World's leading horticultural trade fair ceremoniously opened

Winners of the Innovation Showcase have been announced

The 37th IPM ESSEN is open. Starting today, around 1,600 exhibitors from almost 50 countries are presenting their product innovations along the entire horticultural value added chain at Messe Essen: from plants and technology to floristry and garden features, this year's partner country is Belgium. The Belgian ambassador H. E. Baron Willem van de Voorde was one of the guests of honour at the opening ceremony. The winners of the Innovation Showcase were also announced during the ceremony.

The approximately 300 guests at the opening ceremony were welcomed by Lord Mayor Thomas Kufen who, in his speech, emphasised the high internationality of IPM ESSEN. In a discussion circle, Eva Kähler-Theuerkauf, President of the North Rhine-Westphalia State Horticultural Association, Jürgen Mertz, President of the Central Horticultural Association, Dr. Heinrich Bottermann, State Secretary in the Ministry of Environment, Agriculture, Conservation and Consumer Protection of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, and Hans-Joachim Fuchtel, Parliamentary State Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture, discussed current political challenges in horticulture, such as digitalisation, approval of plant protection products or climate change.

The partner country Belgium sent the Belgian Ambassador H. E. Baron Willem van de Voorde to Essen. In his welcoming address he stressed: "My compatriots have put the partnership under the motto 'Rooted in Craftsmanship together'. This underlines the decades of good trade relations between Belgium and Germany which are characterised by mutual trust. The aim and purpose of the Belgian involvement on this prominent stage for ornamental plants is to further intensify this successful cooperation and expand Belgium's global trade radius."

 Innovations distinguished

A total of 58 innovations, in eight categories and submitted by 31 exhibitors, competed for the "IPM Innovation 2019" prize. After the evaluation by an expert commission on the eve of the fair, innovations were awarded prizes in seven of the eight categories. One innovation was worth a special prize to the jury. The certificates were presented today by Eva Kähler-Theuerkauf and the German Flower Fairy 2018/2019 Lea Ehlers.

The Xerochrysum bracteatum Granvia ® Gold from MNP flowers was distinguished as the "IPM Innovation 2019" in the Bedding and Balcony Plant Category. This strawflower has a super long-distance effect. Its large flowers distinguish it from other varieties and as an innovation. The great green foliage offers an attractive contrast to the bright flower colour. It blooms for a long time and in a large abundance.  Its growth is well-branching which also makes it very interesting as a large solitary plant. Even if it needs a lot of water, it is easy to clean because it does not have to be cleaned out.

In 2019, the Primula hybrid BELARINA 'Candy Frost' from Kientzler in Gensingen won the race in the Spring Bloomer Category. Winter-hardy, long-lasting bloomers, attractive flowers. The 'Candy Frost' adds a particularly high-quality variety to the primrose range. The flowers are two-coloured, full and do not open completely. The long pile in spring promises a really long sales period. The 'Candy Frost' is versatile but can also be used solo in combination planting arrangements. It radiates nostalgia and romance and may be the ideal gift for the next Valentine's Day.

The Euphorbia pulcherrima Christmas Mouse® from Selecta Klemm in Stuttgart received the "IPM Innovation 2019" award in the Flowering House Plant Category. The mouse ears make