Merchandise These Messages

Originally printed in the February 2020 issue of Produce Business.

Savvy TPIE exhibitors used subtle and bold messages within creative displays.

Fort Lauderdale in January is not a bad gig – whether you’re on the exhibiting side or working the Tropical Plant International Expo as a buyer. This year’s exposition featured 381 different exhibiting companies showing foliage, tropicals, landscape plants and ancillary products. Speakers and educational sessions were also part of the up-beat event.

Collaboration is the underlying theme of this potted orchid garden displayed by Westerlay Orchids of Carpinteria, CA. Consumers easily see the tag where the Locally Grown brand is shown with additional information indicating the plants in the pot are grown on the central California coast. The other grower participating in the collaboration by providing plants for this potted garden is Por La Mar Nursery of Santa Barbara.

More than 6,800 attendees from 47 states, six Canadian provinces and 37 different countries enjoyed the three-day event hosted at the Broward County Convention Center. Produced by Florida Nurserymen, Growers and Landscape Association of Orlando, TPIE had more than 890 booths in an area nearly as large as five acres. FNGLA reports indicate the number of retail buyers at TPIE 2020 was up 41%. Ben Bolusky, executive vice president, says this figure is “another phenomenal indicator as to how strong houseplants are as a retail product category throughout the United States.”

A sense of humor goes a long way with this lifestyle message. The tillandsia-topped skateboard below the cup helps set the chill vibe emitted by these whimsical succulents from Live Trends Design Group of Apopka, FL.

Exhibitors stepped up their booth presentations, and that visual flair, combined with the increased show attendance, created a noticeable buzzy atmosphere. There certainly was a feel of the good old days back when growers were selling everything they grew.

Supermarket floral departments will merchandise this container as a ready-to-fill gift, a finished home décor plant or inspiration for the office. The cement pot was displayed with garden décor items and hardgoods exhibited by Avery Imports/Willow Group of Batavia, NY.

Keen eyes scouting for plants and products that consumers will eagerly purchase saw plenty of themes imaginatively incorporated within the exhibits. Some messages were subtle and others were bold. Here are a few observations from TPIE 2020.

Plant-curious consumers of all ages will delight in caring for this House Pet Collection featuring Birds Nest fern, Rabbit Foot fern and Kangaroo Paw. This cleverly-tagged line is sold by Dewar Nurseries of Apopka, FL, under its Elizabeth & Alexandra brand.

TPIE 2021 will be held January 20-22 in Tampa during Broward County Convention Center’s multi-year expansion project.