Last Updated on January 29, 2018 by Angela Colonna
The MREC team recently attended the annual Tropical International Plant Expo in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to talk with the industry and see what new tropical plants we can look forward to see in 2018 on store shelves and in garden centers.
With over 800 booth spaces, TPIE 2018 easily showed us the top trends in foliage, floral and tropical plant varieties. The booth displays made you forget you were in a convention center and on an outdoor patio instead. Equipment and supply companies also had their own booths to show the services and machinery they can offer to growers and producers alike.
At the MREC booth, our researchers were able to answer questions about pests like bugs and weeds, fungi or diseases causing problems and general questions about plant health.
Dr. Lance Osborne had a dissecting scope on display to show lacewing larva eating mealybugs and a film showing parasitic wasps at a microscopic level. Dr. Osborne was ready to answer all bug questions about ornamentals and how to protect plants from this pest.
Dr. Alfred Huo explained germplasm on display and how his biotechnology research can benefit the production of grapes, lettuce and other ornamentals like snapdragon flowers.
Dr. Hayk Khachatryan answered questions about the economics of the plant industry and how year by year the market shifts in terms of consumer demands in the ornamental plant industry just like any other market.
Dr. Liz Felter, who is also an Orange County Extension agent, spoke with central Florida growers about their challenges and what information would be needed to overcome production barriers.
Dr. Roger Kjelgren, MREC center director, had the opportunity to connect to nurseries throughout Florida to better understand current research needs of the industry and the role that UF/IFAS can play to support the ornamental plant industry.
The whole MREC team was happy to attend TPIE 2018 to show our support for the greenhouse and landscape industry, to not only see its advances but to help link science to the growers and producers who need research for the betterment of their business.
We look forward to TPIE 2019!