We asked greenhouse growers about the biggest opportunities they capitalized on this spring in our Spring Recap Survey. Here’s a rundown of the top 10 responses.
1. More vegetables and herbs. Whether it was tomatoes, peppers or other vegetables, growers were meeting the need for vegetable plants.
“Understanding the edibles market a little better, we were able to meet demand on most crops,” said one respondent. “Tomato and pepper sales were very strong in our market.”
Others noted strong organic vegetable and herb sales.
2. Hanging baskets. The do-it-for-me gardening item was a success for growers this year. One grower mentioned a hanging basket solution that solved another problem.
“Grew an old-time hanging basket with begonias in substitution for impatiens,” the grower said.
3. More perennials. Some growers reported growing perennials for the first time this year, while others increased their volume produced.
“Four-inch perennials demand was way up,” one grower said. “We reorganized and upped square footage.”
4. Being more in tune with inventory and the market. Growers who were responsive to the shifting timing needs of retailers and consumers were rewarded.
“Our team never gave up and we were creative in how we dealt with the rough early weather,” one respondent said. “Our goal was to not send in unneeded product to our customers with the cold weather. We found other outlets and held our product.”
“When the weather was good, we kept up to the demand,” one respondent said. “We had plants in the stores when demand was highest.”
5. Contract growing. Whether they were growing for another operation or buying in, contract growing was new and successful for several of our survey respondents.
“We bought in some prefinished material from another local grower to complement our selection, saving us time, money and hassle,” one respondent said.
6. Miniature plants/fairy gardening. Several growers mentioned smaller plants for fairy gardening as an opportunity they capitalized on this year.
7. Better marketing. Advertising, eMail and web marketing helped growers improve their businesses.
8. Larger containers. More consumers are looking for instant gratification in the garden, and larger container sizes deliver.
“Larger pot sizes—4-inch to six-inch, 6-inch to 10- and 12-inch, etc. Large sizes were hot!”
9. Increased prices. A few growers noted that increased prices helped them in 2013.
10. Potted plants. Houseplants and flowering potted plants were new ventures that paid off for some growers this year.