Boomin’ Blooms

Florida a Powerhouse for Horticulture, Landscape Industries


Have you ever taken the time to appreciate the lush greenery and vibrant colors that adorn Florida’s landscapes and gardens? If you have, then you’ve probably unknowingly admired the work of Florida’s horticulture industry. 

This sector, which includes nurseries, landscapers, and greenhouses, generates more than $31 billion in economic output and provides more than 266,000 jobs in the sunshine state. Impressed yet? Keep reading for more. 

The Evolution of the Industry

Florida’s nursery and landscape industry has come a long way since its humble beginnings. Back in the early days, most people grew their own vegetables and ornamental plants. But as the state’s population grew, so did the demand for professional landscaping and high-quality nursery plants. 

Today, this industry encompasses a wide range of businesses such as landscapers, wholesale and retail nurseries, and greenhouses. 

Florida’s subtropical climate makes it the perfect location for mass cultivation of ornamental and tropical plants, making it the second-largest producer in the country (about 80% of all tropical and indoor plants in the US come from Florida, with about a third going to landscapers and developers). It makes sense why Florida is the perfect choice; this is a state that essentially has its own built-in greenhouse!

Though Florida has always been a hub for growers, the industry really started to take shape in the 1970s, when the Florida Nurserymen and Growers Association (the predecessor of FNGLA, or the Florida Nursery Growers and Landscape Association) was founded. 

Now, the state produces nearly half the country’s houseplants and foliage and exports more than $90 million in plants and foliage annually. Its key export destinations include Canada, Bahamas, the Netherlands, and Caribbean islands.

Major Players in the Industry and Their Economic Impact

The FNGLA is the largest state nursery association in the nation and represents 1,550 leading businesses in Florida’s environmental horticulture industry. This includes a range of businesses, including nurseries, landscaping services, garden centers, and greenhouses. 

The industry is also renowned for its two major trade shows: the Tropical Plant International Expo and The Landscape Show, which draw visitors from all around the world.

According to a new economic impact study conducted by FNGLA, the industry has added an impressive $10 billion to its total impact since 2015. 

As you might expect, the largest sector within the industry is landscaping, employing over 121,000 people with a total economic impact of $11 billion. 

In second place is greenhouse and nursery plant production, with almost 24,000 employees and $2.3 billion in economic impact. 

All in all, Florida’s nursery and landscape businesses paid more than $6 billion in wages and benefits to workers in 2020 alone and contributed $600 million annually to local and state tax revenue, making it one of the state’s leading sectors for employment.

Current and Projected Impact on South Florida

South Florida is the most significant contributor to the industry’s success, with Miami-Dade County alone producing $7.5 billion in sales and supporting nearly 80,000 employees. 

The industry has a significant impact on Florida’s economy, with sales from nursery production, landscaping processes, and retail reaching $25 billion.

The industry continues to grow with a rise in demand for edible plants and drought-tolerant or Florida-friendly options. 

More than 80% of nurseries saw increased shrub sales in 2020 while one-third did not see changes in tree sales. Most expect expanded tree and shrub sales over the next three years as well. 

The foliage industry is also ready to forge ahead, with its businesses optimistic about future sales and investments.

Essential to the Economy

Florida’s nursery and landscape industry is an essential contributor to the state’s economy, employing more than a quarter-million people and generating more than $30 billion in economic output.

It encompasses a range of businesses and is renowned for its trade shows and reputation as a major producer of indoor houseplants and tropical foliage. 

With the industry poised for growth, and increased demand for Florida-friendly options, the future looks bright for this thriving economic force.

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