Every year in north western Germany the worlds biggest plant show takes place. Essen, the 9th largest German city, plays host to over 1500 exhibitors from 40 different countries. They are all there to promote new plants as well as horticultural technologies, products and services. Essen 2013 just closed its doors, leaving its 60,000 visitors exhausted but immensely satisfied.
The industry uses this international plants expo, IPM Essen, as a means to communicate. It’s all about obtaining information, sourcing market opportunities and identifying future trends. For the company that I work for, Plants Management Australia, it’s a great chance to meet with all of our international partners in one spot as they all attend Essen every year. It’s also perfect for making new contacts and promoting the work of Australian plant breeders to the world.
This is one huge trade show. The building is purpose built for such events and is well organized with exhibition space, cafes, restaurants and lecture theatres. The exhibition space is 105 000 square metres and its packed full of things to see. It’s hall after hall jam packed with gorgeous plants that are immaculately presented. At every turn you’re hit by inspiring marketing. If you’re like me and love to see amazing displays and innovative advertising you’ll love it. It’s exciting to see what other countries come up with and how we can apply it at home in Australia.
There’s also an entire hall devoted to new products. Here you’ll find the latest offerings from breeders across the globe. Whether it’s a new colour break, an improved habit or increased disease resistance, for many new varieties their first true unveiling occurs at IPM Essen. Over 50 new innovations are typically showcased and they include everything from edibles through to ornamentals.
The field of horticultural technology is booming and this year 26% of exhibitors were presenting their products and services from this area. Likewise, floristry is big at Essen and the artistic displays are mind blowing. If you know anyone keen on this area of the industry then point them in the direction of Essen next January. They won’t be disappointed.
If you’re ever in Europe during January it’s worth squeezing in a visit. Essen lies about half an hour from Duseldorf and its very accessible. You can easily spend a couple of days at the show wandering around. We stay for five and in between meetings, still don’t get to see everything! A warning though, book early as accommodation is hard to find during the show.