A Timeline of 40 Years of Floriculture

Back in 1982, while covering the growth of the foliage market, cut flower production, and, expanding bedding plant market in American Vegetable Grower magazine, Editor Richard T. Meister and Contributing Editor Will Carlson came up with a great idea: the launch of a premier trade magazine for the floriculture market. The industry has evolved in a variety of ways in
the last 40 years, and Greenhouse Grower has evolved with it. There have been quite a few significant changes in the last 15 years, leading growers, suppliers, and universities to adapt. The future of floriculture is bright, but the past reminds us of the roots of change, innovation, and leadership.

1983 GG cover



Greenhouse Grower magazine launches as a spin out from American Vegetable Grower.

Best Practices for Growing Garden Mums and Pot Mums

OFA holds its last Short Course in January and moves to July the next year. New timing grows event from 2,500 attendees to nearly 10,000 25 years later.

1984 Dr. Steven Still



Dr. Steven Still of The Ohio State University founds the Perennial Plant Association following the first Perennial Plant Symposium in Columbus, OH.

1986 Meriam Karlsson john Erwin


Michigan State University researchers Meriam Karlsson and John Erwin discover using DIF (the mathematical difference between day and night temperatures) to control plant height. DIF is adopted by growers internationally.

Cornell University hosts its first Seeley Conference, an industry think tank that examines issues facing floriculture. The first topic was Floriculture 2000: The Role of the University.


National Greenhouse Manufacturers Association develops condes and standards for structures, glazing, and electrical wiring.

1988 Judy Laushman1988

Judy Laushman and Allan Armitage found the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers.

The first automatic plug transplanter hits the market.

1988 breedingBedding plants become the No. 1 floriculture crop group, representing 36% of sales.


Greenhouse Grower presents its first Medal of Excellence to Goldsmith Seeds for its Multibloom geraniums. Since then, the Medal of Excellence program has expanded to recognize breeding efforts, leading growers, and overall industry achievement.


Hurricane Andrew wipes out much of Florida’s foliage industry in Homestead and becomes a defining moment for Florida growers as each of them decide whether to rebuild or exit the business.

1992 Proven Winners

Proven Winners brand is born when young plant growers John Rader of Weidner’s Greenhouses (later EuroAmerican Propagators), Tom Smith of Four Star Greenhouse, and Jeff and Henry Huntington of Pleasant View Gardens come together to promote premium vegetative annuals under a national brand.

1993 California Cut Flower Commission


California Cut Flower Commission is established as the first state research and marketing order in the industry.

1994 Kirin PanAmerican Seed Purpler Wave


Kirin and PanAmerican Seed revolutionize the seed petunia industry with the introduction of ‘Purple Wave.’ One of the most successful branding efforts follows: Wave petunias in pink pots.

1995 Yoder brothers


Yoder Brothers enters perennials market by bringing Blooms of Bressingham, a prominent line of British perennials, to the U.S. Later in the year, Yoder acquires perennial propagator Green Leaf Enterprises in Pennsylvania.


Professional Plant Growers Association (formerly BPI) loses a two-year legal battle against USDA over relaxation of Quarantine-37 to allow five more genera of plants to be imported into the U.S. in growing media.

1996 Aart Van Wingerden

The passing of Aart Van Wingerden. Today Aart and Cora’s children and grandchildren operate more than a dozen of the leading greenhouse operations in the U.S. today, including Green Circle Growers and Metrolina Greenhouses.

1998 Costa Nursery


Foliage king Costa Nursery launches new division focused on spring annuals called Costa Color.


Bedding Plants International folds after serving growers for 32 years. OFA adopts its fledgling promotional initiative, America in Bloom, which inspires communities to plant more flowers as part of their revitalization efforts.

2002 Bell Nursery and Henry Mast Greenhouse


Growers renew interest in developing contract growing networks as an alternative to acquisitions and consolidation. Bell Nursery and Henry Mast Greenhouses lead the way.


The Novalis consortium of growers gains momentum with its Plants That Work brand of perennials. Founding partners include Carolina Nurseries, Willoway Nurseries, The Conrad-Pyle Co., and Imperial Nurseries.

2003 TGC

Greenhouse Grower launches a new sister publication, Today’s Garden Center magazine.

2003 Ralstonia


A strain of Ralstonia on USDA’s bioterrorism list is found in geraniums, and hundreds of greenhouses are quarantined and suffer large losses.


FIRST (Floriculture Industry Research and Scholarship Trust) merges into American Floral Endowment.



Ball Horticultural Co. makes sustainability a major initiative and VeriFlora certification gains momentum with a push toward creating national standards for sustainable agriculture.

2009 D.S. Cole Growers


D.S. Cole Growers is the first grower in the U.S. to earn the MPS-ABC environmental certificate from the Holland organization.

2010 GG Awards


Rocket Farms merges with Nurserymen’s Exchange and moves forward operating under the Rocket Farms name.


Greenhouse Grower presents its first Operation of the Year award to Metrolina Greenhouses and its first Head Grower of the Year award to Regina Coronado of Stacy’s Greenhouses.


Rough Brothers acquires the assets of X.S. Smith.

2013 The inaugural American Floral Endowment Richard T. Meister Scholarship


The inaugural American Floral Endowment Richard T. Meister Scholarship is presented to Jared Barnes, a Ph.D. candidate at North Carolina State University.

2014 First class graduates from Dr. Charlie Halls inaugural Executive Academy for Growth Leadership


American Nursery and Landscape Association (ANLA) and OFA – The Association of Horticultural Professionals consolidate to form AmericanHort; later in the year, the Short Course is renamed Cultivate.

Color Point acquires Mid-American Growers of Granville, IL; Bela Flor Nurseries formed in the wake of Color Star Growers bankruptcy.

Bell Nursery makes decision to produce spring crops without the use of neonicotinoids.


First graduates from Dr. Charlie Hall’s inaugural Executive Academy for Growth & Leadership (EAGL).

2015 Dr. Allan Armitage book



Greenhouse Grower’s parent company Meister Media Worldwide presents the first Biocontrols Conference and Trade Show.


Allan Armitage publishes a new memoir, It’s Not Just About the Hat.

Lowe’s announces it is phasing out neonicotinoids from its stores.

Michigan State University launches new Greenhouse Lighting Online Course.

2016 Costa Farms


Costa Farms wins International Grower of the Year award from the International Association of Horticultural Producers.

American Hort, the Society of American Florists (SAF), and the Florida Nursery, Growers and Landscape Association reported significant problems with whitefly management in the Southeast.

2017 Light Management in Controlled Environments book


Michigan State University’s Roberto Lopez and Erik Runkle partner on new “Light Management in Controlled Environments” book.

EuroAmerican Propagators files for bankruptcy. The young plant and finished plant grower produced plants for more than 20 breeders.

Acquisitions: Costa Farms acquires Delray Plants, one of the leaders in the indoor houseplant industry; C. Raker & Sons acquired By Roberta’s Unique Gardens

2018 Basewell


ICE raid at Corso’s Horticulture leads to more than 100 arrests.

Acquisitions: Bell Nursery in Elkridge, MD, is acquired by Central Garden & Pet Company, a distributor of branded and private label products for the lawn and garden and pet supplies markets; the sale of Color Spot Nurseries to Wells Fargo became official, resulting in Color Spot Nurseries emerging from Chapter 11 bankruptcy with a successful corporate restructuring under the Altman Plants brand.

Basewell, a potentially game-changing new propagation system developed by Dümmen Orange, offers growers a cost- and labor-saving alternative to traditional production.

2019 PanAmerican Seed


PanAmerican Seed introduces Beacon Impatiens, with downy mildew resistance.

NewGen boxwood is developed in response to the devastating spread of boxwood blight.

The Greenhouse Lighting and Systems Engineering (GLASE) consortium is formed, bringing growers, researchers, suppliers, and other stakeholders together to create a hub for new technology development and implementation.

Greenhouse tomato growers monitor potential spread of the tomato brown rugose fruit virus.

2020 Covid


California Spring Trials, Cultivate, and other events forced to go virtual; online learning becomes the norm.

COVID-19 pandemic leads to major shifts in how growers, retailers do business.

Grimes Horticulture closes doors after 95 years in business.

2021 California Spring Trials


Nexus Corporation, Rough Brothers, Inc., and ThermoEnergy Solutions unite under one roof to form Prospiant.

California Spring Trials moves to the summer (and moves back to spring a year later). Photo: any photo from CAST 2021.

Product shortages highlights supply chain challenges of pandemic recovery.

Dewar Nurseries Worker Protest


Seville Farms, a Texas-based greenhouse operation with more than 5 million square feet of controlled-environment production, forced to sell its assets.

Hurricane Ian hits Florida; growers mostly report roof damage, flooding.

After its H-2A employees were the target of unfair attacks, Dewar Nurseries speaks out on behalf of its team.

2023 GG podcast logo


Dan Schantz Greenhouses announces it will cease operations at the end of 2023.

After more than a decade, USDA updates its Plant Hardiness Zone Map tool with some notable changes.

Greenhouse Grower launches the new Greenhouse Grower to Grower podcast.

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