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 the difference. The unusually soft-looking leaf shape is reminiscent of the ears of a mouse and is the new thing about this poinsettia. With children as the target group, this innovation is a targeted new approach. The name is based on the poem "Christmas Mouse". Many people can tell stories about the Christmas Mouse ®. A new form, a new product, a new impulse for one of the bestsellers of German pot plants.

In the Green House Plant Category, Blechnum brasiliense 'Copper Crisp' from Cultivaris was distinguished as the "IPM Innovation 2019". It is absolutely trendy. Jungle feeling, green plants in all living spaces and green peculiarities. No matter whether in the terrarium, in trendy glass gardens, in the bathroom or quite simply in the living space. The unusual house fern is convincing with its red buds and the firm, extremely ruched, deep-green fronds and forms a small stem over time. Blechnum is a tropcial plant and likes warm conditions protected from the direct sun.

In the Woody Plants Category, the expert commission selected Pyracantha coccinea 'Red Star' from Plantipp BV in the Netherlands as the "IPM Innovation 2019". This firethorn is captivating with its extraordinary red berry colour and has significantly fewer thorns than usual. The firethorn was THE evergreen woody plant in the drought summer of 2018 and could become the woody plant of the future. The 'Red Star' is versatile and also attractive as an indoor plant. It blooms in June and forms a dense berry base which colours in September and inspires people and animals with its fruits until after Christmas. Even the current frost should have little effect on it as it is characterised by a particular frost hardiness.

In the Perennials Category, the jury distinguished the Sempervivum Chick Charms® 'Gold Nugget' from Plantipp BV as the "IPM Innovation 2019". The colour is the programme. 'Gold Nugget' has a yellow leaf colour with red flames in winter. Sempervivum is a beginner's plant, is uncomplicated, needs little care and is versatile. Whether in the garden, on the terrace or on the balcony: It cuts a good figure everywhere, needs little water and can be planted in the full sun. The climate change cannot harm it at all.

In the Tub Plants Category, the expert commission decided on the Vitex trifolia 'Purpurea' x Vitex agnus-astus First Editions ® 'Flip Side' from Bailey Nurseries as the "IPM Innovation 2019". This monk's pepper is a particularly grateful shrub, popular with pollinators as it flowers well into autumn. Flip Side' is easy to cultivate, has good branches and is easy to cut. It is a powerful tub plant but also a great bee pasture in a near-natural garden.

This year too, an innovation was worth a Special Prize to the jury. This year, the Mandevilla Sundaville ® MiMi Yello from MNP flowers was the Special Prize winner for product innovations. The bright apricot is something very special and clearly stands out in the range. Its compact growth also makes it interesting as a smaller plant. It lacks the usual long tendrils for Mandevilla but has good branches and is characterised by compact growth. It has versatile uses as a bedding and balcony plant and on balconies and terraces and is also an eye-catcher as a high-quality gift. Full sun is no problem for this elegant plant and even a short drying phase is a breeze.

In Hall 1A, all plants that took part in the "IPM Innovation 2019" competition will be on display in the Innovation Showcase of the Central Horticultural Association (ZVG). A Public Prize will be awarded this year too. The winner will be announced on Thursday, January 24, 2019.