5 Steps To Simplify Spring Booking

It’s time to plan for spring production. Where should you begin? There’s so much to think about, and so many factors to consider. Do you feel a headache coming on? Put down the aspirin and keep reading for a five-step approach to less painful plant ordering.

1. Get ‘Em While They’re Hot

Start with what worked well this year. What had the best sell-through? Which items sold out completely? Secure those varieties first to ensure the quantities and ship weeks you need most. At the same time, review the items that were flat or down in sales, adjusting your 2015 plan accordingly to minimize your losses and make room for more top sellers.

2. Discover The Next Big Thing

Once you’ve taken care of your current must-haves, turn your attention to new varieties. Breeders are continuously upgrading their genetics for better performance and more efficient production. We’re also seeing plenty of all-new breeding breakthroughs including New Guinea impatiens from seed (Divine from PanAmerican Seed and Florific from Syngenta Flowers) and Kabloom seed calibrachoa from PanAmerican Seed.

Of the hundreds of new varieties for 2015, what has caught your eye? At a minimum, book trial quantities of a few introductions that excite you and fit your product mix. Today’s new variety could be tomorrow’s blockbuster, as we saw with Syngenta Flowers’ Calliope geranium several years ago. Consumers often enjoy discovering something new and different at the garden center and show their appreciation by becoming (or remaining) loyal customers.

3. Fill In The Blanks

Next, consider potential gaps in your product mix. What might be missing? Fruits, vegetables and herbs are hot right now. Be sure these categories are represented in your programs. Think, also, about using them as season extenders. Fall-fruiting items such as late-season raspberries are interesting additions to the home garden; interest in kale is fairly widespread. Cool-season vegetables can work well for both early spring and fall harvests.

In addition to adding new product categories, look for gaps in your existing programs. Is there room to broaden your offer? Take phlox as an example: P. subulata, P. divaricate and P. paniculata all flower at different times, extending your sales window and staggering color peaks in the home perennial garden. The same is true for varieties of iris and peony. Interest peaks when an item is in bloom; be ready with an offering that covers varying bloom times so you’re armed with color whenever the surge hits.

4. Consider The Combos

Now is also the ideal time to plan your mixed containers. If you develop your own custom combo recipes, try mixing perennials and annuals together. Consumers can enjoy the combination during the spring and summer months, then transplant perennial components into the landscape in the fall — some extra bang for their buck. Some varieties of miscanthus, such as ‘Morning Light,’ are well-suited as vertical elements and help keep combos looking great into autumn.

If you use designer mix programs, take full advantage of the ease and efficiency these programs provide. Again, you’ll want to consider what’s working for you now — and what, among the many new mixes for 2015, might captivate your customers. Do they prefer the upscale look of monochromatic mixes? Consider Kwik Kombos The Red Carpet Mix or new Confetti Garden Glossy Grape. Is your sell-through better with bright, high-contrast designs? In that case, try Confetti Garden Waterbury or Kwik Kombos Sour Patch Mix, both new for 2015.

5. Book Now, Beat The Rush

Connect early with your broker sales representative to work through your needs and wants for 2015. Booking early is your best bet to stock up on the basics and secure a spot near the front of the line for limited-availability items, particularly new varieties. It’s also prime time to boost your profit margins by way of early order discounts (EODs). Your broker sales rep is a terrific resource for program development and variety selection, as well, look to him or her for advice on what’s hot and what’s not.

 

Leave a Reply

More From Business Management...
EAGL Graduates

February 22, 2017

Emerging Industry Leaders Earn Business Management Certification

Dr. Charlie Hall, Ellison Chair for International Floriculture at Texas A&M University, recently announced the graduation of the fourth cohort of the elite Executive Academy for Growth & Leadership (EAGL) program for nursery and greenhouse growers.

Read More
2016 Top 100 Growers List

February 18, 2017

Top 100 Growers Survey for 2017 Is Now Open!

Operations with more than 400,000 square feet of environmentally controlled production are eligible to take the survey, which only takes a few minutes to complete.

Read More

February 17, 2017

How to Keep Customers Coming Back With Top-Notch Service

A recent article on Forbes.com outlines seven ways organizations can take their customer service from good to great and beyond.

Read More
Latest Stories
EAGL Graduates

February 22, 2017

Emerging Industry Leaders Earn Business Management Cert…

Dr. Charlie Hall, Ellison Chair for International Floriculture at Texas A&M University, recently announced the graduation of the fourth cohort of the elite Executive Academy for Growth & Leadership (EAGL) program for nursery and greenhouse growers.

Read More
2016 Top 100 Growers List

February 18, 2017

Top 100 Growers Survey for 2017 Is Now Open!

Operations with more than 400,000 square feet of environmentally controlled production are eligible to take the survey, which only takes a few minutes to complete.

Read More

February 17, 2017

How to Keep Customers Coming Back With Top-Notch Servic…

A recent article on Forbes.com outlines seven ways organizations can take their customer service from good to great and beyond.

Read More
Tom Foley, WaterPulse

February 17, 2017

Industry Veteran Tom Foley Discusses His New Role as Vi…

Foley, a greenhouse industry veteran who was most recently with EuroAmerican Propagators, will be responsible for North American sales of WaterPulse’s patent-pending capillary mats and associated irrigation systems to nurseries and growers.

Read More
EuroAmerican Propagators Greenhouses

February 14, 2017

Suppliers Comment on Plant Genetics’ Fate After EuroAme…

Since the operation’s bankruptcy filing on January 23, 2017, suppliers associated with EuroAmerican Propagators have updated Greenhouse Grower on what the operation’s bankruptcy means for them – and how it will impact grower customers.

Read More
Bill Hoffman at Hoffman Nursery

February 14, 2017

Hoffman Nursery Has a New Head Grower

Bill Hall brings more than 30 years of experience to Hoffman. In the past, he has worked for Carolina Nurseries, AG 3, and ArborGen.

Read More
Jaime LeFlem, Pleasant View Gardens

February 10, 2017

Pleasant View Gardens Taps Jaime LeFlem as New Sales Ma…

LeFlem, who will manage Pleasant View’s finished and garden-ready programs, says that despite some market challenges, he still sees plenty of room for growth.

Read More
Janeen Wright

February 9, 2017

Don’t Let Millennials Take GenXers off Your Plant Radar

We’ll miss opportunities to sell plants if we focus on Millennials too much at the expense of other age groups.

Read More
Floriculture Sustainability Initiative Web

January 31, 2017

European Growers Move Forward With Floriculture Sustain…

During IPM Essen, members of the initiative introduced new efforts targeting social environmental standards such as working conditions, water use, and more.

Read More
MANTS

January 30, 2017

MANTS Kicks Off 2017 Growing Season With Record-Breakin…

More than 10,000 people walked through the trade show on the first day of the event, which welcomes growers, retailers, and others to keep up with the latest green industry trends.

Read More

January 25, 2017

59 New Members of Congress Need to Hear from You, SAF S…

Retailers, wholesalers, suppliers, and growers coming to the Society of American Florists' (SAF) 37th Annual Congressional Action Days, March 13-14 in Washington, DC, have a lot of explaining to do. There are 59 new congressmen and senators on Capitol Hill, and this freshmen class needs a lesson about floriculture.

Read More
bouldin-lawson-pro-sticking-line-at-north-creek-nurseries

January 25, 2017

State of the Industry 2017: Growers are Ready to Invest…

Greenhouse Grower's 2017 State of the Industry Survey revealed that grower investment in technology is imminent due to the cost and availability of labor, to improve efficiency, expand their growing operations, and allow employees to concentrate on higher value jobs that are less labor-intensive.

Read More

January 24, 2017

Beekenkamp Plants B.V. to Take Over Marketing Sunny Ost…

Beekenkamp Plants B.V. will take over Sunny Holland B.V.'s marketing activities as of July 1, 2017, and begin offering Sunny Osteospermum to the supply chain.

Read More

January 24, 2017

Growers are an Aging Demographic, 2017 State of the Ind…

Owners and upper management of growing operations in the horticulture industry, not unlike others in agriculture, are aging, according to Greenhouse Grower’s 2017 State of the Industry Survey.

Read More
Biocontrols and beneficials absolutely can be used in outdoor production, with the use of banker plant systems

January 24, 2017

Growers Becoming More Sustainable but Most Think Climat…

Greenhouse Grower's 2017 State of the Industry Survey revealed that growers are adopting biocontrols and organic production, yet 58% of growers said they don't believe humans can control climate change.

Read More

January 24, 2017

State of the Industry Survey Says 2017 Will be a Year o…

Growers, suppliers, and researchers who took Greenhouse Grower’s 2017 State Of The Industry Survey say they are ready to drive change and profitability in horticultural businesses.

Read More
Bee BMPs

January 24, 2017

Here’s a New Guide for Growers on Best Management Pract…

The Horticultural Research Institute, the research foundation of AmericanHort, has released a guide on “Best Management Practices (BMPs) for Bee Health in the Horticultural Industry.”

Read More
Spring Meadow Nursery Fire

January 17, 2017

Two Major Growers Recovering and Rebuilding After Fires

The blazes occurred at Dan Schantz Farm and Greenhouses in Zionsville, PA, and Spring Meadow Nursery in Grand Haven, MI. Both companies say no employees were injured, and they plan to pull together and stay on schedule for the remainder of the year.

Read More