“Climate plants and resource-saving production took centre stage".

“The joy that IPM ESSEN could finally take place again could be felt in every hall and at every stand”, Oliver P. Kuhrt, CEO of Messe Essen, sums up. The reunion of the green sector turned out to be more international than expected. Over 40,000 trade visitors from more than 100 countries came to Messe Essen to exchange information and to place orders. There was a wide range of products: 1,330 companies from 46 nations presented their innovations and new products in the fields of plants, technology, floristry and garden features from 24 to 27 January. Climate plants, environmentally friendly packaging and peat alternatives were particularly on trend.

“The importance of IPM ESSEN for the global green industry remains high even after the pandemic. The internationality of the trade audience is close to the 2020 level. In view of the dynamic market situation of the last few years and the travel restrictions that are still noticeable, this is a great result”, continues the tradeshow CEO Kuhrt. The proportion of trade visitors from abroad was 33 percent (2020: 40). At 66 per cent, the proportion of exhibiting companies from abroad was even four percentage points higher than in 2020. Eva Kähler-Theuerkauf, President of the North Rhine- Westphalia Horticultural Association and Chairwoman of the IPM Advisory Board added: “IPM ESSEN 2023 was a complete success. It was good to meet again in our gardening family. The fair also met with great interest internationally. Anyone who was there neither as an exhibitor nor as a visitor definitely missed out a lot.”

The 39th International Plant Fair in Essen once again proved to be a high profile ordering platform: around 30 percent of visitors placed orders directly, and more than two thirds plan to conclude deals after the fair on the basis of the contacts made and information received.

“We look back on intensive and successful days at the fair. In all halls, one could vividly experience what horticultural entrepreneurship is all about – be it new technology, new varieties or new business ideas. This is how we can tackle the challenges of the industry. For the ZVG, after the pandemic break, it was an absolute must to be there.

The reunion was important for everyone”, summarises Jürgen Mertz, President of the Central Horticultural Association (ZVG), the conceptual sponsor of IPM ESSEN. From production to addressing customers: climate change concerns horticulture Sustainable production is playing an increasingly important role in horticulture, i.e. the responsible use of energy, water, fertilisers, substrates and plant protection. Various start-ups presented projects and solutions in this regard both in the new Horticultural Technology Innovation Centre and at the Young Innovative Companies stand. For example, CO2-storing plant charcoal made from biomass was presented, which stores water and releases nutrients.

In the area of pots, recycled plastic and compostable materials dominated. Also on display were smart transport and logistics solutions as well as software. In the area of plants, “green climate heroes” that can cope with drought, heat and heavy rain were in high demand across all assortments. Special themed tours of sustainable plant ranges provided guidance. The increasingly warmer climate also allows actual houseplants and Mediterranean plants to thrive in the garden. Here, too, a trend for the point-of-sale emerged.

The IPM Discovery Center provided further input with innovative sales concepts and the Speakers’ Corner, where the topics included marketing and social media in the green industry. What was striking this year: IPM ESSEN was more present than ever in the social networks. Numerous influencers and podcasters posted and reported on the world’s leading trade fair. During the runtime alone, the fair’s Instagram channel achieved an increase of 34 percent, its LinkedIn channel of 16 percent.

Preview of the floristry year
IPM ESSEN 2023 was once again the top meeting place for florists from all over the world. Lots of flowers, few leaves, colourful retro looks and powdery pastel brown tones in floral design were the predominant trends. “IPM ESSEN 2023 has presented itself green, ingenious and with a fantastic, innovative floriculture programme. The exhibitors in Hall 5 have reached their customers and in the FDF World we have incited the floricultural world. The sector is inspired, motivated and very well positioned. What is also particularly remarkable is the great interest and motivation of young people: a great many vocational school classes took part in our guided tours this year”, says a delighted FDF President Klaus Götz. The rousing live shows on the unique revolving stage also included the preliminary competition for the international championship of young florists “Eurofleurs 2023” in Slovenia. Newcomer Anian Friedrich from Bavaria qualified as the German representative. The industry competition for the IPM Trade Fair Cup also enjoyed a large number of entries. Tanja Korsak, florist at Blumen Westerheide in Mettmann, was the overall winner in the combined bouquet and container planting category.

Further award ceremonies were on the agenda at IPM ESSEN: On the first day of the fair, the best new plants were awarded prizes in the IPM novelty showcase: in the category “Spring Flowering Plant” the Primula polyantha hybrid POLLYANNA, in the category “Flowering Houseplant” the Anthurium andreanum ANTHFYSAN, in the category “Green Houseplant” the Philodendron erubescens ‘Pink Bikini’ ®, in the category “Woody Plant” the Acer campestre ‘Street Pillar’, in the category “Tub Plant” the Mangave Mad about Mangave ® ‘Blazing Saddles’ and in the category “Cut Flower” the Chamelaucium ‘Ever Flowering Wax’. The Audience Award went to the Erysium hybrid RYSI TM ‘Winter Spirit’ on the Thursday of the fair. The best storytelling was honoured with the Show Your Colours Award. With its unique colour gradient from red to purple and its fragrant flowers, the hardy rose “Rosa Rosy Boom Colours Change” by Diderk Heinje won the award.

Anniversary in 2024
90 per cent of the trade visitors were satisfied with the range of products and services at IPM ESSEN 2023. 91 per cent are planning a repeat visit, 92 per cent recommend IPM ESSEN to others. On the part of the exhibitors, 95 percent plan to participate again. The next opportunity will be from 23 to 26 January 2024, when the 40th IPM ESSEN will be launched at Messe Essen with a special anniversary programme