Online Only: Alternatives To Dumping Plants

Normal0 falsefalsefalseMicrosoftInternetExplorer4

Don’t grit your teeth just yet. It’s certainly not the most pleasant thought if you’re a wholesale grower or a grower/retailer, but there’s no avoiding the fact something needs to be done with your excess plants once they’ve passed the sellable point.

 

Most times, the unsaleable are likely pitched into a dumpster, stacked onto a compost mountain or tossed into a plant pit somewhere outside your greenhouse. A plant’s life doesn’t have to end because it’s less than perfect, though. Sure, the plant lost its potential to make you a profit, but it still has value in somebody’s garden as a local donation or giveaway – and your good will could indirectly lead to profits later on.

Even if profits won’t be had, your donation is a great promotion of all your products and our entire industry. Just think of all the people who could view your plants in a public garden?

 

 

 

“The best thing would be to take our plants and use them as plants and not turn them into mulch or compost,” says Alan Shapiro, owner of Grandiflora, a wholesale nursery in Gainesville, Fla. “When you see things are getting a little long in the tooth, wouldn’t it be better to have a list of organizations you could call?”

Getting Started
Over the years, Shapiro developed a list of organizations to which he donates. The list includes city, county and regional beautification boards, a botanical garden, parks, churches, schools, universities and charities like Habitat For Humanity, Ronald McDonald House and Hospice.

Shapiro didn’t develop the list overnight. He is, however, constantly asked to donate plants, so he figured it made sense to be proactive and set up a network for people to pick up plants that might otherwise become mulch or compost.

 

“I think all these little donations added together lift the human spirit,” Shapiro says. “It’s not a massive ‘wow’ thing. It’s just a lot of little things that enhance our quality of life.”

Patty Howe, community and public relations manager at Al’s Garden Center and Greenhouses in Oregon, takes the same approach as Shapiro in building a list or organizations willing to take unsaleable plants. Howe has cell phone numbers for everybody on her call list, and she asks each organization to pick up donations within a day or two. Most recipients are eager to comply.


“The good will of donating so far exceeds the option of dumping,” Howe says. “We have a call list, of community gardens, churches and schools around three of our stores, and we’ll share plants that are a little ‘too leggy’ to sell.”

 

Because Howe has developed close ties between Al’s and community organizations, most recipients are even willing to return pots for recycling. There’s also potential for publicity in a local newspaper or TV station, she says.

 

Hooked On A Feeling

For a wholesale grower like Grandiflora, the reward of donating excess or less-than-perfect plants is a good feeling because there’s no tax incentive. For a grower/retailer like Al’s, the reward is that feeling plus the potential of actual future business.

 

Every fall, Al’s grows about 50,000 poinsettias for the Christmas season. Last November, Al’s happened to grow a bumper crop of poinsettias because of fantastic fall weather in Oregon.

Al’s could have attempted to sell the extra 1,000 or so poinsettias that grew, but having budgeted about 50,000 for retail in past years, there was no guarantee the extras would sell at its garden centers. So, rather than push the extras at retail, Al’s decided to build some good will in the community by donating hundreds of poinsettias to Loaves & Fishes Centers that serve seniors with their Meals-On-Wheels program.

“Meals-On-Wheels had a distribution system already in place,” Howe says. “Al’s delivered poinsettias to three of the largest Meals-On-Wheels hubs, and their drivers took a hot lunch in one hand and a poinsettia in the other to more than 800 people in their homes.”

Before poinsettias were handed out, Howe sent a press release about the event to local media. Two TV stations made appearances for local news segments, and one of the stations featured Al’s as its feel-good story of the night to cap the broadcast. Howe says the news anchors even made a couple of unscripted comments at the end of the story saying what a great gesture Al’s donation was.

When To Abandon Ship
As rewarding as donations may be for both parties, growers don’t want to get in the habit of donating sellable plants. You’re in business to sell first, and giveaways should be looked at as a last, yet necessary, resort. Because the consumer’s buying habits rapidly change throughout the year, knowing when to give up is the key to making a profit and building good will.

“If you have pansies in mid-February in Florida, there’s a good chance you’re not going to sell them,” Shapiro says. “Pansies can go on blooming for several months, though, so you would be giving away something that will continue to bring pleasure somebody.

The same goes for begonias in June or poinsettias well into December: Why compost a plant that has potential in a public garden?

Donating obviously isn’t the first approach growers prefer to take, but if plants get to the point of no sale, there’s still the possibility of making impressions on potential customers. It only takes one leggy plant or a leftover Easter lily to make an impression. If you’re a grower/retailer, those impressions build your name. And even if you’re a wholesale grower, a donation could result in the beautification of your community or the start of a lifelong hobby for a rookie gardener.

“The donations go so far,” Howe says. “It’s honestly not that much of an effort and it goes a long way.”

 

Leave a Reply

2 comments on “Online Only: Alternatives To Dumping Plants

  1. Al’s Garden Center has been a great help in donating over grown plants to the Connect Program, which helps drop – out students get their GED and gain Work Experience. We have used many of Al’s flowers in SOLV projects and in our community park that the program adobted for our soft skills work experience. The donations has helped our students not only make our park look great, but also our school!

  2. Al’s Garden Center has been a great help in donating over grown plants to the Connect Program, which helps drop – out students get their GED and gain Work Experience. We have used many of Al’s flowers in SOLV projects and in our community park that the program adobted for our soft skills work experience. The donations has helped our students not only make our park look great, but also our school!

More From Finance/Operations...

April 17, 2015

Sakata Seed Uses California Spring Trials Display Plants To Give Back

Sakata Seed America is putting its post-CAST (California Spring Trials) plants and flowers to good use to support events in local California communities of Salinas and Morgan Hill. The plants, along with donations through Sakata's Charitable Giving Program, will support three fun-filled community events that promote healthy lifestyles and support the agricultural industry.

Read More
Hakonochloa macra Aureola v

April 17, 2015

Ornamental Grasses — A Few Thoughts

Grasses have been embraced by growers, landscape architects and retailers, and are an important component in wholesale and resale sales. Allan Armitage shares some popular grasses, one to avoid and a few to use with caution.

Read More
PW_CAST15

April 17, 2015

Allan Armitage’s Favorite Plants From Proven Winners, Syngenta And Danziger

Between visiting California Spring Trial giants like Proven Winners, Syngenta and Danziger, Allan Armitage saw a lot of great plants in one day. Despite the size of the challenge, Dr. Armitage finds a few favorites he thinks you should try.

Read More
Latest Stories
Syngenta logo

April 15, 2015

Syngenta Names Chris Freeman Senior Key Account Manager…

Chris Freeman is the new senior key account manager for Syngenta Flowers, Home & Garden's Commercial Sales business in the Americas, effective March 2015. Freeman, who joined Syngenta in 2006, carries more than 25 years of experience in the agriculture and floriculture business.

Read More
Lake Buchanan_LCRA

April 10, 2015

USDA Designates Areas Of West And Southwest As Drought …

The ongoing drought has resulted in disaster area designations in counties across nine Western and Southwestern states, including Texas, where some reservoirs are at or near historically low levels.

Read More

April 9, 2015

Altman Plants’ Online Cactus Shop Shows Strong Sa…

Altman Plants recently opened its new Cactus Shop, an online retail store that sells a variety of cactus and succulents. The store is a take-off of Altman’s original wholesale business, as the company started as a mail order catalog.

Read More
Dummen

April 8, 2015

Dümmen Group Welcomes Jim Devereux And Andrew Konicki T…

Dümmen group recently announced the addition of Jim Devereux and Andrew Konicki to its team. They are the newest members of the Key Account and Broker Support team for Dümmen, and will be responsible for building, developing and maintaining current broker and grower customer relationships.

Read More
Gov._Jerry_Brown_California

April 8, 2015

California Institutes First Ever Statewide Mandatory Wa…

California Gov. Jerry Brown announced April 1 that, for the first time in state history, action will be taken to implement mandatory water restrictions, with the ultimate goal of reducing water usage by 25 percent. As Californians are pushed to conserve more, growers will need to think about how demand for products will be affected.

Read More
DNA-logo

March 31, 2015

DNA Green Group Will Acquire Rijnplant

DNA Green Group and Riknplant have finalized DNA Green Group's acquisition of Rijnplant, meaning that the breeding and propagation activities in pot and cut anthurium, bougainvillea and heliconia will transfer to DNA Green Group.

Read More
AFE scholarship_Ryan Dickson

March 25, 2015

AFE Educational Grant And Scholarship Application Deadl…

Apply now for American Floral Endowment (AFE) scholarships or educational grants. Applications can be found online. For educational grants for 2015-2016, applications must be submitted no later than June 1. Scholarship applications are due May 1. AFE will award $40,000 in scholarships for 2015.

Read More

March 23, 2015

UF/IFAS Appoints Joseph Albano As Director Of Mid-Flori…

The University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) has a new directors for its Mid-Florida Research and Education Center (REC) on Apopka, Fla. The role has been filled by Joseph Albano, a research horticulturist from the U.S. Department of Agriculture with more than 25 years of experience.

Read More

March 17, 2015

Pike Nurseries Implements Employee Stock Ownership Plan

Independent garden retailer Pike Nurseries has announced it will become an employee-owned company. Pike Nurseries management has combined with its sister corporation in California, Armstrong Garden Centers, to operate under an established Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP).

Read More
GrowIt! App Wins Gold At Design100 2014 US Mobile & App Design Awards

March 10, 2015

GrowIt! Mobile App Now Available For Android

The mobile app GrowIt! Garden Socially can now be used by gardeners with Android-based smartphones. Now available on the Google Play Market, GrowIt! helps users find plants to fit their lifestyle and connect them with other local gardeners.

Read More

March 4, 2015

Second Annual GreenhouseConnect Will Bring Growers and …

Following a successful inaugural event in Tampa last fall, Greenhouse Grower has announced the dates of its second annual GreenhouseConnect: October 26-29, 2015. Representatives of an expected two dozen leading greenhouse operations from across the U.S. will join senior-level suppliers at Rancho Bernardo Inn in San Diego for several days of one-on-one strategic meetings, a growers-only roundtable, informational sessions and a variety of networking events.

Read More

March 4, 2015

Maryland Green Industry Associations Unite

The Maryland Nursery and Landscape Association recently announced that it is expanding its reach to include the greenhouse industry, meaning it has become The Maryland Nursery, Landscape and Greenhouse Association (MNLGA). The change comes as a result of the planned dissolution of the former Maryland Greenhouse Growers Association and the invitation for those members to join the existing and renamed association.

Read More
IPPS Sharing Plant Production Knowledge Globally Logo

February 25, 2015

International Plant Propagators Western Region Sets Ann…

The annual meet for the International Plant Propagators' Society (IPPS) Western Region has been set for this September. It will take place September 23 to 26 in Modesto, Calif., and will include learning sessions, tours to local nurseries, a research poster display and poster presentations, various networking opportunities and an awards banquet to close the event.

Read More
myers industries Lawn and Garden Logo

February 24, 2015

Myers Industries, Inc. Lawn And Garden Business Sold, N…

The management of Myers Lawn and Garden Group, along with Wingate Partners V, L.P. have recently acquired the Myers Industries, Inc. Lawn and Garden business. The new company is named The HC Companies, and will continue as a North American leading provider of horticulture containers supplying the greenhouse, nursery and retail markets.

Read More
american-hort-logo

February 17, 2015

AmericanHort Announces New Board Members

AmericanHort recently announced the election of new officers and members to the board of directors. Each will assume their positions on the board during Cultivate’15, July 11 to 14 in Columbus, Ohio.

Read More
All American Selections

February 17, 2015

All-America Selections Elects New Officers, Names New J…

While meeting during the Flower and Vegetable Seed Conference in Tampa, Fla., hosted by the American Seed Trade Association, All-America Selections elected new officers for a two-year term. Read on to learn about the new officers, as well as all of the new judges that were added in 2014.

Read More
Greenhouse Grower.com on your desktop, on your phone, on your tablet

February 11, 2015

GreenhouseGrower.com Relaunches With Responsive Design …

Greenhouse Grower magazine, the nation’s leader in profits, production and education for greenhouse growers, announces the launch of its completely redesigned website, GreenhouseGrower.com. The new design is the product of direct user feedback and GreenhouseGrower.com analytics, and includes responsive design for ease of mobile use.

Read More
Andy Higgins

February 3, 2015

MasterTag Names Andy Higgins As Its New President

Former CEO and president of Ecke Ranch, Andy Higgins, joins MasterTag as its new president. He brings more than two decades of industry experience to the position.

Read More