My favourite plant hunting month of the year is rapidly approaching, June is packed to the rafters with new plant showcases across Europe. One date you must get in your diary though (and indeed get those flights and ferries booked) is the Flower Trials.
The event is spread across 3 regions in the Netherlands and Germany, and is a veritable treasure hunt for anyone looking to hunt down new plants, and indeed get to know what’s already hot in the marketplace. It’s excellent for buyers, product developers and anyone working in our fine industry. Houseplants are represented comprehensively too, and you never know – you might find the next big thing!
I would recommend two days minimum for your visit, and you’ll need your own transport, and be prepared to embrace early starts and late finishes. You can relax in the knowledge that most supplier glasshouses provide plenty of food and drinks along the way, though!
Here are my top 19 reasons why you just have to visit the Flower Trials 2023!
1. Meeting people
You can meet with colleagues and have wonderful conversations full of inspiration, share ideas and swap notes! It’s one of few times of year when most of the industry is in the same place at the same time – and we all know how lovely our hort industry is! Here I am with Martine van Went during her Florist BV days.
2. Get the latest ideas
You’ll see the very latest in new ideas and formats for selling plants – some suppliers will have plants ready to sell, others might be giving a sneak peek into what they hope to develop, and they’re looking to gauge YOUR feedback. Check out these 3-in-1 pre-planted shrub/perennial mixtures.
3. Access all areas
Glasshouses will be open, trial grounds will also be open – so you can have a wander and check out exactly what breeders are up to, they would really appreciate your feedback too, I’m sure.
4. New ways to display
You might spot some new and eye catching ways to display the plants in your own garden centre or nursery, these Sundaville plants at Suntory give inspiration thanks to their decorative dutch trolley and colourful pot covers.
5. Get all the info before you order
You can see the exact specifications in which plants are supplied, and discuss right there on the spot as to how many you might order!
6. Make connections
You might make some new connections, which lead to bright futures – who knows, you might meet future friends, colleagues or contacts!
7. See brand new plants at their best
You will see brand new plants, all primped and preened ready for your enjoyment. Here’s an interesting new bedding or rockery plant which could stand up to climate fluctuations, the Rockery Cactus!
8. Snap the best shots
There’s also potential to get your own unique photography, right there on the spot, as plants look their very best. Here, I took a photo with Cosmos Apollo, a plant which we offer on QVC, but had never got the message of its ‘bouquet’ shape right, until now..
9. See plants in the flesh
Meet plants in person that you had never seen before! I’d seen Craspedia in catalogues for years, but never really had a good understanding of its dimensions. Here, I was treated to a fiull greenhouse of this unique plant!
10. Get the latest on plant re-inventions
Find out which forgotten plants are being re-invented, as it’s not always about brand new items. Hypoestes has potential as an innovative patio plant for outdoors, despite this plant’s long history as a houseplant inside!
11. Eat and drink well
You can eat the most beautiful, wholesale food, and drink strong and sexy dutch coffee. Each location caters in some way or another, so I doubt you’ll need a packed lunch! Go easy on the coffee after 4pm though, it keeps me up all night!
12. Get ahead of trends
Stay ahead of current trends at each location, succulents are still strongly on trend and here we see a supplier pivoting towards them in their range.
13. Browse the full product ranges
It’s a unique opportunity to see the full series of product ranges, as a collection. As a buyer, you can then pick your favourites, create new designer blends, and of course check uniformity and speed of each colour/variety.
14. Go one step further with trends
Acknowledge the trends, but go further with them! I am sitting here convinced that houseplant orchids are the next big thing! Indulge yourself.
15. Change the future
Help shape the next winners in the industry, you’ll get the chance to vote in the Fleurostar Awards – shaping the future of our product ranges, and customer favourites.
16. Get a different perspective
See different ways to use unique plants, perhaps even plants you haven’t known how to sell previously. This incredibly unusual Ptilotus is an excellent example.
17. Compare and contrast
You might also get the opportunity to assess new lines side by side with existing lines, sometimes across different breeding companies. A golden opportunity to see if the ‘proof is in the pudding’ when it comes to new plants.
18. Excite your followers
Drum up excitement with your followers… I was certainly agog when I first saw this new DOUBLE-FLOWERED Alstroemeria, and my followers were just as excited!!
19. Come up with new ideas
And, finally, Flower Trials will give you the time and space to chat, throw around ideas, play with plants – and the result could be a new crazy idea, and a whole new way to sell plants…
Plan your trip, lay out your route, and more – at https://www.flowertrials.com
Michael has been involved with gardening and plants since he was just five years old. He is a self-professed Plant Geek, and was listed in the Sunday Times top 20 most influential people in the gardening world, thanks to his plant hunter role at Thompson & Morgan.
Michael was responsible for new plant introductions such as the Egg and Chips plant and the FuchsiaBerry and keeps busy travelling the world in search of new plants as well as lecturing worldwide, including stints in Japan. He is very active on social media – so why not give him a follow at @mr_plantgeek or Facebook – and writes a plant-focused Substack called Grow This, Not That.