Registration open for the 2019 Greenhouse Growers Expo

The 2019 Greenhouse Growers Expo education schedule features 15 greenhouse sessions, four cut flower sessions and two fantastic bus tours.

Flowers in a retail garden center
Autumn colors abound in Michigan retail garden centers. Photo by Jeremy Jubenville, MSU Extension.

The 2019 Greenhouse Growers Expo, in partnership with the Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable, and Farm Market Expo, will be held Dec. 10-12, 2019, at the Devos Place Conference Center in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Working side-by-side with the Western Michigan Greenhouse Association and the Metro Detroit Flower Growers Association, the Michigan State University Extension Floriculture and Greenhouse Production Team has developed a program of 15 educational sessions on commercial plant production techniques, pest management and diagnostics, marketing and retail strategies, and MSU research updates. The schedule features presentations by green industry experts, as well as MSU faculty and Extension educators, and has been designed specifically for horticultural professionals and enthusiasts.

Growers of all experience levels will benefit from presentations on commercial plant production techniques. Will Healy, a nationally recognized technical expert from the Ball Horticultural Company, provides a framework for teaching people how to water containerized crops efficiently and effectively. Plant growth regulator (PGR) guru Joyce Latimer from Virginia Tech shares her insights in a two-session series on using PGRs to maximize crop quality. Young plant propagation and handling pointers are presented by John Dole of North Carolina State University and Roberto Lopez from MSU. Sessions include:

  • It’s Coming Out of the No$$le
  • The PGR Toolbox 1 – Selection and Effective Use of Plant Growth Retardants
  • The PGR Toolbox 2 – Using PGRs to Enhance Growth and Quality of Herbaceous Perennials
  • Tips for Handling and Propagating Young Plants

The marketing and retail track boasts a robust lineup of industry experts speaking on hot topics that include contemporary container combinations, pricing strategies, social media practices and online retail marketing. Featured speakers include Bridget Behe of MSU, Kari Mazzaferro from Scotts MiracleGro, Ariana Torres from Purdue University and Daedre McGrath and Heidi Lindberg from MSU. Be sure to catch these sessions:

  • Online Retail Marketing: Seven Approaches to Boost Sales
  • Art and Science of Pricing
  • The Shopper’s Journey
  • Contemporary Containers: Combining Function and Fab
  • Ten Social Media Best Practices to Win More Customers
  • Best Performing Annuals and Perennials

Have you ever submitted a sample to a laboratory and wondered if you were doing it right? A panel consisting of Garrett Owen, Laura Miles, Heidi Lindberg and Jeremy Jubenville from MSU will discuss collecting and submitting plant, insect and air samples for diagnostic analysis.

Once you’ve successfully diagnosed a problem, be sure to catch nationally renowned insect and disease management experts Raymond Cloyd from Kanas State University and Mary Hausbeck from MSU. Both experts will be on hand to talk about the fundamentals of systemic insecticides, floriculture disease management and integrating pesticides into biological control programs. These sessions include research-based recommendations and practical advice:

  • Understanding the Fundamentals of Systemic Insecticides
  • New Solutions for Floriculture Disease Problems
  • A Sampler on Sampling
  • Integrating Pesticides with Biological Control Agents: Can It Be Done?

New this year!

There are two educational bus tours available and a cut flower education track at the Greenhouse Growers Expo.

The Holiday Garden Center bus tour is scheduled for Tuesday, Dec. 10 and features local garden centers, a Christmas tree farm and the Fredrick Meijer Gardens and Sculpture park. Participants will hear from garden center owners and operators about what makes their retail operation successful and how they capitalize on the holiday season. Tour stops include:

  • Flowerland Garden Center
  • Romence Gardens
  • Lenderink Tree Farms
  • Fredrick Meijer Gardens

Don't miss the Greenhouse Production, Technology and Labor-Saving bus tour with Heidi Lindberg on Thursday, Dec. 12. As the name suggests, participants will learn about the methods and technology that help four local greenhouses reduce labor costs and energy consumption. Featured greenhouses include:

  • Revolution Farms
  • Spring Meadow Nursery
  • Henry Mast Greenhouse
  • Walters Gardens.

To top it all off, the MSU Extension floriculture and vegetable production teams are excited to present an educational track devoted to cut flower production. Featured speakers include Andrew Senesac of Cornell University, John Dole from North Carolina State University, Kristiana Coutu from Farmers Bloom Flower Company and Dave Smitley from MSU. These presentations emphasize practical application:

  • Pushing the Easy Button: Cut Flower Varieties and Helpful Tips for Aspiring Flower Farmers
  • Weed Control Options in Cut Flowers
  • Pest Management in Transplant Houses
  • Postharvest Handling of Cut Flowers


Online registration is now open. Attendees and exhibitors can find the full session schedule, registration, lodging and trade show information at the Great Lakes Expo website. Register today and don’t miss out on the bus tours!

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