Industry Pulse: Your Expectations For Spring

Please provide us with any additional comments or observations about your expectations for spring.

Plants make people happy so they will still buy them.

Some farmers are closing their operation because nutrients are very expensive.

Our seed sales are already up 15 percent at least year to date. I would expect veggie plant sales to be through the roof.

As a supplier, I see growers being very cautious with the size and breadth of crop they are producing. As we have seen many times and tend to forget, this is the biggest hobby in the country. I believe the average consumer may spend a little less on the upper-end items, but veggies and seed may sell at unprecedented levels.

We are very, very cautiously optimistic. If anything gives the consumer an excuse not to buy, watch out.

Vegetable and fruit plants should do as well or better. So should the smaller pots of annuals and/or perennials. I anticipate slower sales for broad landscaping, especially using the large potted and balled plants and trees.

Too many growers have scaled back and will miss opportunities.

Think positive and you will radiate positive thoughts to your customers. Worry and they will worry.

I think more consumers are going to look local for their flowers and vegetables.

Spring weather will have some influence on sales as well. This will be a challenging year, but we expect the outlook to improve in 2010.

Our gut feeling is that if the weather is good, people will buy flowers.
This spring is all about unemployment. If you sell in an area of high unemployment, then sales will suffer. If you sell in an area with low unemployment, sales will be pretty good.

The key is weather. It always has been and always will be. Many other factors come into play, but they are mainly controllable or manageable. Weather is something we just hope works in our favor.

I’m very concerned about spring sales. We do three farmers’ markets and sales were off on all three. Fall mums sales were not that great. Where in 2007 people would buy three mums at a time, in 2008 they would buy only one. We also have a gift shop and sales have been in free fall since last year. So, I really don’t see things turning around all that much. I do hope I’m wrong.

Sunny weekends can improve a sluggish economy in this industry. Anybody know how to make these happen?

We typically do better in a down economy. People can’t afford to travel, so they stay home and work in the yard.

I have to be more alert to my customers and be flexible enough to accommodate them.

There is a large decrease in sales to smaller sizes and quantities. Most of my sales are to more upscale people, as they seem to be the only ones with disposable income to spend.

It’s hard to know what to think. Are we really recession proof, as we like to say? I guess we’re about to find out. About 50 percent of our spring business is with landscape contractors. From what they tell us, they will see a significant drop in new, large installations and are being asked to sharpen the pencils on maintenance. We have been approached to do the same with our prices, which is tough because many of our inputs continue to go up. Our hope is that color sales will hold their own, and we will be adding vegetables. But I don’t know overall how much they can push sales.

If we get good weather this spring, we believe we will have a good season despite the questionable economy.

We must all try harder to connect with the public and our regular customers to bring them back into our business and give them a great reason to shop with us.

I think with things getting tight people will get back to basics, do more vegetables and beautify their homes.

Bad spring weather will bring disaster to our business. Flat sales at mass marketers will hurt and that (flat sales or decreasing) seems to be the early trend.

Customers are delaying orders of products as long as possible and then ordering smaller quantities of product. Cash flow seems to be a very high concern of growers.

Even if the economy was to make a quick turnaround, the weather will be the single-most important stimulus package we can get. Good weather means more customer traffic and increased sales.

Early customers seem unconcerned with price.

We’re gearing up as we always have in the past – get as much as we can packed in our houses, because when it is all said and done, it will be the weather that will determine the way spring plays out.

If all you hear is that you are sick, you will be sick. We need to be realistic but at the same time we need to give hope to the general public. We need more consumer attention to our colorful products.

Our wholesale business has decreased the past two years as more small florists in the area have closed or gone to cheaper product shipped in from larger growers out of state. They have not found their niche. On the other hand, we’ve seen our retail business continue to increase based on word of mouth of our quality and uniqueness. Our winter has been tough, so as long as weather in May is good, we believe customers will be out to get color and celebrate the end of winter.

You can only sell from a full cart, so let us get on with the show. No one can predict the weather, as we can predict what will sell and what will not. We all have to think positive, and adjust to the times and conditions ahead.

In California, we are facing three challenges: Three years of below average rainfall, the national economy and a state budget shortfall of $46 billion.

Recessions historically have been periods of opportunity and growth for us. We feel fortunate we do not have a housing crisis in Canada. While the ongoing train wreck that is the automotive sector will cost many blue-collar jobs, they are typically not garden center shoppers.

Mine is a small roadside greenhouse. We dad a 500 percent increase in vegetable plant sales in 2008. I am hopeful for further increase in 2009.

Consumers won’t find everything they are looking for in plants. There’s a shortage of the good stuff.

I expect more in 4 ½ -inch annuals, flats of veggies and planters and baskets larger than 12 inches.

for full results of our Industry Pulse spring survey.

Leave a Reply

More From State of the Industry...
Delphinium 'Guardian Lavender' (Kieft Seed)

October 7, 2015

National Garden Bureau Names Four Crops For 2016 “Year Of The” Program

The National Garden Bureau announced four crop selections for its 2016 "Year Of The" program. New this year is the addition of a bulb crop class and a video created especially for the edibles class.

Read More

October 7, 2015

Ball FloraPlant Eliminates Neonicotinoid Use On Its Offshore Cuttings Farms

Ball FloraPlant has announced its offshore cuttings farms did not use neonicotinoid-based pest management chemicals during its spring crop production last shipping season, and will continue to be neonic free this year. Instead, the company and its greenhouse managers have relied on alternative means to supply insect-free cuttings to its global customer base.

Read More
Nemasys And Millenium Beneficial Nematodes from BASFm_Nematodes

October 7, 2015

How BASF’s UK Biological Production Facility Expansion Affects U.S. Growers

BASF has expanded its biologicals production facility in Littlehampton, UK. The new capacity increases the company’s ability to double the production of beneficial nematodes and inoculants.

Read More
Latest Stories

October 6, 2015

NASA Scientists To Discuss Indoor Agriculture Innovatio…

The University of Arizona’s Controlled Environmental Agriculture Center (CEAC) will host Dr. Jacklyn Green, CEO and founder of Agate Biosciences, and Dr. Roger Kern, president and founder of Agate Biosciences: Science & Systems Engineering, on October 30, as part of its seminar series. Both Green and Kern are former NASA scientists and engineers, and they will discuss their continuing efforts to develop technology and seek innovations to address issues concerning urban indoor agriculture, with a potential for application on Mars. Through the creation of Agate Biosciences LLC, Kern and Green have turned their attention to earth-bound issues of food production, to provide advanced technologies for plant nutrition, biosecurity and the undertaking of scientifically based research in greenhouse design and controls systems, and in plant health under controlled environment agriculture. A recent NASA news release reports that the Mars Rover 2020 mission is planned to deliver an extensive array of instruments designed to explore the habitability […]

Read More

September 23, 2015

Cultivate’15 Session Reveals How To Attract Young…

A dynamic discussion during Cultivate’15 between growers, horticulture professors and both current students and recent graduates, provided some insight on how grower operations can attract the next generation of growers, and what’s important to make them stay once you hire them. The session, “Attracting the Next Generation of Industry Professionals,” featured a panel including Dr. Peg McMahon of The Ohio State University’s Horticulture and Crop Science Department, Dr. Marvin Miller of Ball Horticultural Co., Dr. Brian Jackson from North Carolina State University’s Department of Horticulture, Lloyd Traven of Peace Tree Farm, Douglas Schuster of Kingwood Center and Courtney Crawford of Millcreek Gardens. The preface for the session is something many industry professionals have lamented for years now — enrollment in college horticulture programs is dropping, and university programs are losing funds or disappearing. Much of this may be attributed to the perception among potential students and their parents that horticulture means […]

Read More
Florensis Kenya has developed a scouting app, which provides near real-time data from the field and makes crop protection interventions even more effective, says Robbert Hamer

September 8, 2015

Global Suppliers Of Unrooted Cuttings Raise Standards T…

Consolidation isn’t a new thing among breeders and this year, it has changed things up yet again. For most cuttings producers, consolidation also means more competition, and raises the standards for high-quality plants and reliable supply. “As the number of independent production locations goes down, it becomes more obvious that breeders will try to take production into their own hands,” says Beekenkamp’s Martijn Kuiper. But for independent producers, consolidation means both new opportunities and new challenges. “There is a demand to work with independent companies, but also a threat that certain breeders are getting blocked by being part of the consolidation,” says Andreas Kientzler of Kientzler North America and Innovaplant de Costa Rica. Ball FloraPlant President Allan Davidson says, “Consolidation means there are fewer decisionmakers, though this has both positive and negative implications. Consolidation and larger businesses also mean that in many cases, shipment sizes have grown.” Reading The Rankings […]

Read More
Christina Salwitz 2014_featured

August 12, 2015

Christina Salwitz Says Women Bring A Unique Perspective…

Garden writer Christina Salwitz is a powerhouse in the industry. She is an expert container designer, works at an independent garden center and runs her own blog. Salwitz is active on social media, and she fights for the industry’s ability to stay autonomous from the big box stores. Most importantly, Salwitz stands out in a field of garden industry people as a design and color specialist who can bring something brilliant and unique to the end consumer. Her garden design business, established in 1998, started with landscaping, then evolved into container design because of increased demand for her unique and color-filled designs. Salwitz continues to work at an independent garden center in order to connect directly with the consumer. She also evolved and expanded her business by blogging, authoring books such as “Fine Foliage” with co-author Karen Chapman, and concentrating on horticultural photography. Demand grew for her work, and by March 2014 her designs were […]

Read More

August 7, 2015

Cannabis Producer Solstice Provides Insight To Greenhou…

To gain some real-world insight about what it takes to produce and sell cannabis, and some of the challenges and roadblocks involved, Greenhouse Grower reached out to Solstice, a producer and processor of cannabis for medical and adult use in Washington state. Alex Cooley, the co-founder and vice president of Solstice, gave us an exclusive interview, and answered the following questions to give greenhouse growers a glimpse into different aspects involved in cannabis production. Visit the Solstice website or follow Solstice on Twitter @SolsticeGrown for more information. Greenhouse Grower (GG): First, let’s get to know you. Could you tell us some background about Solstice and how it got started? Alex Cooley: We started Solstice in 2011 to help legitimize the medical cannabis marketplace by providing consistent, lab-tested cannabis of high quality and creating the state’s first cultivation brand. It was started by myself and two other partners, Will Denman and […]

Read More

July 29, 2015

2015 Spring Crops Report: Rain Soaks Spring Sales

Rain, rain and more rain. That was the story this spring for the large majority of growers across the U.S. And where it wasn’t too wet, it was too dry. Drought conditions cut sales in the West and Southwest. But it wasn’t all bad. Eighty-nine percent of respondents to Greenhouse Grower’s 2015 Spring Crops Survey declared the season a success, despite its challenges. They said beautiful weather in April and excited consumers who were ready to spend got the season going early, but then cool temps and rainy weekends throughout May and June caused confusion over when and how much to plant. Of the 189 respondents to Greenhouse Grower’s 2015 Spring Recap Survey, 53 percent identified themselves as grower-retailers, 34 percent were wholesale growers and 13 percent said they were young plant growers. Most responses came from the Midwest (27 percent), Northeast (18 percent) and Southeast (16 percent), but also […]

Read More

July 17, 2015

Young Plant Survey: Do You Grow Plugs And Liners?

If your operation produces plugs or liners for wholesale growers, please take a few minutes to participate in Greenhouse Grower’s 2015 Young Plant Grower Survey. We know you are very busy and we value your time and input. This survey should only take a few minutes. Greenhouse Grower’s Young Plant Grower Survey has played a key role in building our Top 20 Young Plant Growers list over the years. The information helps us zero in on trends taking shape and the challenges you’re facing as young plant growers. If you have any questions about this survey or you are not the right contact for this at your operation, please email me at, or please forward the survey link to the appropriate person. We would like to wrap up this survey by July 24, so please take it soon! Thank you in advance for your participation. We value your opinion! » […]

Read More

July 15, 2015

Cultivate’15 Town Hall Meeting: Not Your Grandma&…

Young and innovative industry minds threw down ideas about future of gardening in the new millennium at the Cultivate’15 Town Hall Meeting. Traditionally one of the most innovative, captivating, controversial, edge-of-your-seat, interesting discussions at the whole show, this year’s Town Hall Meeting was no exception. The set up for this discussion addressed the radical change within the world of horticulture over the past decade, due to economics, demographics, technology, retail competition and the redefinition of gardening. The premise: Change cannot be ignored, and our old strategies won’t win us the game anymore. This session acted as a “callback” to the drawing board to determine what gardening actually means to consumers, how the horticulture industry needs to respond to meet the demands of the new millennium and the consequences that may result if we don’t. The esteemed panel included some of the brightest young and innovative minds in horticulture: Brienne Arthur of […]

Read More
BeeSmart logo

July 7, 2015

Grow Wise, Bee Smart Website Launches As Industry Resou…

The new Grow Wise, Bee Smart website,,  was recently launched as a key component of the horticulture industry’s Bee and Pollinator Stewardship Initiative, which was created to provide leadership and guidance to the industry on pollinator health. The site serves as the communications hub for the latest research and developments related to the role horticulture plays in supporting pollinator health. Grow Wise, Bee Smart currently features information on the importance of bees and pollinators, threats to their health and steps everyone can take to improve habitat and forage. Links to the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge and Pollinator Partnership further guide retail and landscape firms and their customers on how to plant and register new gardens and habitats for pollinators. As the Grow Wise, Bee Smart stewardship program for plant production is launched, and as funded and directed research yields results and guidance, the site will feature timely new information and insights. Progress […]

Read More

June 30, 2015

Opportunities Abound For Women In Horticulture, Says Do…

My love for horticulture goes back to my grandparents who were farmers in upstate New York. My family’s involvement in agriculture left a lasting impression that has spanned decades, and still drives my passion for our industry today. I started my career in horticulture when I owned a greenhouse, nursery and garden center in Sayville, Long Island, N.Y. We specialized in ground cover production, later branching out to producing perennials and bedding plants.     I then went onto wholesale hard goods distribution. In the 1980s, I was the first woman salesperson on Long Island. What an eye opener that was! New York is a very special place, different from anywhere else in the country. You cannot imagine how difficult it was walking into greenhouses and nurseries as a woman, in a man’s world. Luckily, I grew up in New York City in an Italian family, who taught me great […]

Read More

June 10, 2015

Women In Horticulture Should Celebrate Their Difference…

Maria Costa-Smith, executive vice president at Costa Farms in Miami, Fla., says she believes in equal treatment for equal work. She encourages women in horticulture to work hard, be team players, perform beyond expectations and add value to their organizations. Fulfilling Her Dreams Maria Costa-Smith grew up in the horticulture industry, and never doubted that she wanted a career in ornamental horticulture. Part of a family with a history steeped in agriculture, her grandfather, Jose Costa, was a farmer in Cuba, who sent her father, Tony Costa, to the University of Florida just before the Cuban Revolution to study agriculture. When the family uprooted in 1961 and fled to the U.S., they began growing tomatoes and citrus on a 30-acre plot of land in Miami, and soon after expanded into ornamentals. Thus, Costa Farms was established. Working on the farm with her father and grandfather, Costa-Smith says she was always […]

Read More
Pollinator-Conference-NC State

June 10, 2015

Experts Convene to Discuss How to Protect Bees, Other P…

A new conference organized by North Carolina State University (NC State) and Michigan State University (MSU) will focus on the need for bee-friendly ornamental landscapes and practical solutions for protecting bees and other pollinators. This autumn, researchers, educators and industry experts from around the country will descend on a small town in rural North Carolina to discuss a question with repercussions for both the economy and the environment: what can be done to protect bees and other pollinators? The conference is focused specifically on what can be done to not only conserve but also bolster pollinator populations in so-called ornamental landscapes, such as urban areas and manicured gardens. It is the brain child of two entomologists – Steve Frank of NC State and David Smitley of MSU. With pollinator declines in the news, public demand for bee-friendly ornamental plants is high, but much of the available research has addressed pesticides and […]

Read More
Terri McEnaney Bailey Nurseries headshot_featured

June 3, 2015

Bailey Nurseries’ Terri McEnaney Recognized By Mi…

Bailey Nurseries President Terri McEnaney was recently honored by the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal in their Women in Business 2015 special issue. Those honored were chosen for the impact they have had on the business community in Minnesotoa, as well as their dedication to serving their community. McEnaney was honored for her leadership in growing the company significantly in terms of revenue, staff, global reach and brand development, as well as her strategic acumen and industry insight. Other honorees included executives from U.S. Bancorp, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Gilette Children’s Specialty Healthcare, the American Cancer Society, Cargill, 3M and Wells Fargo. “I am humbled to receive this honor from the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal,” McEnaney says. “To be among this group of esteemed women is exciting. Seeing successful female leaders in other male-driven industries pushes me to continue working and encouraging women in horticulture to grow their passion into a long-term, fruitful career.” […]

Read More

June 3, 2015

Take Greenhouse Grower’s 2015 Spring Recap Survey

Please take a few minutes to answer Greenhouse Grower’s 2015 Spring Recap Survey. Your input will help us get a firmer grasp on how spring played out for growers and what we can expect in Spring 2015.

Read More
Bee on a Sedum

June 3, 2015

The Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Launches With U…

The National Pollinator Garden Network (NPGN) launched the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge on June 3, just in time for National Pollinator Week, held June 21-25. The Million Pollinator Garden Challenge is a strategic effort to promote and protect the needs of pollinators in North America. Representatives of the recently formed Network joined First Lady Michelle Obama on June 3 for an event that’s part of her “Let’s Move” Initiative at the White House, to formally launch the Challenge. The launch of the Challenge is an unprecedented collaboration by dozens of conservation and gardening organizations, including green industry associations like AmericanHort, America in Bloom, Society of American Florists, American Floral Endowment, the National Garden Bureau and the American Horticultural Society. The organizations joined together to form the National Pollinator Garden Network and launch the new nationwide campaign – the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge. Designed to accelerate growing efforts across America, the Network is launching the […]

Read More
Status of Marijuana US Map May 2015

May 29, 2015

Marijuana Legalization Updates

As of April 2015, 23 states and the District of Columbia (D.C.) currently have laws legalizing marijuana in some capacity. At the federal level, several bills are currently awaiting action. Here is an update on current state and federal marijuana legislation across the U.S.

Read More
cannabis, marijuana plant

May 29, 2015

Making The Decision To Produce Medical Marijuana

Should horticultural growers consider cultivating medical marijuana? That’s up to the individual grower, of course, and certainly a number of growers already have jumped in. We at Meister Media Worldwide, publishers of Greenhouse Grower and American Vegetable Grower, do not necessarily endorse nor oppose the production of medical marijuana. But we do feel it is an option worth exploring. We intend our “Medical Marijuana” series of articles to give you information you need to make your own call. We hope you find it useful, and we do welcome your comments, thoughts and ideas as we continue to cover what we’re fairly certain is only going to be an increasingly viable and growing market for this emerging crop.

Read More

May 27, 2015

California Growers To Voluntarily Cut Back Water Use

Farmers in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta have agreed to reduce their water use by 25 percent in exchange for assurance that they will not face further curtailment during the June-September growing season. The proposal was approved by the State Water Resources Control Board on Friday, May 22. “This proposal helps Delta growers manage the risk of potentially deeper curtailment, while ensuring significant water conservation efforts in this fourth year of drought,” State Water Board Chair Felicia Marcus says. “It allows participating growers to share in the sacrifice that people throughout the state are facing because of the severe drought, while protecting their economic well-being by giving them some certainty regarding exercise of the State Water Board’s enforcement discretion at the beginning of the planting season.” Growers who participate in the program could opt to either reduce water diversions under their riparian rights by 25 percent, or fallow 25 percent of their land. In both cases, the […]

Read More