May 27, 2009
You Say Tomato
Homegrown herbs and vegetables are at a popularity level not seen in a generation, and thanks to a host of branded programs on the market, growers and retailers have plenty of opportunities to capitalize on the trend. Plug Connection’s Organiks line of organic herbs and vegetables, for example, appeals to consumers through its unique, colorful packaging. “We decided to go with the lifestyle look,” says Josh Schneider of Cultivaris, a consulting firm to Plug Connection. “We basically ignored the perceived wisdom that you need an exact picture of the plant.” Instead, the thyme plant, for instance, features a picture of halibut with a thyme sauce, and the pepper tags feature a photo of mouth-watering kabobs. “The entire Organiks marketing concept, with the bench cards, signs and all of the supporting marketing material, is to showcase the big, lush, beautiful opportunity that is presented to you as you’re standing there […]
May 26, 2009
Online Only: Web Savvy Resources
Growers looking to build new structures now have a plethora of resources at their fingertips. Some of the leading structures companies have revamped their websites with tools to make structure shopping a breeze. Rough Brothers, for example, recently enhanced its website with an “Ask Our Experts” forum. Here, customers have the opportunity to ask any questions they might have about structures and related equipment. Questions can be about anything from design and construction to operation and maintenance. Visitors to the website also have the option of browsing questions that have already been asked and posting responses. In addition, an online parts catalog is included on the website. It features some of the most popular components and equipment, such as cutain systems, cooling and ventilation, glazing and lighting, among others. “We are trying to make our website more of a tool for growers,” says Bill Vietas, commercial division manager for Rough […]
April 28, 2009
Easy Product Upgrades
A collective tightening of the belts among American consumers likely means growers and retailers will have to work harder in 2009 to capture those oh-so-precious discretionary dollars. But luckily, there are plenty of easy product upgrades you can try that can help you get more bang for your buck. So, how exactly can you elevate the price of a plant without alienating customers? Tal White, general manager at White’s Nursery & Greenhouses in Chesapeake, Va., says adding value to an item by adding cost, like bundling a ceramic container with the plant, does not necessarily increase its perceived value to the customer. “We have found that it’s necessary to create a brand new item where there’s no past perceived value in place,” he says. “It creates the opportunity to increase the new item’s price in relation to existing items.” White is quick to note it’s not always an easy task, […]
March 23, 2009
Grading Biodegradable Pots
Sustainability. It’s not just a buzzword. It’s increasingly becoming a way of life for many consumers, and that couldn’t be any more evident than in grocery stores, where once ubiquitous petroleum-based plastic bags now share the limelight with more sustainable alternatives like reusable totes. The ornamental horticulture industry isn’t immune to this fundamental shift in consumer behavior, either. Over the last several years, growers have been experimenting with compostable and biodegradable pots to cater to consumers’ growing environmental consciousness. What’s The Verdict? A lot of growers have questions about the efficacy of these earth-friendly pots, and now that several operations have grown in them for a couple years, they’re able to share their experiences. While the pots can have their quirks, growers tend to agree there are more positives than negatives. “I would say the benefits far outweigh the negatives,” says Suzanne Baker, head grower and president at Rush Creek […]
September 22, 2008
On The Heels Of Success
Winners of the annual Greenhouse Grower Medal of Excellence for Marketing are chosen based on their contributions to the industry in developing and promoting new varieties. Frances Hopkins, president of Under A Foot Plant Co., is certainly a worthy winner. Her STEPABLES brand, which features more than 130 beautiful, low-growing varieties capable of handling foot traffic, keeps Hopkins on the constant hunt for new plants that fit the bill. Last time Greenhouse Grower caught up with Hopkins (August 2004 cover story), she talked about branding being a “tricky thing – it’s marketing on steroids,” she said. “If we are to build a successful brand and be in the marketplace for the next 20 years, we must be correctly identifiable to the consumer. If we are not, the consumer’s attention and loyalty fade.” Winning the Medal of Excellence affirms the STEPABLES brand is here to stay. Hopkins understands her market and […]
June 23, 2008
Planning Made Easy
Dan Foster, a grower and site manager for Proven Winners’ Four Star Greenhouse, was receiving request upon request from customers for help putting together their production programs. Foster was already planning Four Star’s production using Excel, and it eventually became too time consuming for him to cater to each of those grower’s needs. In search of a solution, he approached George Strimpel, director of marketing for Four Star Greenhouse. Strimpel came up with a plan. His knowledge of Excel allowed him to create a software program growers could use themselves to plan production. The user-friendly software, born out of Foster’s original method for planning Four Star’s production, is called PW Plan-It. It runs in Microsoft Excel and is free to anyone who grows PW product. Based on a customer’s needs, PW Plan-It calculates the number of trays necessary and automatically creates an order form based on those numbers. How […]
June 23, 2008
The Green Menace
Habitat destruction is the number one greatest threat to biodiversity, and second place goes to the spread of invasive species. Invasive plants overcrowd native vegetation, affect animal habitats and can even increase flooding and fire hazards. While most landscape plants are not invasive, species that do escape and invade can cause major ecological damage. According to the California Association of Nurseries and Garden Centers (CANGC), which represents wholesale nursery growers, retail garden centers and associated businesses in California, the landscape trade is to blame for about 85 percent of invasive woody plants in the United States, while 53 percent of California’s invasive species have horticultural origins. In order to prevent the spread of invasive species, CANGC recently approved voluntary codes of conduct for nursery professionals to follow to prevent aggressive plant invasions. CANGC is developing a plan for implementing the codes in California garden centers and nurseries by participating in Cal-HIP, […]
June 19, 2008
Bedding Plant Survey 2006
Every year we send our bedding plant survey to a random sampling of 1,000 growers across the country. This year we had less than a 3 percent response rate, which was a little disappointing, but those of you who did respond provided some great insight. The spring season was varied for our respondents, some rating it a 2, and others giving it a perfect 10. The positive, though, is that no one’s spring was too abominable (or if it was, you weren’t in the mood to fill out our survey). Seven of the respondents had average springs, 17 had above average springs, and only 4 gave their springs a rating of 4 or lower. The Ratings When asked to rate this spring, one grower in New Mexico described it as the “best year ever,” while a Connecticut grower said, “It was the worst season I ever had. Weather was poor and […]
June 18, 2008
You grow beautiful flowers, all with their own unique characteristics. But can a plant really sell itself? What is it that makes certain varieties stand out? It’s not just what you sell — it’s how you sell it. Good marketing can mean the difference between an ordinary pelargonium and a must-have geranium. Driving Sales Dümmen has created several new programs to help growers generate interest their product. Instead of relying solely on retailers to promote the benefits of particular varieties, growers can take matters into their own hands with POP packaging and signage provided by Dümmen. It’s called Colour Festival, Dümmen’s new umbrella of marketing concepts. According to Rebecca Lusk, regional sales manager at Dümmen USA Inc., the concepts for each of the new programs — Pure Glamour, Potunia Round And Round!, Flowering Expressions, Party In Pink and Magic Stars — all were created with the grower and today’s consumer in mind. The glory […]
June 18, 2008
The automotive and horticulture industries have a lot in common. Well, they can, anyway. It’s all about streamlining the production process. Toyota is one of the most successful examples of a "lean" company — one that does what the customer wants, and only what the customer wants — in order to reduce waste. The concept is called lean manufacturing, and it’s catching on in the green industry. "It’s about not overproducing in terms of finished product, but also in terms of daily activities," says Andy Rogish, quality systems manager for Yoder Brothers, Inc., which has implemented lean practices in its greenhouses. "For instance, if I double or triple handle pots in my delivery process, the customer will eventually care, whether they realize it or not, because the more I handle the pots and deliveries, it’s going to require more labor. If I’m touching a pot two or three times, I’m adding no value […]
June 18, 2008
Two Decades Of Dedication
In the early 1980s, Shemin Nursery, owned by Weyerhaeuser, Inc., began a grower supply business in Homestead, Fla., including a Young Plants division supplying plant cuttings from Europe and Central America to Florida growers. In 1987, Weyerhaeuser/Shemin withdrew from the area, and Foremost Foliage was born. From 1987 to 1992, Foremost Foliage, Inc. imported foliage cuttings to supply Florida growers. And then came Hurricane Andrew. “Virtually all Foremost employees lost their homes or suffered severe damage,” says Randy Natalino, co-owner and vice president of marketing for ForemostCo. “The damage to Foremost Foliage was also very severe–much of its market and customer base were simply gone.” But, when some would’ve given up, Foremost moved on and flourished. Natalino attributes much of the business’s ability to survive to the help and confidence of suppliers and customers. “During this time, a decision was made to diversify both geographically throughout North America, and also beyond […]
June 17, 2008
The Home Depot recently launched its Eco Options program to promote sustainable, earth-friendly products. Wal-Mart has taken measures to ensure its manufacturers are minimizing the amount of packaging they’re using. Green is definitely en vogue, and our industry is taking heed. Gary McColeman, marketing manager for China MBCC Garden Craft Manufactory, has been working with North American growers and distributors to introduce Biopots (www.biopots.com), imported from China, to the marketplace. Biopots are biodegradable, pollution-free flower pots made from bamboo, rice husks and straw, and according to McColeman, they’re on their way to becoming the next big thing for the green industry. “Home Depot and Wal-Martâ€“all they want to see is growers come to them with new ideas and new technology,” he says. “Now it appears they’re in the environmental business big time. The grower has to get smart if he wants to deal with those types of accounts, and there […]
June 16, 2008
That’s not to say everyone has given up on the holiday favorite, though. Responses to our annual poinsettia survey varied, some saying the season was great, others calling it abysmal. And with painted plants fetching top-dollar, poinsettia profitability could be on the rise. But enough speculating. Read on to see what growers had to say about the 2006 season. Grower Impressions Despite the challenges, most of our survey respondents said they viewed the 2006 poinsettia season as a goodâ€“even excellentâ€“one. That could be attributed to higher demand, according to one Illinois wholesale grower who saw “A bit stronger demand due to a small decrease in overall production.” “Some seasonal growers decided not to grow for the ’06 season due to low profitability,” the grower added. Overall, the impression of the 2006 season was positive, and nearly all the growers who grew poinsettias this year plan to again in 2007. One […]
June 16, 2008
Anyone who’s strolled through Millennium Park in Chicago has probably noticed the lush greenery, full-sized trees and landscape art that grace the park. What visitors might not realize, though, is that they’ve set foot on what is considered to be one of the largest green roof specimens in the world. According to greenroofs.com, an Internet news media organization that serves the international green roof industry, the 24.5-acre park sits on top of a parking garage. In 2005, it won the Green Roofs for Healthy Cities Award of Excellence in the intensive industrial/commercial category. Increasing environmental consciousness has led to greater demand for green roofs and green walls, and to fill the demand, groundcover specialist Hortech, Inc. has added LiveRoof and LiveWall sections to its 2006-2007 wholesale catalog. “I think it’s starting to transition to more of a common practice,” says Dave MacKenzie, owner of Hortech. “Developers and architects are certainly […]
June 13, 2008
Foliage Forecast 2007
No one can predict the future. So many variables can contribute to the ups and downs of any industry. But where the foliage industry will stand in 2007 might be best determined by looking at where 2006 has taken it. With no major hurricanes last year and fuel costs finally beginning to level out, some major changes may be on the horizon. Buyer Dynamics Florida Nursery, Growers & Landscapers Association (FNGLA) Executive Vice President Ben Bolusky explains that a lot of the biggest challenges the foliage industry faced last year are still evolving, one of them being buyer dynamics. “In dealing with the growers, FNGLA sees buyer channels narrowing,” he says. “The demand for tropicals and foliage is not shrinking, yet the base of buyers appears to be. It is challenging for foliage growers to identify and find a diversity of buyers in the wholesale marketplace.” Bolusky also notes that the […]
June 10, 2008
Growing Green: Marketing Sustainability
So, you’re ready to commit to sustainability. You’ve got the products and you’ve got the knowledge. Now what? The sustainability movement has opened up a whole new world of opportunity for independent garden centers, as long as you know how to market it. Placement Is Key Getting customers to notice your earth-friendly offerings is the first step in becoming profitable with green products. Jeremy Brunner, vice president of natural plant food manufacturer and marketer The Espoma Company, says presentation is everything, and placement is critical. Espoma’s switch from paper packaging to plastic packaging created the ability for garden centers to display the product outside, closer to the plant material, which Brunner says has been a great success. “You need to get product outside,” he says. “You need to get product in as many places as possible.” Susan Lewis, founder and president of organic pesticide company Pharm Solutions, says cross merchandising […]
June 25, 2017
Consumers Revel in Gardening at Metrolina Greenhouses’ …
Metrolina wanted to promote plants, gardening, and creating a sense of community, so it decided to host Dig & Swig events at a local brewery.
June 24, 2017
Green Fuse Botanicals New Vice President is Focused on …
Jim Devereux, who will oversee production, sales, and marketing for Green Fuse, says he hopes to bring genetics to the market that break from traditional production methods for finished growers.
June 23, 2017
Greenbelt Microgreens is a Finalist for the 2017 Operat…
Winner of the Excellence in Innovation Award, Greenbelt Microgreens is constantly staying on top of the latest trends in technology,
June 22, 2017
Japanese Breeder Ushio Sakazaki Wins Medal of Excellenc…
From Supertunias to Superbells, this innovative Japanese breeder has used wild genetics to create game-changing plants that help consumers reconnect with the beauty of nature.
June 21, 2017
New Tool from Koppert Provides More Effective Thrips Ma…
A newly patented sachet for the predatory mite Amblyseius swirskii is resistant to both low and high levels of humidity, helping growers combat thrips infestations.
June 20, 2017
Dümmen Orange Enters Calla Market With Acquisition of G…
Golden State will continue to supply the market through September 2018, at which time Dümmen Orange will assume supply and delivery of much of Golden State’s product line.
June 20, 2017
Sign Up For The Luxflora Flower Run At Cultivate’17
The5k walk/run race, sponsored by Luxflora, is an opportunity for industry members to network, build relationships, have some healthy fun, and start off Cultivate’17 with a flourish.
June 19, 2017
IGC Show Features Talks on How to Cash in on the Buy Lo…
This year’s event, which takes place Aug. 15-17 in Chicago, also includes a free workshop on what you might do when starting your business over from scratch.
June 18, 2017
Protect Your Employees from Heat-Related Illnesses with…
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration have released an updated app for smart phones that can help workers stay safe when working outdoors in hot weather.
June 17, 2017
Visser, Ball Partner on New Sticking Technology for Cut…
The new AutoStix system is designed to provide better consistency and uniformity with shipped cuttings, easier and more reliable counting, automatic transplanting, and optional buffering in the peak season.
June 16, 2017
Five Guidelines to Investing in Software for Your Green…
Any software improvement you make should make sense for your team and be worth the investment.
June 15, 2017
Greenhouse Grower’s 2017 Evening Of Excellence Will Rec…
Registration is now open for the 2017 Greenhouse Grower Evening Of Excellence, which takes place Monday, July 17, during Cultivate’17.
June 14, 2017
Plantpeddler Hosting Variety Day on Aug. 4 in Cresco, I…
The free event will allow attendees to tour Plantpeddler’s trial gardens, which include more than 1,200 varieties of vegetative annuals displayed in large containers, baskets, window boxes, and beds.
June 13, 2017
Are Your Geraniums Showing Signs of Iron or Manganese T…
Zonal geraniums with low pH can exhibit iron and manganese toxicity symptoms, including marginal chlorosis, leaf speckling, and upward-cupping of the leaves, according to Michigan State University experts.
June 13, 2017
New Research Explores Potential of Using Steam or Hot W…
USDA-Agricultural Research Service horticulturist Dr. James Altland is exploring an alternative method for controlling weeds in greenhouse propagation systems by using steam or hot water to kill weed seeds.
June 12, 2017
How to Improve Customer Success by Adding Residual Fert…
Even if it costs a few cents more per pot or extra labor, your customers will thank you with repeat sales.
June 9, 2017
New Head Grower at Emerald Coast Growers is Excited abo…
Jonathan Babikow, Emerald Coast Growers’ new general manager/head grower for its Lancaster, PA, location, talks about his favorite perennials, the advantages of growing in Pennsylvania, and his future hopes for his career.