December 15, 2009

Four Questions With … John Bonner

As part of our State Of The Industry report, we asked industry leaders to answer questions about the state of all things greenhouse floriculture. John Bonner, general manager of Eagle Creek Wholesale in Mantua, Ohio, shares his take on the state of the industry this week. How would you describe the state of the greenhouse floriculture industry today? The industry is in flux and going through some serious changes. Has our industry entered a new era or paradigm shift? Please explain why or why not. Yes, the new paradigm is one of accountability for making sure not only our customer is successful, but even more importantly, the consumer. This mantra is rippling back through the supply channels. Creating value also seems to be the law of the land today. What are the greatest challenges growers are facing today? Our greatest challenges are creating programs and products that are relevant to […]

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December 9, 2009

Educational Tools & Early Registration From ANLA

December 17 is the early bird registration deadline for the 2010 ANLA Management Clinic–and ANLA is featuring a full week of programming to promote the event. Beginning Monday, December 14, ANLA will launch the following series of events: –ANLA Today. The December issue launches Monday with a focus on how the economy has impacted our industry. With fewer staff, increased customer counts and smaller, more frequent orders, how are businesses addressing the challenges? –Webinar. Clinic speaker John Kennedy presents: “When Business is Slow…Sharpen the Tools!” The webinar will take place Tuesday, December 15 from 3-4 p.m. EDT. For more information and registration, click here. –Webinar. Clinic speaker Dr. Charlie Hall presents: “Got Recovery?” The webinar will take place Wednesday, December 16 from 3- 4 p.m. For more information and registration, click here. –The Early Bird Blog Spectacular. On Thursday, December 17, tune in for 12 blog postings in 12 hours […]

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December 7, 2009

Reader Response: Promise For Industry In St. Louis

Fran Hopkins got the industry talking last week when she offered her two cents on the state of our industry. Bill Ruppert, executive director of the Horticulture Co-op of Metro St. Louis, responds this week in a letter to Fran. Here’s the letter: Hi Fran, I just finished reading your interview. While I can understand your apparent frustrations, I must tell you that landscape green industry collaboration and visioning for today and the future is alive and well here in the Gateway region. On behalf of the Hort Co-op of Metro St. Louis, I crafted and pitched the “Power of Plants Tour” to our state’s first lady. The Tour includes representatives from a broad cross section of the horticulture and landscape green industry. The intention of the tour is to share the big picture about plants beyond the landscapes (First Lady Georganne) Nixon has already experienced during tours of our […]

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December 7, 2009

Armitage Has Saturday Night Fever

Greenhouse Grower columnist Allan Armitage is participating in a “Dancing With The Stars”-like event in the Athens, Ga., area called “Dancing With Athens Stars.” The event is a fundraiser for Project Safe, and you can help Allan earn the Audience Favorite Award by voting in advance. Allan will be doing The Hustle on March 23. “I never heard of The Hustle, but there you go,” he jokes. “I would not have agreed to make a fool of myself, except that it is a major fundraiser for Project Safe, a terrific organization working to end abuse against women. The world is a tough place for many, and having a support group like this makes a huge positive difference.” You can learn more about Project Safe at Project-Safe.org. In the meantime, Allan is asking for your votes–not for him but for Project Safe. Each vote is $1 donated to Project Safe, and […]

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December 7, 2009

The 30-Second Planter

Proven Winners propagator Four Star Greenhouse first test-marketed the 30-Second Planter as Pop, Drop and Grow in 2008. George Strimpel, director of marketing for Four Star Greenhouse, says the planter had such strong sell-through the first year, he knew it was going to be a home-run product for Proven Winners and its customers. “The reason for its success is simple,” Strimpel says. “It provides a solution for consumers who don’t have the time or experience to garden. No gloves or garden tools are needed–just fill your decorative container with soil, remove the bottom of the 30-Second Planter, drop it in your container–and you’re done.” The 30-Second Planter is a unique patented product from Proven Winners that allows consumers to easily remove the bottom of a biodegradable fiber container and then place it directly into a decorative container filled with soil–no digging necessary. The fiber container contains Proven Winners plants in various […]

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December 7, 2009

EPA Says Poinsettias Are Poisonous

Despite scientific proof that poinsettias are nontoxic, misinformation has a way of spreading like a weed around the holidays. When that myth crept into an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) blog recently, a Society of American Florists (SAF) member quickly responded to set the blogger and the record straight. “Poinsettias are not poisonous. Please check your facts before publishing such a post,” wrote Steven Newman, Colorado State horticulture professor, in response to an article titled “Be Careful With That Green Thumb.” Jennifer Sparks, SAF’s vice president of marketing, also reached out to the agency. In an e-mail to Peter Grevatt, director of the EPA’s Office of Children’s Health Protection, she wrote: “The poinsettia is the most widely tested consumer plant on the market today, proving the myth to be false.” Sparks also cited some of the research supporting its safety. Grevatt apologized “for the misinformation” about the popular holiday plant. “We […]

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December 7, 2009

Special Report: Montgomery’s Spring Recap & Analysis (Part 3)

Retail is where we find the most valuable information relative to industry trends because the trends are dictated by what happens here, not in the greenhouse or the nursery as it was in the past. The era of “grower in charge” has long passed, and we now reside in the era of “retailer in charge,” dramatically changing the market dynamics. At retail you can see grower performance, retailer performance, price trends, size trends, the impact of marketing programs, brand activity, as well as the impact or lack of impact driven by grower performance. To this end, I visited 972 retailers in 2008 and 494 since April 1, 2009, covering 20 markets in most regions of the country, including the West Coast, Northwest, Midwest, Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Southeast. The only major area we missed in 2009 was the Southwest. The purpose of these visits is to gather information regarding retailer performance, […]

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December 7, 2009

Previewing The Pest & Production Management Conference

The 26th annual Pest & Production Management Conference (P&PMC), presented by SAF and Greenhouse Grower, will take place February 25-27, 2010 in Orlando with an added emphasis on plant production. Historically, the conference has honed in on pest management strategies–and the P&PMC will continue to focus on pest management–but production topics like water quality, plant growth regulator use and alternative substrates will be addressed in educational sessions over a two-day period. Growers are welcome to attend an optional growing operations tour on Thursday, February 25. An additional $50 fee applies, but growers get the opportunity to tour greenhouse operations in the Orlando area. Educational sessions kick off Friday, February 26. Some of this year’s speakers include Jim Barrett (University of Florida), Margery Daughtrey (Cornell University) Jim Bethke (University of California), Scott Ludwig (Texas A&M University), Paul Fisher (University of Florida), Raymond Cloyd (University of Kansas), Sonali Padhye (University of Florida) […]

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December 4, 2009

Three Questions With … Art Van Wingerden

Art Van Wingerden, president of greenhouse operations at Metrolina Greenhouses in Huntersville, N.C., shares his take on the state of the industry this week. How would you describe the state of the greenhouse floriculture industry today? We think the state of the industry is good right now. Not good for everyone, but the overall state is, we think, good. Has our industry entered a new era or paradigm shift? Please explain why or why not. We have hit a shift. If you told growers a few years back they would be contract growing, they would have told you no way. The number of people who contract grow for others is increasing every year. We are currently at 25 percent of our sales is grown by others. Has there been a changing of the guard in industry leadership? Please explain your answer. Not sure about this one. Who says who is […]

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December 2, 2009

Dishin’ On Distribution

Nearly two years ago, leading horticultural distributors BFG Supply Co., BWI Companies and Griffin Greenhouse and Nursery Supplies formed an independent organization called the Integrated Horticultural Alliance (IHA). The organization was formed to remove redundancies and inefficiencies that drive up input costs. We recently caught up with Joe Farinacci, managing director of the Integrated Horticultural Alliance, who provided an update on IHA’s progress and how the organization is providing more value in the supply chain to growers. Q: How has IHA improved the efficiency of the supply chain since its inception early last year? A: Since coming to IHA, I have read and heard many comments regarding the lack of standardization within the horticultural industry. We all know, especially the grower, you need to develop standard procedures to be successful. Last year was a volatile year in terms of prices for horticultural products, specifically for plastics and products that contained […]

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December 2, 2009

2010 Spring Production Guide

As the year winds down and you’re shipping out the last of your poinsettias and holiday crops, we’re helping you get a jump on spring by publishing this handy 2010 Spring Production Guide for premium annuals. Demand for crop-specific growing information is greater than ever. Profit margins have been squeezed to the point where there is no margin for error or crop failures. Growers are producing more conservatively and shrinking their shrink, discarding less. The dumpster is not a paying customer. The solution is growing with precision to increase quality and consistency–repeatable results with your crops each turn. For this guide, we worked with technical experts from some of the world’s leading flower breeders, including Suntory, Danziger and Goldsmith Seeds/Syngenta Flowers. They have a global view of what works and doesn’t work and where the troubles lie with each crop. Most of the varieties are from cuttings but we have […]

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December 1, 2009

Tips For Producing Gerberas

Gerbera is one of the most popular flowering plants. Some say it practically sells itself! However, if quality is not there, sales will suffer. For the highest-quality finished product, Tom Linwick, grower account manager for Syngenta Flowers/Goldsmith Seeds, says gerbera production requires more attention to detail than most crops. In the early stages, gerberas require special attention to moisture management. In producing young plants, too much water between the second and fifth weeks results in plants that do not develop normally. Signs of overwatering are deformed leaves with a thick, leathery appearance. These deformed plants will not develop properly unless soil moisture is decreased.  Germination Temperature: The optimal temperature is 74° to 75°F (23°C) for the first three to four days. Lower it after germination is complete to 70° to 72°F (21° to 22°C) for the next three to four days. Eventually lower the temperature to 68°F (20°C) for growing […]

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December 1, 2009

Tips For Producing Torenias

Vegetatively produced torenia series have taken this genus to a new level the last 15 years. In shades of violet, white and blue, torenias are ideal for cool-colored combination plantings, baskets and beds. The first big series from cuttings was the Summer Waves from Suntory. Technical experts from Suntory share production advice: Growing On Torenias are day neutral but tend to flower more rapidly under warm temperatures and the long days of spring. Rooted cuttings should be potted up as soon as possible, ideally in 4-inch pots, one plant per pot. For 6-inch pots, use one or two plants per pot. For hanging baskets, plant three or four liners per 10-inch basket. Use open, free-draining growing media with a pH of 5.8-6.2, incorporating a balanced fertilizer. Slow-release types can be used as per the manufacturer’s recommendations. After potting, the rooted liners should receive a light watering. The crop is best […]

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December 1, 2009

Tips For Producing Verbenas

Vegetatively produced verbenas are available in two forms. The broad-leaved type, which began with Suntory’s Temari verbenas, are annuals and best suited to patio and balcony plantings. Suntory’s Tapiens have finer foliage and a denser habit, making them ideal as groundcovers. Technical experts from Suntory provide advice on producing verbenas: Growing On Verbenas are day neutral but tend to flower more rapidly under warm temperatures and the long days of spring. Rooted cuttings should be potted up as soon as possible into 4- to 10-inch pots. Use open, free-draining growing media with a pH of 5.8-6.2 incorporating a balanced fertilizer. Slow-release types can be used per the manufacturer’s recommendations. After potting, the rooted liners should receive a light watering. The crop is best kept on the dry side to aid root development. Verbenas prefer cool temperatures and high light. Grow plants at 68-75°F during the day and 68-72°F at night. […]

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December 1, 2009

Tips For Producing Mandevillas

Modern breeding has made mandevilla and dipladenia hybrids easier to produce. Ideally suited for summer patios, these vines are consumer favorites in shades of red, pink and white. Hardy to Zones 9-11, plants are tender perennials and need frost protection during winter months. One series that has captured a lot of attention in the market is the Sun Parasol collection from Suntory. Technical experts from Suntory share production advice: General Culture Mandevillas are generally long-day plants. Buds are initiated at 11 hours daylength for the Pretty type and 12 hours for the Classic group type in the Sun Parasol collection. The Giant group will flower from around 12-13 hours daylength, but does vary, as with all varieties in each group depending on the color. The initial potting should take place in a 4- to 5-inch pot. Growing media should have a pH around 5.0-5.5. Ideal growing temperature is a minimum […]

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December 1, 2009

Tips For Producing Vincas

Today’s vincas are better than ever before, offering hybrid vigor and dramatically enhanced disease resistance and performance. Two examples are Goldsmith Seeds’ Cora and Cora Cascade vincas, which have been thriving in landscapes and field trials nationwide with their high tolerance to aerial phytophthora. But even with superior varieties, growers still need to pay attention to growing practices. Best practices can help eliminate greenhouse disease issues like Thielaviopsis and Pythium, which commonly affect vinca and most other bedding plants. Ken Harr, grower account manager for Syngenta Flowers/Goldsmith Seeds presents best practices for success with vincas in a 12-step program: 1. Provide a well-aerated media. Finish plants in areas with protection from seasonal rains and adequate dryback within 18-24 hours to reduce susceptibility to root disease. 2. Maintain an EC range of 1.2-2.0 to finish plants. An EC less than 1.2 stresses plants and may cause susceptibility to disease. EC greater […]

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December 1, 2009

Tips For Producing Petunias

Vigorous vegetatively produced petunias have revolutionized the genus and come in all sizes and colors. How do you ensure you’re growing the highly branched, compact, vegetative petunias the market loves? With a carefully planned and targeted program that accounts for their extreme vigor and heavy feeding needs. Danziger, which is known for its Cascadia, Doubloon, Littletunia and Ray series, shares production advice: Rooting Root for two to three weeks at temperatures of 64-75°F. Planting For 4-inch pots, use one plant per pot. Plants will be ready for sale from rooted cuttings within six to eight weeks. For 6-inch pots, use one to two plants per pot. Plants will be ready in eight to 10 weeks. For 10-inch hanging baskets, use three to four plants, which will be ready in 10 to 12 weeks. Pinching Pinch once two weeks after planting. A second pinch is recommended for baskets. Plants may also […]

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December 1, 2009

Tips For Producing Ipomoeas

Commonly known as sweet potato vine, ipomoeas have become the most popular trailing accent in mixed containers and baskets and an easy way to fill flower beds quickly. The next generation of ipomoea genetics offers controlled growth and a variety of leaf colors and shapes. Suntory introduced the Desana series, which is not as vigorous as many other varieties in the market place and is available in Lime Bronze and Green. The technical experts at Suntory provide tips on producing ipomoeas” Growing On Rooted cuttings should be potted up as soon as possible into 4- to 6-inch pots, using open, free-draining growing media with a pH of 6.0-6.5, incorporating a balanced fertilizer. Aim for an EC of 1.5-2.0. Temperatures of the crop at this stage should be 72-80°F days and 60-65°F nights. This will help roots develop. Do not overwater at this stage to encourage healthy root development. Growth will […]

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December 1, 2009

Five Questions With … Fran Hopkins

Fran Hopkins, president of Under a Foot Plant Co., shares her take on the state of the industry this week. How would you describe the state of the greenhouse floriculture industry today? In complete disarray and total pandemonium. I must say this is the most disturbing place I have ever been in as a grower, as an owner and as a marketer. Instead of a unified front, forging forward in this horrible economy, we are regressing into civil war–box store versus independent, generic versus brand, paper versus plastic. You name it, our industry has pushed itself into every corner it can with a fight or flight mentality. I used to love this industry, but going to meetings now is a dreadful undertaking. It’s vigilante time for many I think. Instead of pulling together and finding a common cause to whip this bad economy, my friends and colleagues are yelling at […]

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December 1, 2009

Tips For Producing Calibrachoas

In the last 15 years, calibrachoa has emerged as one of the most vibrant vegetative annuals crops. The versatile plants are ideally suited to hanging baskets, patio containers and window boxes. The first series to make a splash globally was Million Bells by Suntory. Technical experts from Suntory share their tips for producing calibrachoas. Growing On Calibrachoa is a facultative long-day plant. Provide long days during propagation and production, if possible, although modern breeding has made great advances in bringing forward the flowering timing. Once cuttings are rooted and established, cuttings can be given a pinch to encourage a bushy plant. This is usually around three to four weeks after sticking. Sometimes this is not carried out by rooting stations and should be done by the grower at potting or just afterwards. Avoid overwatering stress, as this can lead to nutritional problems. Rooted cuttings should be potted up as soon […]

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