Final Report: "We Gardeners Can Do Climate!": Sustainability and Climate Change Were Defining Subjects at the World's Leading Fair for Horticulture

Increasingly Heat-Resistant Plants and Environmentally Friendly Packaging

IPM ESSEN 2019 can look back on four successful fair days. From January 22 to 25, 2019, 1,546 exhibitors from 46 countries showed their new products and innovations along the entire value added chain in horticulture. In total, around 53.000 visitors came to Messe Essen. They obtained information about the newest trends and ordered goods for the coming season. The world's leading fair for horticulture focused on the society-defining subjects of sustainability and climate change. Because Belgium was the partner country, it was possible to entice more Belgian visitors into the Ruhr metropolis in comparison with the previous year.

"IPM ESSEN has once more proven that it is the absolute must in the calendar of the international green sector. We are making a consistently positive assessment. We are pleased that the world's leading fair for horticulture was again a top-class platform on which the points were set for the horticultural year lying ahead of us," summarised Oliver P. Kuhrt, CEO of Messe Essen. The proportion of the visitors from abroad was around 40 percent. "A peak value which shows what international scope IPM ESSEN has," commented Kuhrt.

Belgium as the Partner Country: "Rooted in Craftsmanship Together"

Belgium was IPM ESSEN's partner country in 2019 and offered the trade visitors a black-red-and-yellow fair programme with multifaceted information events and receptions. The Belgian ambassador H. E. Baron Willem van de Voorde spoke during the opening ceremony. Nine percent of the trade visitors came from Belgium. A plus of six percentage points in comparison with the previous year.

Koen Vanswijgenhoven, Regional Manager for Germany of the Flanders' Agricultural Marketing Board (VLAM) in Brussels, looked back on the cooperation with satisfaction: "The partnership slogan of 'Rooted in Craftsmanship Together' is alive. The past IPM ESSEN has proven that in an impressive way. The Belgian exhibitors unanimously found words of praise for the high internationality and quality of the trade visitors. Modern trade relies on networking and sounds out synergetic effects with global trading partners. The leading fair worldwide offers the ideal platform for this. In addition to maintaining existing (neighbourly) contacts, a lot of Belgians meet, in particular, their customers from more far-off destinations by the Ruhr. My compatriots are hoping to expand the trading radius by acquiring new customers. With the best possible memories of the successful IPM partnership in 2019, the Belgian team is bidding farewell to the stage in Essen and is looking forward to seeing everybody again next year!"

Climate Change and Sustainability Play Leading Roles at IPM ESSEN

A look into the fair halls revealed one particularly conspicuous feature: The exhibitors increasingly presented products which are sustainable and suitable for the climate change. These included plant and woody plant varieties tolerant to stresses and heat, environmentally friendly packaging solutions, organic fertilisers and substrates, fair trade poinsettias, air-cleaning house plants or insect-friendly growths. Eva Kähler-Theuerkauf, President of the North Rhine-Westphalia State Horticultural Association and Chairwoman of the Advisory Board for the Fair, summarised: "Gardening products promote biodiversity. Trees provide agreeable shade in summer and improve the air quality. At IPM ESSEN, we were able to provide impressive proof of how efficient our sector is in this field. One thing is certain: We gardeners can do climate.“

Increased Turnover in Horticulture

The economic prerequisites for the world's leading fair for horticulture were auspicious. In 2018, German horticulture registered a turnover plus of 0.5 percentage points with a market volume of Euro 8.7 billion, as the Central Horticulture Association (ZVG) announced within the framework of the fair. The ZVG President Jürgen Mertz sees IPM ESSEN as a mirror of the performance capacity of horticulture: "In 2019 too, trade visitors from all over the world have been able to obtain information about the newest developments and trends at IPM ESSEN. They are taking stimuli for a successful entrepreneurial year home with them. Because the world's leading fair for horticulture is a showcase for the sector and reflects our efficiency and innovative capacity."

Urban Green Areas of the Future

It was possible to find the omnipresent subject of climate change in the supporting programme too. The Federation of German Nurseries (BdB) and the European Nurserystock Association (ENA) invited visitors to the workshop of the EU campaign called "Green Cities for a Sustainable Europe". The BdB President Helmut Selders showed that he was enthusiastic about the response: "IPM ESSEN 2019 is reflecting the good mood in the sector. The autumn season has proceeded satisfactorily in many places and the expectations for the new year are positive: a good order situation and, in part, rising prices. Correspondingly, there was the best possible mood at the European Nursery Reception which we organise together with Messe Essen and ENA. As far as the contents are concerned, we as an association have set a fantastic exclamation mark with our workshop entitled 'Urban Green Areas in the Climate Change'. More than 100 decision takers from the horticultural industry, landscape architecture and local authorities discussed the newest developments in this sector with our speakers."

Plant Novelties Distinguished

New plant varieties were distinguished in the IPM Innovation Showcase staged by ZVG. These included, in the Woody Plants category, the Pyracantha coccinea 'Red Star' which comes from Plantipp BV from the Netherlands and withstands particularly dry summers such as most recently in 2018. The other winners of the "IPM Innovation 2019" marks of distinction were: the Xerochrysum bracteatum Granvia ® Gold from MNP flowers in the Bedding and Balcony Plants category, the Primula hybrid BELARINA 'Candy Frost' from Kientzler from Gensingen in the Spring Flowering Plants category, the Euphorbia pulcherrima Christmas Mouse ® from Selecta Klemm from Stuttgart in the Flowering House Plants category, the Blechnum brasiliense 'Copper Crisp' from Cultivaris in the Green House Plants category, the Sempervivum Chick Charms ® 'Gold Nugget' from Plantipp BV in the Shrubs category as well as the Vitex trifolia 'Purpurea' x Vitex agnus-astus First Editions ® 'Flip Side' from Bailey Nurseries in the Tub Plants category. The Mandevilla Sundaville ® MiMi Yello from MNP flowers received a Special Prize this year.

Future Congress on Horticulture and Landscaping

The congress entitled Horticulture and Landscaping Outlooks 2019 which took place during IPM ESSEN already for the third time in succession and was staged by the North Rhine-Westphalia Association for Horticulture, Landscaping and Sports Field Construction focused on digitalisation and "New Work". The speakers included the publisher Dr. Florian Langenscheidt and the presenter Tijen Onaran.

IPM ESSEN 2019 Was a Strong Flowery Prelude at the Beginning of the Season

In the FDF World, the Trade Association of German Florists (FDF), together with partners, presented a cornucopia of floral highlights, flower trends, masterly flowery works of art and impromptu floristry close to practical needs. The FDF President Helmuth Prinz made a consistently positive assessment: "FDF's new booth concept with flowery galleries, trend showrooms, flower lounges and open workshops for the fair visitors went down outstandingly. FDF was the contact point for florists from all over the world. The successful representation of floral designing in the social networks was a central subject in 2019."

The international stage programme provided genuine highlights. It started with a large Belgian opening show and thus acknowledged Belgium as IPM's partner country. Masterly floristry was shown by Germany's best florists during the Germany's Master Florists shows with inspiring ideas for the spring and summer of 2019. International top designers from the Floral Fundamentals Family ignited a veritable blossom festival on the subject of "Passion of Flowers" in the FDF Arena. Marco Kriechmus was victorious in the fast-paced Flower Battles on Wednesday. Katharina Huber from Ravensburg won the grand final on Friday.

Betuhan Pektas from the Floraldesign Store in Bad Neuenahr was victorious in the IPM Fair Cup in the combination consisting of "Bouquet" and "Pot Planting". The competition bore the motto: "Wild Thing - Natural, Original, Cheeky and Free".

High Ordering Activities

In the coming garden season, the end consumers can look forward to a lot of innovations on the shelves and sales tables in the garden centres. IPM ESSEN is the fair at which new products are not only introduced but also ordered. Around one third of the visitors placed orders directly at the fair. On the basis of the contacts and information which they have obtained at the fair, 65 percent are planning to make purchases after IPM ESSEN.

The new IPM Discovery Centre introduced inspiring ideas for the point of sale. Under the creative direction of the green stylist Romeo Sommers, real shop situations relating to the latest trends such as air-cleaning house plants were introduced here with the products of the IPM exhibitors. The attached Speakers' Corner concentrated on vegetables, fruit and herbs.

Make a Note of the Dates

The visitors gave top marks to the range on offer at IPM ESSEN. 95 percent rated the range on offer as positive all in all. 93 percent would recommend a visit and 91 percent are already planning another visit now. 94 percent of the exhibitors stated that they would take part in the next edition of the world's leading fair for horticulture too. The next IPM ESSEN will take place at Messe Essen from January 28 to 31, 2020.

IPM ESSEN 2019: Figures in Detail

There were 1,546 (in 2018: 1,564) exhibitors from 46 (45) nations and 65 (63) percent of these came from abroad. Also including the forecast for the last day of the fair, 41,000 registered trade visitors came to the fair (according to the Society for Voluntary Control of Fair and Exhibition Statistics - FKM). The comprehensive supporting programmes were visited not only by international participants but also, amongst others, by guests of honour, press representatives and influencers, representatives of local authorities and sponsors. The proportion of trade visitors was 97 (97) percent.