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TPIE 2018 — Indoor plants are hip again

The Tropical Plant International Expo celebrated its 45th year bringing together buyers and sellers of interior plants and related products. Taking place in Fort Lauderdale, FL, TPIE this year attracted more than 6,000 industry professionals and over 350 exhibiting companies — including 38 new exhibitors — during its run from Jan. 17-19 at the Broward County Convention Center.

Indoor plants are hip, as if it’s the 1970’s all over again, so it’s no surprise TPIE was abuzz with energy and excitement. Wholesale buyers took in the newest selections of cool and beautiful plants now available from production nurseries.

Create-Theater-SessionRobbin Ward, interiorscape professional at A Passion for Plants in Brevard County, FL, presents creative living décor designs on TPIE’s Create Theater stage with Janet Black, director-at-large at the American Institute of Floral Designers.We saw an increase in available succulents and cacti at TPIE from growers. We also saw them utilized by brands in finished products such as living décor elements, container gardens, terrariums, and larger specimen being sold in decorative containers as finished patio décor.

Color is always in and TPIE exhibitors provided an abundance of plants offering every color and color combination of the rainbow.

Plant breeders continued to bring plants of varying hues, intensities, and characteristics to the market; and TPIE did not disappoint in showcasing the newest colors plants are wearing this year.

TPIE’s New Plants and Products Showcase offered 35 new varieties, many of which were orchids and bromeliads of extravagant colors.

With Pantone naming Ultraviolet as the color for 2018, it was easy to find a wide variety of plants that flashed the purple color — including a new purple rose — with real, old-fashioned rose scent.

As the first tropical plant show to kick off each year, TPIE annually offers information on “big picture” trends at its opening session and educational sessions. Max Luthy, international consumer trends analyst with TrendWatching, presented to a full house his top insights on current consumer trends — specifically tailored for the plant-selling industry.

Additional sessions on trends in the marketplace took place the day prior to the opening of the show as part of the TPIE Road Show, and during the show as part of the TPIE Create Theater.

A session by Suzi McCoy and Katie McCoy Dubow from the Garden Media Group provided finely-focused trends related to interior plants, wellness and nature. People who took part in any or all of these sessions left with a multitude of ideas and inspiration to connect to today’s marketplace and buyer.

TPIE’s tagline is “Elevating Expectations” and it’s marvelous to see how our exhibitors show their innovation and creativity through the products they offer and how they display them at the show. Of the 350-plus exhibitors, 15 companies left with a coveted TPIE Booth Award. Yet, many more exhibits were award-worthy.

As the year progresses, it will be gratifying to see how the plants featured at TPIE show up in supermarket floral departments, in garden center foliage sections, in retail superstores, as florist gifts, in on-line stores, via wholesale distributors to interior designers, and wherever people are searching for that unique and beautiful element of nature —the plant — to bring happiness and wellness into their lives. It’s like 1970 all over again, but even better.

Linda Adams is the chief operating officer at Florida Nursery, Growers & Landscape Association in Orlando, FL. She can be contacted at ladams@fngla.org.