Perennial Plant Association Celebrates 40th Anniversary

Apr 22, 2024
Perennial Plant Association celebrates 40 years

This year, the Perennial Plant Association (PPA) celebrates 40 years of connecting professionals, providing education and promoting perennial plants. Since 1984, PPA has welcomed horticulture professionals to a community where passions for perennials run deep and professional camaraderie is nurtured

In 1983, Steven Still, Ph.D., professor of landscape horticulture at the Ohio State University, sponsored a perennial symposium. This program, believed to be the first symposium devoted only to perennials, was held in Columbus, Ohio and attracted 250 attendees. During the two-day program, visionary leaders held an informal session to review the future of the perennial industry — the conversation turned to the need to form an association of perennial industry members, leading to the incorporation of PPA in 1984. 

The Perennial Plant Association initially comprised six regions with a director for each: Northeast, Southern, Great Lakes, Central, Western, and Canada; PPA added the Mid-Atlantic region later. The first three meetings were held in Columbus, but since 1987 the Symposium has circulated through the seven regions. Attendees enjoy and benefit from visiting and touring a new region of the U.S. or Canada each year.

Pierre Bennerup, of Sunny Border Nursery and a founding PPA member, best explains the impetus for the creation of the PPA.

“What you have to understand is that if you were growing perennials in 1980 in, say, Illinois, you had no idea who was growing what in Maryland or Connecticut,” said Bennerup. “You might know one or two others, but otherwise you were totally disconnected. PPA brought everyone together.”