Welcome to The Tropical Plant International Expo (TPIE) 2023! Jim Mumford, founder of Good Earth Plants, went trendspotting at this year’s event in Tampa, FL. At 89% humidity, with showers and temps in the 70s, it felt very tropical.
The TPIE is the CES for plant people: interior plantscapers, designers, retailers, media, and really anyone whose job involves plants. And just like a new tech launch at CES, new varieties of plants are shown here first.
Jim started Good Earth Plant Co. 45 years ago, and his years of dedication to biophilic design earned him a place in the Hall of Fame at this year’s TPIE. He’s seen a lot of trends and recycling of trends, which is actually a trend for 2023. Here’s an inside look at his personal notes.
The TPIE spans three days in the winter and for those three days, if you’re not from a warm climate, you get to work in the tropics.
It’s only for industry people and it gives us a chance to share, teach and learn. The focus is on foliage, floral and tropicals, but that also includes planters, pots, biophilic design, and even cultural trends.
You may have walked into Home Depot and seen an interesting variety of plant you haven’t seen before. Next, you may have noticed it in the grocery store. Then, you stepped into the atrium of an office building and there it was again.
Large growers create new plant varieties or find existing varieties to grow that will be new and exciting for U.S. interior plantscapers and retailers. It’s really fun for us to be able to keep an office interesting by adding new plants your employees aren’t used to seeing.
Research Trend: The Healing Power of Plants
Houseplant sales have been skyrocketing, even before Covid hit the U.S., according to research from the National Gardening Association.
While we all learn in high school biology that plants produce oxygen, the theory that plants contribute to wellness is a relatively new area of research.
Dr. Lauriane Chalmin-Pui is a UK-based Postdoctoral Fellow conducting research around plants and wellbeing. Last year, she authored an article for the World Economic Forum and & here are key points she cites:
- Just being in the presence of indoor plants can improve mental and physical health, according to a recent review of 42 studies.
- Houseplants improve air quality, which can benefit our cognitive performance – something that is especially important for people who are inside all day.
Lifestyle Trend: Repair, don’t Replace
Buzzwords: “reconsideration” “sustainability” “repurposing” “regeneration”
The concept of reusing is not just for household items, but for plants as well. You’ve probably driven past a house using an old bathtub for a planter. Being green with your greenery doesn’t have to mean a bathtub.
Pro Tip: Turn old containers, vases or pots into planters by drilling a hole in them.
Cultural Trend: Authenticity
BeReal launched in 2020 and didn’t pick up steam until last year. Now this anti-Instagram app has grown to a reported 73+million global installs, with about 10 million global active daily users.
This trend is manifesting itself in the plant world in the form of less curated, more natural looking interior plantscaping and gardens. Think resimercial.
Philosophical Trend: Environmental Awareness
Environmental awareness is a mindset that becomes a lifestyle, and it’s been gaining momentum with Millennials & Gen Z since Greta Thunberg sailed across the Atlantic.
As San Diego interior plantscapers, this is what we live and breathe. A newer manifestation of environmental awareness comes in the form of actual art, like a green sculpture or multimedia work. This is something we’re at the forefront of; we create these living works of art for clients all around San Diego and Los Angeles.
Plantscaping Design Trends
- Plants as art
- Tribal themes
- Irregular & asymmetrical
- Bright colors & pop art design
Plantscaping Design Language Trends
This is a fun category. Every year in plantscaping design, just like with any other kind of design, new or tweaked styles take on new names, creating new categories. The top one in Southern California, especially San Diego, is always “California Coastal” and “Beachy.”
Here’s a look at design language trending around the U.S.:
- West Coast is the best coast; California Coastal and beachy are what we want in the West, but so do non-California residents. people.
- Whimsical is becoming a new request for interior plantscapers and landscapers. Lots of color, wildflowers and curves that may bring up nostalgia for childhood – think Alice in Wonderland.
- There will always be fans of a clean interior design that incorporates a tidy version of nature.
- Modern Industrial’s resurgence continues and this factory aesthetic comes to life with biophilic design.
- Bohemian is a also a new aesthetic in plantscaping – picture the indoors outside and the outside indoors, with breezy palms, wooden furniture amidst flowy greens, soft neutrals with pops of color and a maybe a tropical vibe.
- And it’s not really design language if there’s not a made up word, so here’s an almost-new word that describes making an office feel homey: resimercial. With study after study proving the benefits of plants in the workplace, this will be possibly the most defining term for office and workplace design in 2023-2024.
Plantscaping Trend Spotting at the TPIE
Here’s a look at some of the things that stood out at this year’s expo.