Tropicals, foliage, and succulents may be the way to new consumers’ hearts, based on the cool ideas, products, and trends presented at the Florida Nursery Growers and Landscape Association’s (FNGLA) 2016 Tropical Plant Industry Exhibition (TPIE), January 20-22, 2016 at the Broward County Convention Center in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. The theme this year, Elevating Expectations, was fulfilled, renewing and reinvigorating attendees to carry forth their businesses into 2016 and beyond.
TPIE showcases the latest trends in foliage, floral, and tropical plants, with a tradeshow of more than 200,000 square feet of show-stopping displays. While checking out new plants and products is a great excuse to travel to South Florida in late January, the threat of Storm Jonas bringing the snowstorm of the century to the Mid-Atlantic and Southern states had some show attendees booking flights early to get home before they were stranded. Still, reports from FNGLA said this year’s TPIE was well-attended, with 400 exhibiting companies, and more than 6,200 show attendees from 43 states and 46 countries.
Here are some of the highlights from TPIE 2016.
Enlightening Education And Ideas
Opening speaker Christine Boland, an international trends analyst and thought leader, returned to TPIE for a repeat performance after she blew the minds of the 2015 TPIE attendees. In a packed room, Boland’s audience learned about how the global society affects marketplace trends. She named eight consumer needs that can be satisfied by plants and the services they provide:
- Longing for grip
- Desire for the human scale
- Rediscovering the senses
- Striving for balance
- Defining a personal pace or rhythm
- Taking responsibility
- Reconnecting to nature
- Cultivating the uncomplicated
A second session, “Elevating Expectations” was added to the schedule to help business owners and industry members improve their personal habits, their businesses, and the industry at large. International speaker, author, and strategist John Kennedy provided participants with specific ideas rise to new consumer expectations in order to enhance their customers’ experiences, and steps to maintain higher standards of service and experience.
The TPIE Road Show took tour attendees on three distinct adventures. One group toured Florida nurseries that showcased consumer products that reflect current market trends. Another group looked in depth at the latest innovations in biological controls, visiting growing operations that demonstrated their use and results using biocontrols and beneficial insects. The third group explored landscape trends in garden design and nightscapes, also stopping at local botanical gardens and private, residential landscapes. This year’s tours included first-time attendees from the Garden Writers Association.
More than 250 students showed up for the FNGLA Horticulture Career Fair on the last day of the show, which helped business leaders inform these bright young minds about the wide number and variety of industry career opportunities available to them.
Incredible Displays And Awesome Trends
There was no shortage of impressive displays at this year’s show, from interior design showrooms to on-trend booth vignettes, highlighting enlightened uses for to plants in home decor and lifestyle settings. TPIE’s Interior Design Showrooms included four interior vignettes presented by different designers, matching plant designs with interior designs. Featured designes were reclaimed, modern, and children’s spaces. As a unique fundraiser for the National Foliage Foundation (NFF), attendees voted with dollars for their favorite room. The winner: the Reclaimed Room, designed by Mary and Roy Daugherty, earned the most money for NFF.
New for interiorscape professionals was a session matching projects with current industry trends. Peer-to-peer presentations focused on live walls, holiday, and special event projects.
Known for incredible displays, this year’s exhibitors truly upped their game, with not only innovative plants, products, and services, but also unique ways to display them that provided attendees with creative ideas to market plants in their businesses.
Booth award judges gave the coveted TPIE Best of Show Award to Costa Farms for its pop-up garden center display that included several themed vignettes, each presenting plants and ideas for the different categories the grower produces. In the Island Exhibit award category, United Nursery took first place for its life-size “Plantopoly” board game that used horticulture-related details in a creative and fun way to highlight their inventory. See all the TPIE Booth Award winners.
New this year were “Elevating Expectations” awards, going along with the theme of the show, that were given to 10 exhibitors who went above and beyond to provide a little something extra. Among those recognized include Silver Vase for its wall of Vanda orchids and Sun-Fire Nurseries, which provided Sun Parasol mandevilla umbrellas that helped deflect the rain on the Friday of the show.
Cool New Products And Breathtaking New Varieties
The Exhibitors’ Showcase provides a great glimpse at some of the hottest products at the show, so attendees can take note, and then be sure to go and see them in action at their designated booths. The area highlighted dozes of the industry’s new plants and products, including new products and varieties in the running for special awards. See all of the new products and varieties highlighted at the TPIE website. This year’s kudos went to:
- Favorite New Flowering Plant: Nepenthes ‘Lady Luck’ by Deroose Plants, Inc.
- Favorite New Foliage Plant: Aglaonema ‘Pink Dalmatian’ by Costa Farms
- Favorite New Product: Coffee Arabica by Deroose Plants, Inc.
In a special session, the Garden Center Group selected 15 stand-out products for TPIE’s Cool Products Awards. Exhibitors with winning products shared more information about their items, providing a quick and lively way to see what’s trending at TPIE. Look for an upcoming story on the Cool Products, and check out several highlights of the entire TPIE 2016 show in the slideshow above.
Several attendees of TPIE also attended Costa Farms’ 2016 Season Premier. Be sure to check out the highlights of this annual trial program at Costa Farms’ Trial Gardens in Miami, to see a sneak preview of new varieties coming on the market in 2017.