What gardener wouldn’t love a tropical paradise in January? None I know.
I have wanted to experience the Tropical Plant International Expo (TPIE) produced by the Florida Nursery, Growers and Landscape Association (FNGLA) for many years, but other events or commitments on or near the same dates prevented me from attending. This year I made it, and wow – what an event! TPIE was a horticultural feast for this winter-weary plant lover.
The idea for the show began when six Florida growers gathered around a table in 1972 to brainstorm ways to educate the public about their products. The first show was held in 1973. In 2018, more than 6,000 people from 45 states and 34 countries attended TPIE.
Here are some of the highlights of this year’s TPIE.
As you can imagine, lush foliage and exotic flowers were everywhere.
I had never seen so many different cultivars of Aglaonema. Commonly called Chinese evergreens, they are among the easiest of houseplants to grow.
There were Anthurium plants with flowers in a rainbow of rich colors.
Bromeliads were everywhere!
I wasn’t surprised to see a lot of tropical hibiscus. This Hollywood Hibiscus tickled my tropical fancy.
And, of course, there were orchids, lots of orchids!
Whether you call them snake plants or mother in law tongue, Sansevieria was another one of the stars of the show.
They were even braided…
…and grown into hearts.
Succulents were one of the most popular families of plants at TPIE. They were planted in just about any sort of pot you could imagine…
Air plants were also a favorite.
These moss orbs of air plants garnered a lot of attention.
Exotic flowers – many of which I had never seen before – were breathtaking.
Some of the exhibitors created displays that were over-the-top spectacular.
I wished I could have spent an afternoon in this treehouse by Excelsa Gardens…
…or a few days in this outdoor bedroom.
There were two plants that made their way to the tippy top of my must-have plant list.
Euphorbia lactea because it was so unexpected, unique and beautifully bizarre…
…and this new ZZ plant named Raven because of its seductive and sassy dark purple foliage.
My trip to TPIE was so much fun. The Ft. Lauderdale weather was a welcome change from the cold Chicago temperatures I left behind, and the show was everything I dreamed it would be: intensely-colored flowers and foliage and plant nerds, like me, all around.
Garden with me!