Retailers’ Choice Awards at Cultivate’21

Retailers’ Choice Awards at Cultivate’21

Take a look at the 15 winners from this year's panel of judges.


Retailers’ Choice Awards were presented to 12 exhibiting firms for 15 products at Cultivate’21 in Columbus, Ohio, on July 12, 2021. The Garden Center Group’s Danny Summers and Sid Raisch led the search as garden retailers selected the best new products to bring excitement and high level of interest for their stores in the coming season. Following is a list of firms (presented A-Z) and the products receiving recognition:


Hydrangea paniculata ‘Little Hottie’
Bailey Nurseries – First Editions

This new Hydrangea paniculata from First Editions was a show-stopper for the judges and may very well be the next big hit for the landscape. It is loaded with blooms on strong stems on a well-branched compact plant. 'Little Hottie' was bred for southern heat but performs equally well in Minnesota. Blooms begin as green and turns sparkling white.





Coleus ‘Copperhead’
Ball FloraPlant

This new introduction is a compact coleus featuring striking red/orange foliage with ruffled leaves edged in lime. Specifications are Height: 14-26", Spread: 14-16” and Exposure: Shade, Sun.







Coleus ‘Spitfire’
Ball FloraPlant

This compact, micro Coleus is the first of its kind in the Ball FloraPlant offerings and was a show-stopper for our Retailers! Spitfire holds its color very well in full sun or shade and is very late to flower. Its versatility will be just right for use in combos, containers and landscape borders, and great for urban gardeners' balconies or small patios. No other micro coleus has such vibrant pink and lime green coloring with this unique leaf shape.




Mini Cucumber – Mexican Sour Gherkin
Ball Horticultural/Burpee

Judges were on the lookout for smaller options for containers and the patio applications. And here is the perfect cucumber for containers and even hanging baskets. This tiny cuke has sweet cucumber flavor combined with a tangy sourness. The prolific heirloom unleashes a plethora of mini sweet treats. Fruit’s sweet flavor is counterpointed by a pleasing tangy note, as if pickled already. Yields a bonanza of tiny cukes about the size of a table grape for salads, snacks and pickling.



Dwarf Fig –Ficus carica ‘Fignomenal’
Concept Plants
Ficus ‘Fignomenal’ has an extremely dwarf and low-mounding habit which is perfect for urban gardening, indoors as well as outdoors. Fignomenal gives lots of fruit. The sweet, medium-sized figs are deep brown on the outside and pink-red on the inside. This phenomenal fig gives fruit throughout the year and requires little

maintenance. In addition to that, it has low insect pressure. Fignomenal grows up to 28 inches high and wide. This plant is introduced by Lloyd Traven and is now in tissue culture production.


Echibeckia Summerina Series
Pacific Plug & Liner

This breakthrough in breeding brings the long-flowering benefits of both Echinacea and Rudbeckia to offer continual blooming through to the first frosts. The series features 10 color options that show off bursts of rich browns, oranges and yellows, these hearty hybrids boast great flower size, fast growing speed, longevity during the flowering period, smaller, stronger leaves and disease resistance. Shown here is Echibeckia Summerina Blazing Fire which was showing blooms 4 to 5 inches across and numerous buds.


Tuscan Hand Thrown Pottery Series
Pacific Home and Garden

This new series features a warm old world look in various shapes and sizes to compliment all types of plants. Judges commented on how well this will sell in their centers and they are anxious to get supplies into their stores. Kevin Xu said they have warehouses on both in California and Georgia for easy shipping.





New Kitchen Minis Series – Tomatoes and Peppers
PanAmerican Seed
Judges were drawn to this new series of both mini tomatoes and peppers. The series features 12 pepper

selections of various shapes and colors and 4 different tomatoes. The new Kitchen Minis collection includes ready-grown fruiting compact potted vegetable plants consumers can place inside on a sunny windowsill or counter without a garden! They can also be placed outside as tabletop patio varieties. Kitchen Minis make it possible for consumers to harvest their own homegrown vegetables regularly. Each plant’s harvest lasts about a month.


Salvia x ‘Unplugged Pink’
Proven Winners

The newest addition to Proven Winners’ Unplugged Series is PINK and it is an amazing new annual Salvia. At Cultivate’21 it was featured on a pedestal. Its height and width are 12 by 20 inches and it's loaded with blooms so it is perfect for containers or the mid-landscape setting. It thrives on both full sun and partial shade. Availability for retail is 2022.





Verbena Beats Series ‘Purple+White’

This new series features four colors and two bi-colors such as ‘Purple+White’. These amazing compact mounding/spreading Verbenas give a constant color show in trials without cycling and are tough choices in times of drought and heat. The ‘Purple+White’ shown here is joined by ‘Red+White’ for great choices for designs.






Petunia StarletColorRush ‘Merlot Star’

This is a WOW combination with deep purple and white dapples … the first Sky pattern to join the Starlet series! Dark night skies features many stars showing off for you. Dark and moody, deep purple blooms is just the right setting for the bright white stars!







Peperomia caperrrata ‘Brasillia’
Succulents Unlimited BV

A new cultivar of Peperomia plant named ‘Brasilia’ that is characterized by leaves that are grey-purple on the upper surface and red on the lower surface, a large number of leaves, yellow-white flower spikes and a compact habit. This was the first time this new Peperomia has been in the USA. Availability in the USA is expected in later 2022.






Mangave ‘Praying Hands’
Walters Gardens

Mangave is a relatively new phenomenon, an intergeneric cross of Manfreda x Agave. Praying Hands is a brand new and totally different look than what you've seen in Mangave so far. Dark green leaves stay curled upward like a teardrop or an artichoke, where the cinnamon brown terminal spines nearly touch each other. 'Praying Hands' gets its unique habit from one its parents, Agave ocahui. Reported height and spread are 8 to 10 inches.





Thuja x ‘Junior Giant’
Willoway Nurseries
The famous ‘Green Giant’ now has an offspring! Instead of a 30-40’ tall specimen, Junior Giant will mature at 15-20’, making it a much better fit for sites where space is limited. Just as long-lived as its predecessor, plant Junior Giant on 5’ spacings and expect to enjoy your own privacy for up to 40 years. Junior Giant is part of the Syn-RG Hand-Picked For You program. Availability for retail is expected for spring 2022.