Floriculture is part of the hordiculture industry, which in turn is the largest sector of New Jersey's agricultural community — and it is doing well. But what is floriculture?

Lori Jenssen, executive director of The New Jersey Nursery and Landscape Association in Bordentown, said floriculture — flower farming — includes annual bedding plants, cut flowers, poinsettias, Easter lilies, chrysanthemums, hostas and flowering plants for indoor use.

"Here we are, this tiny little state. We are the Garden State, but compared to other states, the fact that we can rank fourth in the nation (for total crop value), is quite impressive," Jenssen said.

The total crop value for New Jersey's floriculture industry is $216.2 million for 2018, according to the Floriculture Crops report by the National Agricultural Statistics ServiceJenssen said that is a 6% increase from 2015.

Jenssen also said the hordiculture industry — which includes nurseries, greenhouses, floriculture and sod — is the leading agricultural industry in New Jersey. Sales are almost $500 million and New Jersey ranks fifth in the nation for that, which is great news for the Garden State and its economy.

For 2018, the top five states for floriculture besides New Jersey include Pennsylvania, California, Florida and Michigan.

People who live in New Jersey should shop local, including for plants, said Jenssen. She said shopping local means a person gets higher quality, there's less fuel spent on transport and there's support for the local economy.

Jenssen said part of going green means bringing plants into the environment. Plants combat global warming by absorbing carbon dioxide and producing oxygen, which contributes to soil health.

According to the American Nursery and Landscape Association, adding a beautiful landscape to a person's home can boost its value by as much as 15%.

Jenssen said there are garden centers all over the state. For more information about New Jersey's floriculture industry, the importance of planting and where to find garden centers in the state, see plantsomethingnj.org.

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