staking trees. Normally you have two choices, expensive systems, or standard wooden stakes. This new system offers up to a 300-pound holding capacity compared to about 100 pounds with the wooden stake option.
Alocasia ‘Borneo King’ and ‘Dark Star’ (AG 3, Inc.)
‘Borneo King’ is a hybrid cross from ‘Thailand Giant’ and ‘Odora’ to give vigor and hardiness to a large Alocasia (up the 8 feet high with 3- to 4-inch long leaves). ‘Dark Star’ is a complex hybrid involving four different Alocasia plants, two of which are A. odora and A. macorrhizos ‘blackstem’. The goal in producing this hybrid was to develop a plant with the attractive look of the ‘blackstem’ with hardiness comparable to A. odora and size comparable to Alocasia macrorrhizos ‘Borneo Giant.’ Both of these varieties have strong genetics, making them durable plants in the landscape.
Alocasia ‘Low Rider’ (Agri-Starts)
This Alocasia is a unique dwarf form of Alocasia ‘Portora. It is a very tough plant that is hardy to Zone 7b. It has shown strong tolerance to salt and chlorine. It is an excellent container plant for consumers, and is well suited for landscape as well. It is very grower friendly, as it gets about two-thirds above its pot size and stops growing until shifted up to a larger size. It has not been shown to stretch when held for an extended period of time in one pot size. Agri-Starts sells these from tissue culture production in 72-cell trays.
New Michelin Tweels, offered by John Deere (Everglades Farm Equipment)
No more flat tires? Not if Michelin and John Deere have their way with these revolutionary designed tires, currently available only on select new John Deere zero-turn mowers. They offer a remarkable design to eliminate flats while providing a cushioned ride.
Ligustrum sinensis ‘Sunshine’ by PDSI (Southern Living Plants)
Ideal as a hedge in the landscape, ligustrum ‘Sunshine’ offers year-round golden foliage that flourishes in full sun. This sterile, non-invasive cultivar will not re-seed into the landscape. It has just been approved for sale in Florida. Check your state for details. Zones 6 to 10.
Green Living Fences (Hanging Tree Nursery)
Green Living Fence panels from Hanging Tree Nursery offer instant privacy for a patio or backyard. They are available in 4-foot widths and a choice of 4-foot or 6-foot heights, all covered with two types of ivy. This containerized unit provides instant privacy.
Topiary Bougainvillea With Unique Steel Support (Hidden Strength)
Bougainvilleas make great tropical additions to patios and landscape in warm months. But they traditionally have weak stem strength for withstanding any wind. Hidden Strength has solved that problem. They start with a custom steel frame that has a T-shape base in the bottom of the pot. Then they design the shape they want to produce a totally unique bougainvillea, braided (wrapped) around a steel support all the way up the plant. The results is a plant that can take the wind and still look super.
For more information, email [email protected].
Diehard Transplant Nutrient Packs (Horticultural Alliance, Inc.)
Horticultural Alliance has produced a line of retail packs for its Diehard soil conditioner products, all containing these core ingredients: beneficial fungus (Mycorrhiza fungus and Trichoderma fungus); beneficial bacteria; biostimulants of humic acid, sea kelp, and yucca; and, in some cases, a horticultural water gel for water and nutrient uptake.
E-Z Mosquito Sprayer and All-Natural Treatment (Mosquito Magician)
These new all-natural options for mosquito control offer two methods. First is the consumer version that features a battery-powered trigger sprayer with Mosquito Magician’s all-natural solution to kill and repel mosquitoes. Mosquito Magician repels up to two weeks with just one application. They also offer a revolutionary system to integrate into an existing underground sprinkler system called Sprinkler Magician.
“Snowbird Citrus” Container Citrus Trees (Record Buck Farms)
Record Buck always gets questions about when citrus trees produce fruit, and many varieties they sell ripen from November to February, the same time thousands of part-time Florida residents come south for the winter season. This new promotion helps emphasize the harvest season for these “snowbirds,” regardless where they live.
Asiatic Jasmine ‘Snowcap’ (Rode Groundcovers)
The colors of this Asian Jasmine were off the charts even though they were in 3-inch pots. Check with Rode Groundcovers for more details on their availability and features on this evergreen groundcover.
Alocasia caladora variegata (St. Germaine’s Dracaena Farm)
If you ask St. Germaine about this variegated Alocasia, they will tell you it is a sport of Alocasia calidora. But the color variations are dramatic. It is a stunning Alocasia with great structure and color.
For more information, go to Stgermainesfarm.com.
Glass Hanging Planted Terrarium (Sunshine Horticulture)
The design of this simple glass orb hanging from a chrome wire stand, and the combinations of colors from the tropical plant inside with contrasting color media jell, makes this an exciting retail sale. The company they are currently working on options for shipping smaller quantities.
Capillary Mat (WaterPulse)
Want to reduce the labor of watering and reduce plant loss? Retail capillary mats for garden centers are designed for racks, tables, and displays to maintain plants in containers ranging from large, single-plant containers to propagation trays. The mats are constructed with three separate layers: an impermeable backing layer, a patent pending geo-textile capillary fiber layer, and a pervious top layer. The geo-textile material wicks water evenly and quickly throughout the mat. As water is drawn into plants via the soil, the remaining water in the mat continues to evenly distribute. This unique capability allows WaterPulse capillary mats to be utilized on lightly sloped tables or on the ground. Retail capillary mats come in standard sizes and shapes to fit retailer display racks. They can be cut to custom sizes for special retail displays, or other unique growing environments.
Fan-Cooled Work Jackets (ZippKool, Inc.)
This new engineering from Japan is designed to create an artificial airflow surrounding our body so that sweat is vaporized quicker. By doing so, the body is able to keep its temperature lower and prevents itself from exerting excess amounts of sweat. ZippKool’s products are made up of two key components: a specially patented fabric that prevents air from exiting the jacket (thus allowing it to circulate), and a patented super light-weight fan that will blow up to 5 gallons of air per second. A lithium-ion battery also allows for up to 24-hour continual usage in a single charge.