19 Strategies To Strengthen The Horticulture Industry

4-H kids - floriculture
Growers are working with organizations like the Future Farmers of America and 4-H and with local schools to provide horticulture education and invest in the future of the industry.

In Greenhouse Grower’s annual State Of The Industry Survey, we asked how your operation is living the GROW initiative’s five pillars: cultivate new customers, demand quality, drive consumer success, invest in the industry, and sharpen business management. We also wanted to see how you connect with your customers and what types of things you have done to help them be more successful and find new ways to enjoy plants.

What Have You And Your Business Done To Invest In The Industry In
The Past 12 Months?

“Sunborn planned and hosted the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers regional meeting in Madison, WI.” – Carol Larsen, Sunborn LLC

“We help sponsor Agventure for all 4th grade classes from multiple counties to teach about agriculture, and also participate with middle school and high school ag programs. We support many 4-H kids and events.” – Randy Gilde, Delray Plants

“A couple of local colleges have classes on horticulture. We invite them in for a walk-through and discussion about the business and plants.”
– Jerome Vite, Vite Greenhouses, Inc.


What Have You And Your Business Done To Better Understand And Cultivate New Customers?

“We worked with an independent delivery service to extend our customer base in an area where our own trucks can’t deliver.”  – Cheryl Saylor, De Jong Greenhouses, Inc.

“We routinely interview our customers to ask them about plant performance and sales trends, and what they would like us to grow. We also attend various plant trials to evaluate new introductions.”  – Jeanne Guidi, Melodia Hill Plant Farm

“We made inquiries about custom-grow jobs at local casinos and hotels, restaurants, and retailers.”  – Joe Schulte, Southwood Landscape & Garden Center

“We are actively seeking information on how we can better cultivate the next generation of gardeners and then applying this knowledge and marketing on Facebook to show what we have to offer. We have increased our variety and selection of flowering decorative containers.”  – David Holley, Moss Greenhouses

“We try to listen to the experiences of the staff at our independent garden center customers.”
– Jaap Van Staalduinen, Dutch Flower House

“Our annual participation as a booth on the trade show floor at Cultivate helps us understand not only the newest trends in the marketplace, but also how our retail customers are changing. Our continued partnership with botanical gardens keeps us at the forefront of new plants and new designs/uses for plants that are promoted to consumers.”  – Stephanie Whitehouse-Barlow, Peace Tree Farm

Pleasant View veg_herb website
Pleasant View Gardens rebranded its vegetable/herb program and launched a marketing campaign, which included an end-consumer website, to help attract new customers.

What Have You Done To Connect Directly With Consumers, And Help Them Be More Successful And Find New Ways To Enjoy Plants?

“We occasionally send retailers vendor samples of new items to trial.”  – Deb Perillo, JJL Greenhouse, Inc.

“Southern Advanced Plants produced combination containers of finished plants in finished pots for instant satisfaction.”  – Mark Jackson, Southern Advanced Plants

“We thought as a retailer and not as a grower (i.e., What does the customer want, versus what is easier to grow and sometimes not the most profitable crop?), and we increased the size of the plants our customers want.”  – Rick Van Duyvendyk, Dutch Growers Garden Center

“We have held a few open houses in the spring to connect with consumers. They loved the information about how plants are being grown and about the technology needed to do so.”  – Jaap Van Staalduinen, Dutch Flower House

“We rebranded our vegetable/herb program and launched a marketing campaign, which included an end-consumer website.”  – Jessica Boldt, Pleasant View Gardens

“We allowed consumers to contact us directly with questions regarding our products.”
– Ed Vermolen, Aldershot Greenhouses Ltd.

“We participated in an open house with retail customers and presented seminars for retail customers.”  – George Radtke, W. & E. Radtke, Inc.

“We visited with our wholesale customers to see what retail customers are asking for.”
– Cheryl Saylor, De Jong Greenhouses

“Armstrong partnered with breeders to showcase specific genetics.”  – Heather Hydoski, Armstrong Growers

“We hired a firm to do market research on what the customer wants.”  – Randy Gilde, Delray Plants

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