ORLANDO, USA: In 2021, the National Horticulture Foundation (NHF) celebrates its 34th birthday. NHF founder and board member Joe Cialone is proud that he has been a part of the foundation’s activities throughout its 34 years.
The Foundation really got its start in the foliage segment of the industry as an outgrowth of the Florida Foliage Association.
‘Foliage plants=house plants’ was its main industry focus. The foundation has always been a strong supporter of work that has contributed to more efficient production of house plants, including the breeding and development of more sustainable varieties.
Cialone says, “Although a lot has changed over the years, we are again seeing a period of unprecedented interest in house plants especially at the retail level. Many of the plants that are now in vogue were introduced into the marketplace in the 1970’s. Providing you are fortunate to live long enough, what is old becomes new again along with the added twist of some new varieties.”
Cialone notes that the current generation of plant buyers are mostly young people with lots of disposable income. “Plant prices are at an all-time high. Customers also seem to be well-informed about everything from the names of the plants to how to properly care for them.
“Things like high quality, good care information, new and different varieties, creative packaging, decorative containers, and other add-ons contribute to the attractiveness of our products and are great assets to the end-product. The time is right for these segments of the industry to do everything in their power to try to sustain this momentum.”
Cialone concludes by saying that NHF certainly has a role to play. Research and education will continue to be important in helping to expand and keep the new customer base.
“I was one of the original founders of the NHF and have been privileged to serve on its board of directors for many years. I have given this support because I believe that NHF has been a major factor in the success of our industry over these past 34 years. Take a moment and check out Providing scholarships | National Horticulture Foundation | United States website to see and review the many and diverse projects that NHF has funded.”