Photo i.d., left to right:  Secretary Fisher, Gunter Lennon, Bruce Eklund and NJ Nursery and Landscape Association Exec. Dir. Dominick Mondi

New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher and New Jersey State Statistician Bruce Eklund with the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) announced that New Jersey ranks sixth in the nation with $196 million in floriculture sales last year, up 4 percent from 2013.  Fisher and Eklund made the announcement at Lennon Farm Greenhouses, a large greenhouse grower in Tabernacle, Burlington County.

New Jersey has 258 floriculture producers with sales of $10,000 or more, and there was an increase in producers in the $100,000 to $499,999 sales range.

“New Jersey’s floriculture industry is important to our economy and is a significant part of our state’s horticulture industry,” said Secretary Fisher.  “Our floriculture growers supply not just New Jersey nurseries and garden centers, but those along the entire east coast and beyond.”

NASS recently released the 2014 Annual Floriculture Survey, which showed only New Jersey and Florida earned increases in value of sales of the 15 leading states surveyed.  Nationally, wholesale value of floriculture crops was down 4 percent from 2013.

“That New Jersey competes so well with other states is all the more significant considering New Jersey is the smallest of the 15 major states,” said Eklund.  “When considering total land area, New Jersey is more than twice as densely devoted to Floriculture as any other.”

The survey found New Jersey ranks third nationally in sales of herbaceous perennials ($53 million) and cut flowers ($15 million). Sales of bedding/garden plants were $123.3 million, potted flowering plants were $34 million and poinsettias were $8.4 million.

New Jersey also ranks third in floriculture acreage on open ground at 4,720 acres.  The Garden State has a total of 26.7 million square feet of covered area for floriculture crop production.

Floriculture crops include annual bedding plants, cut flowers, Easter lilies, poinsettias, chrysanthemums, hostas and flowering plants for indoor use.  Floriculture is part of the horticulture industry, which is the largest sector of New Jersey agriculture.

Lennon Farm Greenhouses was started in 1995 by Gunter and Helene Lennon.  Helene is a third generation grower.  Gunter started in the business when he was young, working for Helene’s father.  Their facility sits on 112 acres and they have 160,000 square feet of greenhouse space.  They also have 100,000 square feet of roll-out areas, which allow the plants to acclimate to the surrounding atmosphere.

“We continue to grow every year and keep up with demand, growing more product and doing it more efficiently,” said Gunter Lennon.  “We’re known for our quality, selling young plants from Florida to Maine.  Our specialty is begonia and vinca plugs.”