Getting Ready for the Plant Project

A Message to Manatee County Plant Exhibitors:

The FNGLA Plant Show and Sale (Plant Project) provides the opportunity to experience the process of growing, maintaining, marketing, and selling ornamental plants, simulating nursery production. In Manatee County, nursery production (along with greenhouse, floriculture, and sod production) brings in almost $42,000,000 of revenue each year and ranks 11th in the state. With a growing demand for nursery products, the Plant Project is the perfect way for students to get their foot in the door of this booming industry.

The Plant Project webpage is a great resource for plant exhibitors. The site lists critical deadlines for the program, and it provides resources such as the Plant Project Rules, Judging Rubric, and helpful videos for selecting and caring for plants. Any updates regarding the program will be posted to this site.

View this webpage here:

The following is a general schedule of events:

  1. Students interested in participating should attend one of the mandatory Rules Meetings in October. One will be virtual, and one will be in person with a hands-on workshop.
  2. Soon after this meeting, students should register their plant entries online at the link on the Plant Project website (ShoWorks). All plant classes will register at this time.
  3. Plant tagging is the next activity; here, exhibitors’ plants will be examined to confirm species/variety, quality, and to provide feedback as well as answer any questions. Plants will be tagged, and these tags are to remain on the plant throughout the rest of the project activities. There will be a tagging event in October for entries in classes A, B, and C, followed by a second tagging event in November for entries in classes D and E.
  4. Plant Check-In will be held right around the time the Manatee County Fair begins in early January. Exhibitors will bring their plant entries to the Manatee County fairgrounds to be inspected for quality and pests/diseases and submitted to the fair to be judged. Exhibitors should work to grow and improve their plant entries between registration and Plant Check-In. A detailed record book of inputs and outputs should be maintained during this time.
  5. Following judging, all plant entries will be available during the fair for public display. Exhibitors can water and tend to their plants at this time, and the general public will vote for their favorite exhibit in the People’s Choice Award.
  6. During the fair, exhibitors will have the opportunity to auction off their plant entries – profits will depend on the condition of the plant at the time of the auction and the buyers present. Please note that plant displays will no longer be auctioned with the plant itself.

An in-depth review of the Rule Book is necessary to successfully participate in this event.

If there are any questions not answered in the Rule Book, please ask your FFA advisor or 4-H leader for help. You can also call or email Christine Russo, the Area Superintendent for the Plant Project. Her phone number is (941) 722-4524 x1814 and email


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Posted: August 4, 2022

Category: 4-H & Youth, Agribusiness, Agriculture, Events, Horticulture, UF/IFAS, UF/IFAS Extension
Tags: 4-H, FFA, Manatee County Fair, Plant Project, Youth, Youth Livestock Program

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