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...
Laura Drotleff

December 6, 2016

Are You Driving Young Growers Away? [Opinion]

In a time when the industry is facing a critical shortage of both labor and skilled, educated growers, it's important that grower operations don't unwittingly turn candidates off to a career at their business or in the industry in general. Take a closer look at your hiring practices to ensure you are being inclusive and not breaking any laws.

Read More

December 6, 2016

America In Bloom Moves Forward With New Management Company

Effective Jan. 1, 2017, management of America In Bloom will transition from AmericanHort to Second Wind Management, which is owned by long-time AIB Executive Director Laura Kunkle.

Read More
bailey-nurseries-team-feature

December 5, 2016

How Bailey Nurseries Has Found Solutions To The Labor Shortage

A changing seasonal workforce led this Minnesota-based company to explore new labor sources through the H-2A program and refugee organizations, and it’s working out for the better.

Read More
Latest Stories
Laura Drotleff

December 6, 2016

Are You Driving Young Growers Away? [Opinion]

In a time when the industry is facing a critical shortage of both labor and skilled, educated growers, it's important that grower operations don't unwittingly turn candidates off to a career at their business or in the industry in general. Take a closer look at your hiring practices to ensure you are being inclusive and not breaking any laws.

Read More

December 6, 2016

America In Bloom Moves Forward With New Management Comp…

Effective Jan. 1, 2017, management of America In Bloom will transition from AmericanHort to Second Wind Management, which is owned by long-time AIB Executive Director Laura Kunkle.

Read More
bailey-nurseries-team-feature

December 5, 2016

How Bailey Nurseries Has Found Solutions To The Labor S…

A changing seasonal workforce led this Minnesota-based company to explore new labor sources through the H-2A program and refugee organizations, and it’s working out for the better.

Read More
Trays move on an overhead conveyor to the end of the production line, where workers carefully pack the cleaned, sized, graded, counted and sorted Calla tubers

November 29, 2016

Texas Judge Halts Overtime Rule; Here’s What It Means F…

According to Craig Regelbrugge at AmericanHort, the injunction against the overtime rule is welcome news for horticulture.

Read More
griffin-andrea-nelson-and-bill-watson

November 22, 2016

Griffin Adds Two Industry Veterans To Its Sales Team

Bill Watson and Andrea Nelson, the newest members of Griffin, answer questions about the state of the horticulture industry, and their role in moving it forward.

Read More

November 21, 2016

How Building New Markets Can Reduce Dependency On Your …

Greenhouse Grower Editor Laura Drotleff says a smart and sustainable business goes beyond boundaries to create more demand outside of traditional channels.

Read More
griffin-expo

November 11, 2016

Griffin Announces Dates For Its 2017 Grower & Retai…

The events will take place Aug. 23-24 in Massachusetts, and Sept. 27-28 in Pennsylvania.

Read More

November 8, 2016

AmericanHort Hosting Lean Flow-Focused Webinar On Novem…

The webinar is the first in a series that will cover how Lean Flow affects your marketing, your customers, and your product offerings.

Read More
oregon-lean-flow

November 8, 2016

Oregon Nursery Lean Consortium Welcomes New Grower Memb…

The Oregon Nursery Lean Consortium, which helps the horticulture industry learn and apply Lean principles, is inviting greenhouse and nursery growers — and their suppliers — to join its 2017 program.

Read More
Great Lakes Expo

November 7, 2016

Greenhouse Growers Expo Will Focus On Improving Plant Q…

Sessions at the Greenhouse Growers Expo, which takes place in Grand Rapids, MI, in December, will focus on maintaining and increasing plant quality through successful rooting of cuttings, disease and pest management, and plant disorder diagnostics.

Read More
hoffman-nursery-owners

November 7, 2016

Hoffman Nursery Embarks On New Opportunities In Green I…

Thirty years ago, John and Jill Hoffman set off on an epic adventure to grow ornamental grasses. Today, Hoffman Nursery continues to evolve, and through its leadership, the operation is helping to secure a position for horticulture on one of the next great frontiers — green infrastructure.

Read More
urban-crops-pieter-de-smedt-and-maarten-vandecruys

November 3, 2016

Belgium-Based Vertical Farming Specialist Urban Crops O…

The opening of the new office in Miami, FL, is part of a continued expansion plan for the company, which creates tailored growth structures that are turnkey, automated, robotized, and able to be integrated into existing production facilities.

Read More
giving-tuesday

November 3, 2016

American Floral Endowment Once Again Joins Giving Tuesd…

On Tuesday, Nov. 29, floral industry supporters are encouraged to make a tax-deductible, year-end donation to AFE to help it continue providing benefits for all segments of the industry.

Read More
americanhort-plug-and-cutting-conference-2016

November 1, 2016

AmericanHort’s Plug And Cutting Conference Tackles Bioc…

The event included a grower tour, biocontrols workshop, and educational sessions focused on water management, labor, pest and disease control, and smart production strategies for great plug quality.

Read More
2015 GROW Summit_discussion shot

October 28, 2016

How We Can Inspire Millennials To Get Involved In Horti…

By uniting our efforts, we can attract new generations of growers and consumers to the horticulture industry, starting when they are young.

Read More
americann-cannabis-facility-in-massachusetts

October 27, 2016

Large Cannabis Greenhouse On The Horizon In Massachuset…

A Colorado company is preparing to build the largest marijuana greenhouse in Massachusetts, a sprawling, high-tech complex that could eventually expand to nearly 1 million square feet, depending on whether voters in the state approve the sale of marijuana for recreational use in November.

Read More
The tradeshow at the Cannabis Business Summit & Expo — outside of the occasional 1960s vibe, perhaps — would feel familiar to most growers

October 26, 2016

Las Vegas Will Host Two Premier Cannabis Events In Nove…

The Marijuana Business Conference And Expo and the World Of Cannabis Summit each take place in mid-November.

Read More
Cannabis Close Up

October 26, 2016

Cannabis Growers Try To Become More Sustainable

As cannabis production continues to increase in some areas, one question seems to be coming up more and more: What is the most sustainable way to grow cannabis?

Read More
[gravityform id="35" title="false" description="false"]