for immediate release

Contact: Kate Clary,
Phone: (407) 295-7994 or (800) 375-3642
For pictures of TPIE 2011, visit our Picasa site or High resolution photos are available.

Setting the Trends at the 2011 Tropical Plant Industry Exhibition

Tropicals and a positive vibe were the stars at the nation's only tropical plant show

FORT LAUDERDALE, Florida (January 25, 2011) -- One trend everyone can be happy about: business is moving in the right direction. TPIE kicked off the year with the theme "Setting the Trends," highlighting creativity, innovation and providing keen insight to market trends in the changing marketplace. In a time when business has been flat, over 5,600 industry professionals connected to tropicals in-person at the 2011 Tropical Plant Industry Exhibition.

The Show Floor featured 400 exhibitors and over 830 booths that showcased the latest plants and products.

After a recent cold spell in Florida, TPIE attendees from around the U.S. and the globe were greeted by sunny, warm skies and colorful, vibrant plants and flowers at TPIE, held January 19 - 21 at the Broward County Convention Center in Fort Lauderdale, FL.

Feedback from exhibitors revealed "the right people were at the show" and "these are serious buyers." Numerous exhibitors stated they kept consistently busy and had the best results they've seen in a long time.

The new Wednesday, Thursday, Friday format also showed an increase in attendance for an opening day, up 15 percent from last year. On par with LEED initiatives and the trend to use plants indoors, this year's show saw nine percent more interiorscapers as well as growers/brokers walking the show floor than last year. Sixty (60) percent more developers/builders visited TPIE this year, hopefully indicating new construction is on the rise.

"If you weren't at TPIE 2011, you missed out on setting the tone for your business for the year, whether as an exhibitor or buyer. In its 38th year, TPIE continues to define the mindset for the year," said Rachel Tippit, chairperson of the 2011 TPIE committee. "The floor is filled with the latest plants and products, and the trend seems to be that people are ready to buy tropicals."

This year's theme, "Setting the Trends," set the stage for the 200,000 square foot exhibit hall which featured the greatest collection of tropical plants available anywhere in the country. Over 400 companies with 831 booths showcased a wide range of tropical plants and related products. One just had to turn to Twitter to see the trending topics happening at TPIE.

"We have a larger presence through social media this year as we recognize the importance it has in getting the word out not only about the show, but how important plants are to sustainability," said Tippit.

Ken Roberts of Florida Cactus tells Keri Leymaster of Seaworld Parks and Entertainment about his line of products.

In a time of economic stagnancy, TPIE breathed new life into many exhibiting businesses. Serious-minded wholesale and retail buyers placed orders on the spot with the exhibiting companies that presented their 2011 palate of lush tropical plants.

According to Joe Cialone of Tropical Computers, Inc. in Boynton Beach, FL, he loves being a part of TPIE and was impressed with the foot traffic on the floor. "We were too busy!" he joked.

Rene van Rems AIFD and Kim Morrill AIFD presented on trends at the Opening Session.

Opening Day kicked off with a timely session titled 2011 TPIE Tropical Trends Forecast: Setting the Trends. This complimentary session offered a look at the broader market trends and focused on concepts, colors, textures and style which connect to tropicals. Presenters Kim Morrill AIFD and Rene van Rems AIFD shared their expertise on changes in the market, color and consumer trends. According to van Rems, trends for this year include steam punk, a marriage of last century industrial ephemera mixed with modern design, and can be achieved through the use of austere, black leaf plants.

"Lifestyle trends are not just all about color; it's a bigger thing. It has to do with style. Plants are the perfect commodity to create style for people," said van Rems.

Colleen Francis of Engage Selling Solitions in Ontario was part of the TPIE Short Course program.

In addition to the eye-catching displays on the exhibit floor, TPIE Short Course sessions offered more opportunities to focus on interiorscaping. Several sessions featured new ways business owners could promote their plants and products. Ron Rosenberg of Quality Talk, Inc. highlighted Getting to the Heart of Customer Satisfaction where he provided approaches to transform any business. Kathy Fediw of Johnson Fediw Associates led a session on Reducing Replacements which focused on plant care skills and establishing quality standards. A luncheon on Wednesday highlighted Longwood Gardens, where the construction of North America's largest indoor living wall was just completed. Attendees packed the room for Colleen Francis' (Engage Selling Solutions in Ottawa) presentation of In Pursuit of More: The New Rules for Sales Success from Cold Call to Repeat Customer where she highlighted ways to enhance sales productivity.

Prior to the show, the TPIE Road Show took attendees to West Palm Beach, FL for the day to visit local tropical foliage nurseries. The tour visited Excelsa Gardens, Michaels Nursery, Triad Nursery and Country Joe's Nursery.  Attendees had the opportunity to visit the Morikami Museum and Japanese Garden, the center for Japanese arts and culture in South Florida.

Back at the show, TPIE's free demonstrations included several presentations from AIFD professionals as well as well-known horticulture professionals. Held all three days of the show, topics such as Sustainable Tropical Container Gardens; Contain Yourself: Container & Plant Match Up, A Sea of Succulents and Holiday Trends with Tropicals showcased various parts of the industry while educating attendees.

The Blue Mystique Orchid from Silver Vase was selected as one of the Cool Product Winners.

On Day 2 of the show, Robert Hendrickson of the Garden Center Group presented the winners of 13 TPIE Cool Product Awards selected by retail buyers who roamed the show floor looking for the latest trends in tropicals.

Cool Product Winners
(View photos and company on the Garden Center Group web site).

  • Sunvillea Bougainvillea from Suntory/Sun-Fire Nurseries

  • Anthuriums shipped in vase water, added upon delivery from Anthura BV

  • Woolly Pocket

  • Small Treasures - Miniature Topiary Accents from Topiary Creations, Inc.

  • Watering Can Planter Display from Pride Garden Products

  • Waterfall Cascade Orchids from United Orchids, Inc.

  • Cheesecake Philodendron from Triad Plant Company

  • Bulb Gardens, Predesigned amaryllis/evergreen holiday baskets, from Bloomaker USA

  • Birdhouse/Feeder Collection from Rosso's International

  • Blue Mystique Orchid from Silver Vase

  • Skyrocket Pennisetum from AG-3

  • Mini-Me miniature pineapple from Deroose Plants

  • Orchid Displays from Just Add Ice Orchids

Sunvillea Bougainvillea 'Rose' from Suntory/Sun-Fire Nurseries was chosen as Best New Flowering Plant by attendees.

The TPIE New Plants and Products Room continued to be one of the most popular spots of the show. With 30 new items on display, attendees were impressed with the mix of new plants and products coming into the marketplace. Buyers were given the opportunity to vote on their favorites with the following coming out on top:

Favorite New Foliage Plant: Alocasia 'Black Magic' from Deroose Plants Inc.

Favorite New Flowering Plant: Sunvillea Bougainvillea 'Rose' from Suntory/Sun-Fire Nurseries

Favorite New Product: TopTray from American Floral Container Inc.

Deroose Plants won Best of Show.

Deroose Plants, Inc. took home the coveted Best of Show booth award for their display and use of outstanding plant material. Oglesby Plants International, Inc. won Most Unusual Single Plant Specimen for their Schefflera 'Amate Soleil'. More booth award winners and their photos can be found online at

TPIE Happy Hour performers led a parade around the show floor. The Happy Hour was sponsored by Sun Parasol, Suntory Collection.

TPIE is known as the place to make tropical connections in a fun atmosphere. This was certainly the case at the TPIE Happy Hour, sponsored by Sun Parasol, Suntory Collection, which took place on the Opening Day of the show. The TPIE Happy Hour ended the first day of the show on an energizing note, with drinks and food and more time to network with attendees and exhibitors. Cirque performers, dressed in eye-catching, colorful costumes, led a parade around the show floor, as the exclusive Suntory Collection Cirque costume made its debut at TPIE.

It was an evening filled with excitement as the National Foliage Foundation (NFF) held its annual fundraising reception on January 20. Not only were contributions raised during evening activities, but NFF also used the platform to announce the final conclusion from "Project Carbon" and update contributors about on-going projects. Dr. Bodie Pennisi of the University of Georgia was present to share her scientific data and field questions about her conclusions.

Kathrein Markle, NFF President, presents Tony Godfrey with his iPad he won in the raffle.

Through pledges and contributions, NFF raised over $29,500 and presented awards to those individuals that had reached new levels of giving. Contributors who gave $500 or more that evening were entered into a drawing for an iPad; Tony Godfrey of Olive Hill Greenhouses in Fallbrook, CA won the drawing.

TPIE 2012 continues in a Wednesday, Thursday, Friday format and is scheduled for January 18-20 at the Broward County Convention Center in Fort Lauderdale, FL. TPIE is produced by the Florida Nursery, Growers & Landscape Association (FNGLA). For more information, visit or call (800) 375-3642.

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TPIE is produced by FNGLA, the nation's largest state nursery and landscape association. FNGLA represents Florida's environmental horticulture industry, with an estimated $15.2 billion in industry-wide sales. For more information on FNGLA visit or call 800-375-3642.

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