Tropical Delight

Tropical Delight

Although the Tropical Plant Industry Exhibition (TPIE) has always been known for looking green as an oasis full of gorgeous indoor plants, it is now becoming a place where people are thinking green.

Hosted by Florida Nursery, Growers & Landscape Association (FNGLA), TPIE is the only national tropical foliage event. Nearly 7,500 industry professionals representing 46 states, two U.S. territories and 54 countries participated in this year’s event, Jan. 17-19 at the Broward County Convention Center in Ft. Lauderdale. Major buyers from garden centers, interiorscapers, retailers and wholesalers were booking their 2008 orders of green goods.

Nearly 500 exhibiting companies showcased a wide range of tropical plants and related products. “Exhibitors went all-out not only to present exciting plants and products, but to display them in an exciting and inspiring manner,” says Jane Van Cleave of J. Van Cleave Marketing, who chaired the event. “TPIE displays are reaching the level of sophistication one sees at the European horticulture trade fairs. Tropical plants offer such beauty, and TPIE exhibitors this year really showed them at their best.”  

Going Green

On the interiorscaping side, Green Plants For Green Buildings kicked off its series of roundtable discussions. The organization promotes the environmental value and wellness benefits plants bring to built spaces. The organization’s director, MJ Gilhooley, also presented the top five indoor greening plants clients will love.

During the TPIE Short Course, several speakers shared their perspectives on what it means to be green and ways to market our industry that way. Also new this year in the new plants and products room was a Sustainable Solutions Showcase, which provided an area for exhibitors to feature products offering environmentally friendly qualities. 

Glam Time For Growers

As Van Cleave said, the growers went all out with their booths and their plants. In addition to winning the Best of Show booth award, Hermann Engelmann Greenhouses was honored by ECGC Distributors as the interior plant grower providing the most distinctive product and service in 2007. ECGC represents 12 of the largest independent garden centers.

Hermann Engelmann grows 435 varieties, which are sold at a wide range of retail outlets nationally as Exotic Angels. ECGC challenged Hermann Engelmann to come up with an exclusive line of products for its member garden centers.

“You challenged us two years ago to come up with products for you,” says President/CEO Wolfgang Engelmann. “It’s the million dollars of constant inventory that scares us. We’re going to IPM in Germany to look for new varieties and to the Christmas Show and NTV (Horti Fair). We’re always in Europe at least once a year for cool ideas. This time, Bisser Georgiev will visit two chains, one that generates 120 million euros in 11 stores and another that generates 1 billion euros. It is possible that you guys (ECGC garden centers) could be a $120 million company.”

Growers also got to showcase their plants to retailers during Garden Centers of America’s breakfast, where Robert Hendrickson of the Garden Center Group presented the Retailer Choice Awards. In this popular scavenger hunt, retailers search the show and identify plants, products and concepts that are most interesting to them.

Top plant picks were:
– An exotic plant called tacca from Thailand and a cold hardy Dutchman’s pipe vine plant produced by Greendale Nursery.
–Alocasia ‘Stingray’ from Morning Dew Tropical Plants.
–Tillandsia creations from Driftwood Gardens and weather-proof vinyl paintings through its new division, The Green Galleries.
–Upscale succulent dish gardens from Costa Farms.
–Kerry’s Bromeliads’ black-tie line of plants in designer pots and others in colored water pearls.
Other new plants voted on by attendees at large were:
– Twyford International’s aglaonema ‘Pink Sapphire’ as favorite new foliage plant.
–Hawaiian Sunshine Nursery’s Medinilla scortechinii as favorite new flowering plant.
–Boynton Botanicals’ Euphorbia stenoclada as most unusual single plant specimen.

The next TPIE show will be Jan. 15-17, 2009. For more information, visit


What It Means To Be Green

Lead-off speaker, Amy Stewart, presented an environmentally conscious consumer’s view of our industry. As the author of “Flower Confidential: The Good, The Bad And The Beautiful In The Business Of Flowers,” she traveled the world to find out how fresh-cut flowers come to market and was fascinated by what she learned.

Now it was her turn to share consumer insights with us: 

Sustainability Is A Conversation

“Organics, sustainability and green are a conversation. We’re all finding out what it means. Consumers know organic but aren’t as familiar with sustainable. It’s beyond organics to encompass worker health and safety, community development, conservation of our environment and resources and reducing use of our resources, such as plastics. Why be happy with just organics?” 

Educated, Affluent Consumers Care

“People ask why do we care if it’s organic if we’re not going to eat it? It’s not just what’s on your plate, but workers in a greenhouse you’ve never met in a country you’ve never visited that impact shopping decisions. Are they paid decently? Do they have opportunity? Are they safe at work? Are rivers and natural resources protected? It’s the environmental impact of getting plants to me, like with locally grown food and the oil and gas used. It’s not just my health as a consumer but big-picture health. Educated, affluent consumers are a good group of folks who put dollars where their values are.” 

Sustainability Is A Good Story

“Half of sustainability is doing it. Half is telling people you’ve done it. A 10-point plan on how we’re going to be green this year is an interesting story for the media and consumers. I know a florist who has a vase reuse program, where people who return vases get credits toward flowers. People remember and tell their friends. It’s also a good way to engage Generation X and Y employees and involve them.”

We Need More Than Price

“To assess quality, we don’t have information beyond price. As consumers, we just see a dozen red tulips for $9.99. We buy wine on more than price. If it was only price, we’d be drinking a lot of Two Buck Chuck for $2.99. We have no sense of what a luxury rose would be. I will spend $10 on a luxury bar of chocolate. It’s an affordable luxury. When you realize what you can get, it stops being about price.” 

Will The Market Reward Me?

 “When I was in Ecuador, the growers were saying, ‘I’m still waiting for the market to reward me. I’m still waiting to get paid for this.’ If the product is there, people will buy it and be excited about it. Consumers will respond in a positive way to green labels and not say, ‘But what about all these other plants?’ Consumers are used to options, like the new Clorox line.”

Leave a Reply

More From Varieties...

October 8, 2015

Industry Standards For Greenhouse Lighting On The Horizon

As the use of LEDs has risen among greenhouse growers, so have concerns about the best way to measure and compare the many LED light products across the market. As a result, the lighting industry is responding to a call for greater transparency and the development of standardized measuring and testing methods.

Read More
Delphinium 'Guardian Lavender' (Kieft Seed)

October 7, 2015

National Garden Bureau Names Four Crops For 2016 “Year Of The” Program

The National Garden Bureau announced four crop selections for its 2016 "Year Of The" program. New this year is the addition of a bulb crop class and a video created especially for the edibles class.

Read More

October 7, 2015

Ball FloraPlant Eliminates Neonicotinoid Use On Its Offshore Cuttings Farms

Ball FloraPlant has announced its offshore cuttings farms did not use neonicotinoid-based pest management chemicals during its spring crop production last shipping season, and will continue to be neonic free this year. Instead, the company and its greenhouse managers have relied on alternative means to supply insect-free cuttings to its global customer base.

Read More
Latest Stories
Heuchera 'Red Lightning' (Terra Nova Nurseries)

October 6, 2015

14 New Perennials For Containers, Pollinators, Beds And…

With an abundance of blooms and textures, new fuss-free perennials add interest to the garden year after year. Here are 14 perennials new for 2016 to consider for your growing operation.

Read More

October 2, 2015

N.G. Heimos And Dan Schantz Poinsettia Trials Planned F…

Two poinsettia trial open houses are planned for November that showcase hundreds of varieties from top poinsettia breeders. Dan Schantz Farm & Greenhouses will hold an open house on November 12, and N.G. Heimos Greenhouses will hold its open house on November 19.

Read More
Bidens 'Cupcake Strawberry' (Plant Haven International)

September 26, 2015

5 Greenhouse Variety Updates You Need To Know About

There’s a lot of variety news to share from around the industry that has come in over the last few months, much of it centered on spring 2016. Here are five variety updates from breeders across the country.

Read More
Feature Image - Tropical Hibiscus

September 18, 2015

How To Grow Tropical Hibiscus

With their bright blooms and hot colors, tropical Hibiscus are popular blooming potted plants for outdoor living spaces and even indoor decór in wintry months. Here’s how to grow them successfully.

Read More

September 18, 2015

Grimes Horticulture And Seeds By Design Form Partnershi…

The new alliance will allow the two companies to take advantage of each of their strengths in breeding and marketing of new vegetable varieties for greenhouse growers and farm marketers.

Read More
More and more people are employing a landscape service, but that doesn’t mean they don’t still garden

September 2, 2015

Under Siege? Not Really, Just Go For A Walk

I have no trouble with people buying chocolates or wine instead of flowers to celebrate anniversaries, birthdays or peoples’ lives. We should all have choices. However, the other night I felt like I was entering the Republican caucus. I was minding my own business by the television set and became more than a little upset. A website called came on the screen. It provided serene music and wholesome images of busy women doing busy things. It turns out that such busy women enjoy a small token of appreciation, but apparently their enjoyment, according to the voice-over, does not include flowers. This website delivers meals to the house, anything from beef brisket to beef bourguignon. It is a fine website with a good idea. But why pick on us? Why not use “” or “,” “,” or a dozen other things. When did flowers get to be the whipping boy? […]

Read More
Feature image The 2015 Perennial Plant Of The Year, Geranium x cantabrigiense ‘Biokovo.’

September 1, 2015

Perennial Plant Association’s 33rd Annual Symposi…

The Perennial Plant Association's 33rd Annual Symposium, held July 27 to August 1 in Baltimore, Md., delved into the rich history of perennial suppliers and landscape architects in the Baltimore area and their influence on the perennial market today and its bright future.

Read More

August 18, 2015

Farwest Show New Varieties Showcase Will Spotlight 2016…

Featuring a spectrum of new market introductions, the 2015 Farwest Show, August 27-29 in Portland, Ore., will display 49 plants in the New Varieties Showcase, a mainstay favorite every year on the show floor. Seventeen companies from all corners of North America, the Netherlands and Canada have submitted material that covers the best and brightest of perennials, shrubs, conifers, shade and flowering trees and edibles being introduced for 2016. This year’s entries will display the prized characteristics that growers and retailers are seeking— new features, improved performance in production environments and landscape, compact sizes, enhanced disease resistance, performance in urban settings and drought tolerance. In particular for garden retail benefit, consumer appeal for this year’s showcase is excellent with choices for spectacular foliage, blooms, seasonal interest and overall wow factor. Check out the slideshow for a sampling of the new varieties. Plants are creatively displayed in retail fashion and well tagged with full descriptions, compliments of showcase […]

Read More

August 17, 2015

21 New Blooming Potted Plants For Trouble-Free Greenhou…

Blooming potted plants brighten up almost any occasion. With new colors and an abundance of blooms, these 21 new introductions add a unique, finishing touch to even the most diversified crop mix. Here are 21 new varieties available in 2015 that will hit retail in 2016.

Read More

August 4, 2015

New 2015 California Spring Trial Edibles For The Patio …

If you are looking to capitalize on the foodie trend and spread your risk beyond Spring sales, new vegetables showcased at 2015 California Spring Trials offer plenty of opportunities to focus on unique, flavorful vegetables and edible plants that also hold ornamental value. Here are a few of new varieties Editor Laura Drotleff and Group Editor Carol Miller discovered at Spring Trials that will help diversify your crop mix.

Read More
llan Armitage Syngenta Starcluster

July 30, 2015

Allan Armitage: Let’s Talk About Starflowers. Why Is Pe…

It is good to talk about production techniques, performance results and then to see how our friends garden. Diversity of plant material has always been a strength in American garden centers, and we should never run out of plants to get people excited. However, perhaps people are tired of Petunias or Callas or Geraniums, but we will never run out of options to put in front of them. One plant that is often overlooked is Pentas, a fabulous summer crop for late spring sales. These are heat-tolerant plants, and growing them below 65°F in the greenhouse results in significant delay. Fertility should be at least 150ppm nitrogen, but avoid ammonia in the fertilizer. Plants are best grown at a somewhat higher pH than usual, between 6.4 to 6.8. For best presentation, pinch out the center bud. Side flowers will bloom together, and plants will walk off the shelf. Garden centers […]

Read More
Bunching onion warrior

July 27, 2015

All-America Selections Introduces First AAS Winners For…

All-America Selections announced another group of edible AAS Winners for home gardeners, gourmet gardeners, farm-to-table growers, market growers and anyone interested in a unique, delicious addition to their vegetable assortment. These three winners are the first for the 2016 Garden Season. Additional winners will be announced this fall and winter as the 2015 trials conclude and the breeders meet specified criteria. The first group of AAS Winners for 2016 includes: Bunching Onion ‘Warrior’ (Regional Winner) Mizuna ‘Red Kingdom’ F1 (National Winner) Radish ‘Sweet Baby’ F1 (Regional Winner) All-America Selections has had bulb onions as award winners in the past, but ‘Warrior’ is the first bunching (or green) onion. Similarly, there have been green mustard AAS Winners, but never a red Mizuna (or Japanese Mustard). ‘Sweet Baby’ radish joins nine other radishes that are previous AAS Winners adding a violet colored beauty to an assortment of radishes that range from white […]

Read More

July 21, 2015

Costa Farms Trial Garden Update: 2015 Late-Season Top-P…

The Costa Farms team announced its late-season top performers in the 2015 Season Premier Trial Garden in Miami, Fla. Its research and development team has been working to grow and evaluate hundreds of varieties and have published their findings here. The plants you’ll find in the link have thrived in Miami’s late-spring conditions. Every spring, the research and development team trials 500 varieties of annuals, perennials and tropical plants from plant breeders around the world. All of the varieties were tested in the 2-acre trial garden. Varieties are assessed for abundance of bloom, crop uniformity and overall performance, which includes factors such as clean foliage, little to no pest damage and the plants’ overall habits and appearances. About 70 varieties scored as top performers during the evaluation period, which lasted from week five to week 19. Transplanting into the trial garden occurred at week 51, and plants were grown in 6-inch pots to finished […]

Read More

July 20, 2015

Cornell Floriculture Field Day To Take Place August 11

Cornell’s Floriculture Field Day will be Tuesday August 11 at the Cornell campus in Ithaca, N.Y. An alumni event will be held the evening prior. More information and online registration for both events is available online. Here is some of what will be happening during Cornell’s Floriculture Field Day: 1. New Cornell Alumni and Friends reception. Come to Ithaca, N.Y an evening early for the 2015 alumni and friends event at the Cornell Plantations visitor center. The event, which will be Aug. 10, 5:30-7 p.m., will feature appetizers, New York wine and jazz. It will take place at the Nevin Welcome Center. 2. Armitage and Konjoian kick off the morning program. During the morning program at the Cornell Veterinary School, Allan Armitage, professor emeritus, University of Georgia, will talk about some of his favorite annuals, perennials and veggies for the landscape. Peter Konjoian, of Konjoian’s Floriculture Education Services, will inspire you to […]

Read More

July 15, 2015

Greenhouse Grower Honors 2015 Medal Of Excellence Breed…

Greenhouse Grower announced its Medal of Excellence winners at the Evening of Excellence, held Monday, July 13 at Cultivate’15  in Columbus, Ohio. The Readers’ Choice Award was presented to Terra Nova Nurseries for Leucanthemum ‘Luna,’ the Industry’s Choice Award went to Celosia ‘Dragon’s Breath’ from Sakata Seed and the Editor’s Choice Award was given to Basil ‘Balsamic Blooms’ from EuroAmerican Propagators Read on to learn more about the varieties that were finalists for the Medal Of Excellence Editor’s Choice, Industry’s Choice and Readers’ Choice Breeding Awards. Thank you to the 2015 sponsors of Greenhouse Grower‘s Medal Of Excellence Awards, Landmark Plastic, Nufarm and Stockosorb. Editor’s Choice Asclepias ‘Monarch Promise’ (Hort Couture) Basil ‘Balsamic Blooms’ (EuroAmerican Propagators) Celosia ‘Dragon’s Breath’ (Sakata Seed) Dianthus Jolt Series (PanAmerican Seed) Salvia Grandstand Series (Green Fuse Botanicals) Scabiosa ‘Kudos Pink’ (Hishtil Nurseries) Industry’s Choice Basil ‘Balsamic Blooms’ (EuroAmerican Propagators) Bidens BeeDance Series (Suntory Flowers) Celosia ‘Dragon’s Breath’ […]

Read More
Pleasant View Gardens Open House

July 8, 2015

This Summer’s Can’t Miss Tours And Events

July and August are packed with events, from greenhouse tours and seminars, to the new Summer Vegetable Trials in California. Check out the list of events for dates and times, as well as information on how to plan your visit. Bailey Nurseries Bailey Nurseries will hold its Minnesota Expo 2015, a jam-packed event showcasing its farm and plants, on July 30, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. in St. Paul, Minn. In addition to farm tours, participants can enjoy new varieties, hot picks and merchandising displays, as well as attend various seminars throughout the day. A continental breakfast and lunch will be served during the event. Visit the Bailey Nurseries website for the complete schedule and to register online, or contact Sue Gundersen at or 651-768-3372 for more information. Ball Seed Field Day & Landscape Day Ball Seed’s Field Day & Landscape Day will take place July 31, at 8 a.m. in West […]

Read More

July 8, 2015

The Kientzler Group Is Honored For Industry Achievement

Kientzler is one of the world’s most prolific and innovative breeding powerhouses. It has built on its rich history by providing new and exciting genetics to the floriculture industry, with the creation of the market for New Guinea Impatiens with its Paradise and Pure Beauty series, as well as bringing Scaevola, Bracteantha, Sutera and other plant genetics to the marketplace, introduced in the U.S. through the Proven Winners network. Through its Innovaplant facilities in Costa Rica, Kientzler has also become well-known for establishing high standards for quality and cleanliness, and providing a dependable supply of young plants to growers in the U.S. for more than 20 years. With the company’s new business direction starting this past winter, providing its own genetics directly to the U.S. market, 2015 is a great year to honor Kientzler’s past accomplishments and celebrate its new horizons.     Building On A Legacy Of Greatness Kientzler […]

Read More
Medal of Excellence Award

July 6, 2015

Get To Know The 9 Variety Finalists For Editor’s …

Greenhouse Grower‘s Evening Of Excellence reception is rapidly approaching. Here, you can learn more about the varieties that are finalists for the Medal Of Excellence Editor’s Choice and Industry’s Choice Breeding Awards. Thank you to the 2015 sponsors of Greenhouse Grower‘s Medal Of Excellence Awards, Landmark Plastic, Nufarm and Stockosorb. Editor’s Choice Asclepias ‘Monarch Promise’ (Hort Couture) Basil ‘Balsamic Blooms’ (EuroAmerican Propagators) Celosia ‘Dragon’s Breath’ (Sakata Seed) Dianthus Jolt Series (PanAmerican Seed) Salvia Grandstand Series (Green Fuse Botanicals) Scabiosa ‘Kudos Pink’ (Hishtil Nurseries) Industry’s Choice Basil ‘Balsamic Blooms’ (EuroAmerican Propagators) Bidens BeeDance Series (Suntory Flowers) Celosia ‘Dragon’s Breath’ (Sakata Seed) Dianthus Jolt Series (PanAmerican Seed) Lobelia ‘Starship Deep Rose’ (Kieft Seed) Vinca Valiant Series (PanAmerican Seed)     Join us Monday, July 13 in Ballroom 2 at the Columbus Convention Center to find out which varieties will receive the coveted awards. The reception begins at 5:15 p.m. and the ceremony […]

Read More