With 970 exhibitors, there’s always plenty to see at MANTS. It’s one of the premier places for the green industry to buy. From nursery stock to houseplants to automation solutions, there’s something for everyone. Here are a few highlights we saw earlier this month in Baltimore.
Sales manager Ken Roth said the Fresco line of topiaries attracted the most attention at the Eaton Farms booth. Topiaries are usually West Coast-only, but these Pennsylvania-grown plants boast additional cold hardiness. The Fresco line is available from Eaton Farms or through Bower & Branch.
Photo: Dwarf Alberta spruce, Moonglow juniper, Mops Goldthread cypress and Emerald Green arborvitae
InstantHedge was a popular booth throughout the show. The Oregon company is capitalizing on landscapers’ desire for full-size hedges. Founded in 2013 by Rare Tree Nursery owner Brent Markus, InstantHedge’s first plantings were harvested in 2018. More than 25 varieties are offered, but Stephanie Pratt, sales associate for InstantHedge, said the most popular options are European beech, arborvitae and boxwood. The hedges are grown for 5-7 years, sold in four-plant units, and shipped anywhere in the U.S. within 10 days of your order. Hedges are available in three different container types: biodegradable cardboard, woven fabric, and cedar box.
Photo: ‘Green Giant’ Arborvitae from InstantHedge
‘Freedom’ and ‘Independence,’ the two introductions from Saunders Genetics’ NewGen boxwood were on display at MANTS 2020. These boxwood blight-resistant plants will become officially available spring of 2020, from NewGen’s 5 partner growers, Overdevest Nursery in N.J., Prides Corner Farms in Connecticut, Saunders Brothers, Inc. in Virginia, Sheridan Nursery in Ontario, and Willoway Nursery in Ohio.
Photo: 'Independence' (L) was on display at the Overdevest Farm and 'Freedom' (R) at the Saunders Brothers booth.
The Spring Meadow Nursery booth featured several 2020 Proven Winners Landscape Shrubs of the Year, including an inkberry holly touted as an alternative to boxwood. Gem Box, Ilex glabra, is a dense, ball-shaped plant that is hardy from zones 5-9.
Photo: Gem Box holly
Hemp was a hot topic at MANTS. Will Pope said his family’s Tennessee business grows plenty of traditional greenhouse crops and trees and shrubs too, but its MANTS booth was dedicated to succulents and hemp products. Pope’s Plant Farm grows hemp clones and succulents for wholesale customers, but also sells its own finished products wholesale and in its own retail locations. Hemp extract tinctures and body cremes have been popular. Retailers like the colored packaging that easily alerts customers to the five different strengths. Pope’s Plant Farm has 16 acres of greenhouses, 30 acres of outdoor production and four retail locations.
Photo: Pope’s Hemp Extract
The succulent craze was evident at MANTS. Greenleaf Nursery Company had a neat display showing the potential of these plants and how they can work together to create something special.
At WestRock’s booth, the company had one of its RockLine label applicators on display. These stainless steel machines are designed for horticultural use. They give a grower the ability to apply a preprinted roll of labels to the containers or send it from the machine, print in-line as they’re applying. The RockLine applicators also read the bar code to make sure it is scannable, which eliminates mistakes and unhappy retailers.