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 www.tpie.org.

 

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 17, 2017

14 New Shrubs With Fringe Benefits

What’s popular with shrubs? Consumers want varieties that will give them more return on their investment, in terms of long-lasting blooms and multi-season appeal that lasts from spring until fall and at times stretches into the winter months. Here are 14 new varieties of shrubs and sub-shrubs to consider for your product mix in 2018.

Read More

October 14, 2017

PlantPeddler Hosting Poinsettia Variety Day in December

The event will feature side-by-side comparisons of more than 100 commercial and pre-released varieties from seven breeders.

Read More

October 10, 2017

Coastal Callas Is a Dream Fulfilled for Founder Adrian Espinoza

Adrian Espinoza and his family founded Rancho Espinoza Inc. and Coastal Callas in California seven years ago with a mission and purpose to provide consistent quality and reliable supply of calla lilies to the marketplace.

Read More
Latest Stories

October 17, 2017

14 New Shrubs With Fringe Benefits

What’s popular with shrubs? Consumers want varieties that will give them more return on their investment, in terms of long-lasting blooms and multi-season appeal that lasts from spring until fall and at times stretches into the winter months. Here are 14 new varieties of shrubs and sub-shrubs to consider for your product mix in 2018.

Read More

October 14, 2017

PlantPeddler Hosting Poinsettia Variety Day in December

The event will feature side-by-side comparisons of more than 100 commercial and pre-released varieties from seven breeders.

Read More

October 10, 2017

Coastal Callas Is a Dream Fulfilled for Founder Adrian …

Adrian Espinoza and his family founded Rancho Espinoza Inc. and Coastal Callas in California seven years ago with a mission and purpose to provide consistent quality and reliable supply of calla lilies to the marketplace.

Read More
Azalea Encore Autumn Bonfire

October 4, 2017

Big Changes on the Horizon for Woody Ornamentals

The future looks bright for the woody ornamentals market, with exciting new varieties in the pipeline that will offer greater disease resistance, cold hardiness, bloom capacity, and more.

Read More

October 3, 2017

25 New Blooming Potted Plants for Luxury Sales

Consider these new blooming potted plant varieties that offer full blooms, unique foliage, and a touch of extravagance and easy maintenance for time-strapped customers who want to pamper themselves.

Read More
Hydrangea 'Berry White' (Bailey Nurseries)

October 2, 2017

Woody Ornamentals Market Set for Growth

The woody ornamentals market is looking up. Now, out-of-the box thinking about product offerings and consumer education will keep things moving in the right direction.

Read More

September 27, 2017

New Mum Intros From California Spring Trials 2017

For fall gardening product selection, you can't go wrong with offering mums. Here are a few of the new introductions that we saw at California Spring Trials 2017 that will be making their retail debut in 2018.

Read More
Hydrangea ‘Endless Summer BloomStruck’ (Bailey Nurseries)

September 26, 2017

Bailey Nurseries Enhances Product Development Program, …

Plant Introductions, which Bailey purchased almost three years ago, is being rebranded as Bailey Innovations, an entity that will breed and trial new varieties in Georgia.

Read More
Green Fuse Lupine Staircase Pink

September 24, 2017

How to Effectively Grow Staircase Lupine

The Staircase Lupine series, part of Green Fuse Botanicals’ First Light Perennials collection, has the potential to put on a great display with solid and bicolor hues.

Read More
Terra Nova 2018 Catalog

September 23, 2017

Terra Nova Nurseries’ Latest Plant Catalog is Now Avail…

The new 2017-2018 plant catalog, which features hundreds of varieties, series, and collections from Terra Nova Nurseries, pays homage to the company’s 25th anniversary.

Read More
Armitage GWA Buffalo Tour 5

September 21, 2017

Tour of Buffalo Gardens Reveals Hidden Gems And Communi…

This past August, Allan Armitage joined the Association for Garden Communicators on a tour of Buffalo. It was a reminder that that we can make a difference in neighborhoods, in cities, and in people’s lives.

Read More
Suntory Grandessa argyranthemum - feature

September 18, 2017

Breeders Open Availability for Unrooted Cuttings; Here&…

With new avenues for buying young plants for vegetative production, growers should have an easier time finding availability and receiving shipments of unrooted cuttings for the coming seasons.

Read More
Ball, Tagawa Succulents Partnership

September 14, 2017

Ball Seed to Partner With Tagawa Greenhouses on New Suc…

The new program includes in-demand retail products that are popular with younger shoppers, allowing growers to easily build a comprehensive succulent program and stay on-trend in the marketplace.

Read More
Strait-Laced Elderberry

September 10, 2017

Check Out the Top Varieties On Display at Farwest 2017

A panel of plant experts, along with show attendees, selected their favorite offerings during the Farwest 2017 New Varieties Showcase.

Read More

September 5, 2017

Hort Couture Announces New Propagation and Broker Partn…

The new grower-propagator partners are deeply vested in the independent garden center channel with propagation expertise, as well as finished production focused on the independent grower.

Read More
Helianthus Sunfinity (Syngenta Flowers)

September 3, 2017

Growing Tips for Helianthus Sunflower ‘Sunfinity…

This annual sunflower is a profuse bloomer with strong branching that produces multiple flowers per plant from spring to fall.

Read More
Ball Seed Field Day 2017

September 2, 2017

Highlights from Ball Seed’s Annual Field Day and Landsc…

Attendees of the one-day event had the opportunity to see new plants in up-close-and-personal trials, and engage with speakers and product experts.

Read More
Bidens Popstar (Kientzler)

August 31, 2017

Allan Armitage: Why I’ve Become a Fan of Bidens

The rather boring plant with mundane daisy-yellow flowers has morphed into a vigorous plant carrying colorful flowers that seems to be comfortable in most of the country.

Read More