The Cultivate trade show and conference came to be in 2014, when the well known OFA Short Course international convention and trade show, which was first held in 1929, was renamed. Presented by AmericanHort, and now known as Cultivate, this is the largest all-industry trade show and convention for the green industry. Cultivate continues the long tradition of being the event to attend to make industry contacts, learn new practices, tour area businesses, and conduct business transactions.

To learn more about the history of AmericanHort, the premier trade organization that has been cultivating the industry for over 220 years, click here.


Attendees came from 34 countries and represented all 50 U.S. states, culminating in nearly 10,000 attendees. A record number of emerging professionals - over 1,000 - were in attendance. Over half of those attending Cultivate are major decision makers in their company, making Cultivate the perfect opportunity for the discussions and decisions that drive the industry forward. Twenty percent of attendees made purchases onsite, while 55% left with the intention to purchase in the next 6 months.

Besides networking, doing business, and exploring new products, seeing new varieties was top of everyone’s list. More than 740 new varieties made their debut at Cultivate’17 - from annuals to trees to tropicals. The 130+ education sessions were well attended and praised for their relevance, engaging speakers, and strong takeaways. In addition, attendees earned continuing education credits for pesticide applicator licenses, LA CES credentials, and Landscape Industry Certified credentials.

Cultivate’17 is the first trade show event to be held in the newly renovated Greater Columbus Convention Center, which completed a $140 million dollar renovation right before the opening of Cultivate. The renovation added over 30,000 square feet of exhibit space, multiple session rooms, and additional parking. The redesigned center celebrates local artists through art showcases and will feature local food vendors in the Food Court and Cafe. “The convention center expansion had perfect timing. Cultivate’17 featured 695 companies and had a wait-list of companies wanting to exhibit,” says Sherry L. Johnson, CEM, CMP, AmericanHort Vice President of Knowledge and Business Development. “The expansion allowed more companies to participate in this industry-wide event, enriching the experience for everyone who attends. With the event going on its 88th year, it’s important to us that it keeps bringing the entire industry together.” The convention center expansion not only allowed for a larger exhibit hall but provided space for each industry segments to gather, network, and share ideas.

Best-selling author and speaker Jon Gordon, whose principles have been put to the test by everyone from professional sports teams in the NFL and NBA, Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, and non-profits served as the Keynote speaker at Cultivate’17.

Author of The Carpenter, The Seed, The No Complaining Rule, and more, his most recent book "The Energy Bus" is a Wall Street Journal Best Business Pick. Jon shared his wisdom with our Cultivate 17 audience. Jon's positive approach and method of using easy to understand fables to illustrate the solutions to the challenges we all face inspired and motivated the audience to continue to improve long after Cultivate ends.

One new feature of Cultivate’17 was the first CareerUP, an AmericanHort program tailored to the unique situations young horticulture professionals find themselves in. Attendees of CareerUP will have the chance to practice the soft skills that can make or break many young professional in their early career days. CareerUP is a "Workshop + Inspiration Series." full of honest conversations and networking with other young professionals in the industry. The workshop is full of plenty of inspiration to motivate and empower one to keep growing strong in this profession.

Already looking forward to next year’s event, Ken Fisher, CEO & President of AmericanHort shares, “Cultivate’18 is the all-industry event that brings the entire professional community together to make an even greater impact. The horticulture industry -- from retailers, to producers, to installers, and suppliers -- is a powerful force, and we at AmericanHort are proud to serve this industry to help ensure it thrives well into the future.”


Cultivate’18 is July 14-17 in Columbus, Ohio.