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...
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

January 10, 2017

5 Can’t-Miss Events and Activities at TPIE

The Florida Nursery, Growers and Landscape Association’s Tropical Plant Industry Exposition (TPIE) is fast approaching. As you plan your trip, here are five can’t-miss highlights from this year’s show.

Read More
sakata-tour-de-fresh-salad-bar-donation

January 8, 2017

Sakata’s Participation in Tour de Fresh Race Results in New Elementary School Salad Bar

On the heels of riding in the Tour de Fresh Race in July, Allen Satterlee of Sakata Seed America celebrated by presenting a new salad bar to Galt Elementary School in California.

Read More
Latest Stories
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

January 10, 2017

5 Can’t-Miss Events and Activities at TPIE

The Florida Nursery, Growers and Landscape Association’s Tropical Plant Industry Exposition (TPIE) is fast approaching. As you plan your trip, here are five can’t-miss highlights from this year’s show.

Read More
sakata-tour-de-fresh-salad-bar-donation

January 8, 2017

Sakata’s Participation in Tour de Fresh Race Results in…

On the heels of riding in the Tour de Fresh Race in July, Allen Satterlee of Sakata Seed America celebrated by presenting a new salad bar to Galt Elementary School in California.

Read More
griffin-aurora-colorado-branch

January 6, 2017

Griffin Opening New Hard-Goods-Focused Distribution Cen…

The planned February opening of the 18,500 square-foot facility is part of the company’s continued expansion into the Western U.S.

Read More
gg-january-2017-cover-arizonaeast-feature

January 5, 2017

Why ArizonaEast Is Expanding Its Succulent Production T…

In Greenhouse Grower's January cover story, learn how Brian and Joe Vitale of ArizonaEast saw a chance to expand and diversify their New Jersey-based succulent operation, and why they jumped at the opportunity.

Read More
Moana plant yard

January 4, 2017

Green Industry Poised for Continued Economic Growth in …

Positive economic indicators point to 2017 being a year of modest growth for the green industry, according to economist Charlie Hall.

Read More

January 3, 2017

Growing Optimism for the Horticulture Industry in 2017

With a new administration and a new Congress, AmericanHort's Craig Regelbrugge says the horticulture industry has reason to be cautiously optimistic that regulatory relief could be on the horizon.

Read More
2016-student-competition-award-winners

January 3, 2017

Southern Nursery Association Research Conference Procee…

On the heels of presenting awards to students in the horticulture industry, the Southern Nursery Association has compiled and published its conference research proceedings.

Read More
Farwest Show Floor

December 31, 2016

Farwest Show 2017 Will Feature New Days and Hours

The 2017 Farwest Show will take place Wednesday, Aug. 23 through Friday, Aug. 25, to allow attendees more time to visit local hot spots.

Read More
kelly-norris

December 29, 2016

Kelly Norris: 4 Ways We’re Leaving Growth Opportunities…

Horticulture is a multi-million dollar industry with lots to offer, yet we’re still overlooking several avenues for growth.

Read More
Top 100 Breakfast Panel for 2016

December 27, 2016

You Said It: The Best Quotes From 2016

Some of the industry’s leading growers and educators had strong things to say this year. Here’s a look at some of the most memorable quotes from 2016.

Read More

December 27, 2016

5 Photo Galleries You Didn’t Dare Miss in 2016

Whether it was industry event and trade show highlights or new developments in technology, these images not only spoke more than a thousand words; they drew thousands of clicks, as well.

Read More

December 27, 2016

Check Out the Top 5 Most-Read News Stories on Greenhous…

From pest outbreaks to overtime rule changes, here are the headlines that grabbed your attention in 2016.

Read More
Grow Summit 2016 group shot

December 20, 2016

Less Talk, More Action At Greenhouse Grower’s GRO…

Investing in technology, developing new marketing solutions, and recruiting young growers were just a few of the issues covered at GROW Summit 2016.

Read More
Workers are required to wear uniforms and use tools restricted to the section of the facility where they work, and street clothes are prohibited

December 16, 2016

House Failure To Address H-2B Exemption Could Affect Sp…

Despite efforts by AmericanHort and others in the industry, the House of Representatives failed to renew the Returning Worker Exemption, a policy that helps ensure that small and seasonal businesses have an adequate workforce for the peak spring season.

Read More
americanhort-hort-scholars

December 15, 2016

HortScholars Program Is Open For 2017 Applications

Presented by AmericanHort, the program is open to students in a horticulture-related degree program, and recipients will have exclusive opportunities for in-depth discussions with industry leaders at Cultivate’17.

Read More
North Creek Nurseries Bright Young Talent

December 13, 2016

Emergent Networking Event On Deck At MANTS 2017

Emergent, the collective group of young horticulture professionals who represent the next generation of growing, will host a reception on Wednesday, Jan. 11, after the MANTS tradeshow floor closes.

Read More
bailey-nurseries-veterans-workforce

December 13, 2016

How Bailey Nurseries Navigates The H-2A Program

Joe Bailey, Human Resources Director at Bailey Nurseries says each operation has to analyze their situation and decide for themselves if the H-2A program is right for them.

Read More