How To Choose The Right Tag

Photos may not always be necessary, but it's never a bad idea to remind consumers about the beautiful blooms or delicious fruit a plant will provide.

The plant you carefully cultivated catches the eye of the consumer. If the plant itself hasn’t already made the sale, the consumer looks to the tag and wonders, “Should I buy this plant?”

Are your plant tags closing the sale?
Research shows that the unassuming plant tag can carry its weight in the sales process. But tag printing and marketing experts say you will have more success with your tags with a shift in your thinking: Tags are an informational and marketing tool for the consumer.

“Growers have looked at tags as a necessary evil because, as an industry, we have produced grower tags not consumer tags,” says Rick Vulgamott, director of sales at John Henry. “Tags were always difficult for growers because they just did not want to deal with the process.”

Bob Lovejoy, president of HIP Labels, agrees. “Too often, a tag is looked at from a cost perspective, not as an offensive tool, a marketing tool, as it should be.”

“A well-put-together tag works as a ‘silent salesperson,’ and helps the customer decide if the plant is right for them without the need to search the store for a plant expert,” adds Ann Marie Phaneuf, director, channel sales at SATO America.
What Information Is A Must?
To make that shift so your tags are really tools for the consumer, you first need to understand how the end consumer uses plant tags.

“We’ve done a lot of market research on this,“ says Gerry Giorgio, creative director at MasterTag. Customers use tags at three points of engagement:

  1. At the point of sale, in order to make a decision to buy.
  2. At home, when they are planting and need space, height and location information.
  3. The following year, as reference for what worked well and what didn’t, leading to another buying decision next year.

“Gardeners have told us that the most important information on a plant tag, in order of priority, is: planting location (sun/shade); type of plant (perennial/annual); the common name, not the botanical name; and when it will bloom,” Giorgio says.

Basic information is important, particularly considering the fact that many of today’s consumers haven’t grown up with gardening as a hobby around the home. For example, Giorgio says many consumers who want to garden don’t understand the difference between a perennial and an annual. One option to consider with tags is using plain-spoken wording such as, “Will re-bloom every year” for perennials and “Will only bloom this season” for annuals, he says.  

What Else Is Important On Tags?
In addition to the basics, Vulgamott says he believes consumers are looking for solution-based plants and the tag should reflect that knowledge. Is your plant solution-based? If it repels deer, attracts hummingbirds, provides color or has another application, put it on your tag, he says.

“Growers should position ‘Why Statements’ front and center on tags. Answer ‘Why should I buy this?’ right on the tag.”
Companion plants can also be a good addition, since consumers don’t automatically know what plants go together well,” he says.

Size considerations are important. Giorgio suggests using a 10-point font at minimum. While it may limit the information you can include, your target market, women ages 30 to 55, may strain to read anything lower. Make the tag size proportionate to the plant, as well, he says.

Zone information is also something to think about. “For regional growers, it’s becoming a little less significant,” says Bob Schmitdke, senior account executive at Horticultural Marketing and Printing. “If you ship plants nationwide, keep the Zone information. Regional growers can replace the Zone chart with helpful growing and maintenance information.”

Should Growers Use Photos?
Particularly with annuals, some people suggest that having a photo of the same blooming plant you’re looking at is a waste of valuable real estate on a tag. Lovejoy isn’t so sure that’s the case.

“Photos are the most effective use of space and the best, easiest and fastest way to attract a consumer,” he says. “Try to show the plant in a landscape setting.”

Phaneuf agrees. “Pictures are very important,” she says. “If a plant is not currently blooming, the tag can paint that picture. Also, for items such as trees, a picture will let the consumer know what it will look like when it matures. With blooming annuals, pictures can also be used to show suggestions of plant configurations.”

Giorgio says certain plants like basil just don’t need an image. “A recipe for a delicious basil salad might intrigue the customer more,” he says.

What About Bilingual Tags?
As some growers ship to other countries —  and as America becomes more multicultural — adding information in a second language has been more common on tags. While there are advantages, that strategy can be tricky.

“Tags have to be larger to allow for printed translations. There are also issues with who does the translation. Some English phrases simply don’t translate nicely,” Lovejoy says.

Vulgamott says he is seeing a trend where growers are questioning the need for both English and Spanish on tags.
“Surprisingly, we’ve had multiple growers tell us they are near removing the second language as we begin targeting a younger generation,” he says.

Some growers he works with believe as newer generations of immigrants are schooled in English and speak the language more, they don’t expect to see anything but English.

Should You Use Advanced Technology On Your Tags?
QR codes for smartphones and tablets haven’t been as strong a selling tool on plant tags as some anticipated.

“The truth is, I don’t see a lot of people scanning tags at retail.  As long as there is a code, there is a challenge,” says Lovejoy. “I don’t get the sense our customers are using them as frequently.”

It’s likely, however, that technology like this will become more ingrained with consumers over time, especially when making decisions.

“The consumer is getting used to researching and making decisions on their own. The use of QR codes is growing and helping consumers learn more prior to purchase,” Phaneuf says.

Our experts suggest using QR codes if you can link to quality content: pictures, in-depth information, troubleshooting tips, how-to tips, and possibly, recipes.
“QR codes should always link to content that expands on the information found on the tag.” Giorgio says. “They should also always link to a mobile-ready site. And while a website can be useful, I think it is better to have a specific message such as a short video on the plant you are considering or a landing page related to the plant and some additional information.”

QR codes are an added value for the grower, Schmidtke says.

“If they already have a database of plant material with pictures, it’s not that expensive to add to their website,” he says.  

Other technologies, such as augmented reality or image recognition, could eventually offer gardening consumers a better shopping experience, but are far from common at this point.

“Gardening apps probably offer the greatest opportunity to be used today. The barrier to entry here is development costs,” says Giorgio.

What’s The Best Way To Manage Tag Inventory?
Every grower’s goal is to reduce tag inventory. Lovejoy says he has seen tag rooms with hundreds of thousands of dollars of excess inventory.

“This might sound funny coming from me, but growers need to buy fewer tags,” he says. “Growers need to work with suppliers who are determined to reduce their on-hand inventory.”

Schmidtke suggests ordering tags in two phases.
“Growers should use the 80/20 rule and print the bulk on the first, lowest-cost printing job,” he says. “If tags run out, growers can use other ways, but not carry the tag inventory. Most of the larger tag producers handle this with digitally produced tags printing smaller quantities on smaller presses.”
What’s The Bottom Line On Selecting The Right Tag?
Keep  your eye on the gardening consumer, says Giorgio.
“Provide what they want and you will add value to the plants you grow. It’s easy to get caught up in what a grower or retailer needs in a tag. Yet, the gardener is the ultimate user,” he says. “Go to school on them and include a tag with your plants that best serves their needs.”    GG

Leave a Reply

One comment on “How To Choose The Right Tag

  1. There is a MUCH better option to buying tags the way it has “always been done” And that is buy tags on demand. Buying small quantities of tags even down to just 10 tags has always been an issue… until now. Now there are digital printing presses (still ultra high quality tags like what you are use to) The benefit here is because the press is digital no printing plates need to be made, the presses to not have to stop to switch printing plates. That means that short runs of tags are now achievable. Printers are now capable of printing, laminating both sides of a tag with a UV coating, and die cutting the tags in one pass through the press without ever stopping the press. It is not uncommon for a customer to send me their artwork and the customer receives those tags in 2 days or less! Now Add the ability to weld the tag directly to the pot with a machine that I have developed and now it is possible for a retailer to put the selling price directly on the tag. Because once the tag is welded to the pot the consumer cannot remove the tag. This also means that a wholesaler could set up a website for their customers where the customer uploads their company logo and establishes a retail selling price for each of the wholesaler’s products, add QR code web address for each of those products, and a barcode for the Retailer’s POS system. and then when the retailer places the order with the Wholesaler an order is immediately placed with the label printer and 24-48 latter with the tags hit the door. The tags are welded to the pots as they go down the shipping conveyor line to be loaded on shipping carts. When the plants arrive at the retailer they are already Custom branded or Co-Branded , priced, Barcoded and QR coded to the Retailer’s web-site when they hit the door. It is time to consider a new way of doing things… contact me for more info:

More From Crop Inputs...
Giving Tuesday

November 24, 2015

Giving Tuesday On December 1 Is An Opportunity For The Industry To Make Charitable Tax-Deductible Donations

Organizations such as American Floral Endowment and others are encouraging industry members to participate in the generous spirit of the holiday season.

Read More
Cannabis marijuana

November 24, 2015

Five Florida Growers Receive Licenses To Potentially Produce And Process Medical Marijuana

The Florida Department of Health has announced the five nursery operations awarded with exclusive licenses to grow, process, and dispense “Charlotte’s Web,” a low-THC (non-euphoric) cannabis approved for patients with intractable epilepsy and people with advanced cancer.

Read More
Random Acts Of Flowers

November 24, 2015

Random Acts Of Flowers Partners With FTD And Pro Flowers To Make Milestone Charitable Bouquet Delivery

The organization, which recycles and repurposes flowers with a volunteer team that delivers bouquets to health care facilities across the country, made its 100,000th delivery to a health care facility in Chicago.

Read More
Latest Stories
Stockosorb Crystals_with water Agriculture leaf (Evonick)

November 21, 2015

9 Sustainable Growing Media Products For Superior Green…

Manufacturers are delivering new growing media products to help growers attempt to minimize their footprint without sacrificing quality. Here are nine new products to consider for your greenhouse operation.

Read More
Suzanne Wainwright-Evans

November 16, 2015

Real-World Biocontrols Trends From The Buglady

During ,em>Greenhouse Grower's Top 100 Breakfast at Cultivate'15, Suzanne Wainwright-Evans of Buglady Consulting discussed trends in biocontrols, including what she has seen from breeders, growers and even public gardens.

Read More

October 13, 2015

Bayer CropScience And OHP To End Marketing Partnership …

The move allows Bayer to market its ornamental products directly to greenhouses and nurseries, although OHP will still service a limited line of Bayer products.

Read More
RISE 2015 Governing Board

October 13, 2015

RISE Annual Meeting Celebrates 25 Years of Industry Adv…

The annual meeting for RISE (Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment), held the last week of September in Orlando, was more than just presentations, awards and the election of new officers. It was also a celebration of 25 years as a leading advocate for the specialty pesticide and fertilizer industries.

Read More

October 9, 2015

New Biochemical Miticide Is Designed To Combat Varroa M…

EPA recently registered Potassium Salts of Hops Beta Acids (K-HBAs), which is intended to fit into a rotation program to battle resistance.

Read More

October 7, 2015

Ball FloraPlant Eliminates Neonicotinoid Use On Its Off…

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 Expa…

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

September 25, 2015

Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss Association Announces Early…

According to an August 31 survey of members of the Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss Association (CSPMA), whose members represent approximately 95 percent of all North American peat production, the peat harvest season has been adequate, but not strong, and could cause shortages and potentially higher transportation costs. Down To The Dirty Details The survey inquired about the status of CSPMA members’ 2015 Actual Harvest (including an estimate of what can be expected to be harvested for the remainder of the season) as a percentage of their 2015 Expected Harvest. The lack of a strong harvest overall may challenge peat availability. The Prairie Provinces (Manitoba 98 percent, Saskatchewan 88 percent and Alberta 94 percent), experienced early favorable weather conditions and a strong start to the year. This helped to minimize periodic, negative, weather-related conditions during the balance of the harvest season, and the harvest numbers are close to achieving the expected amounts. […]

Read More

September 23, 2015

New Crop Protection Products And Label Updates

Here are some of the most recent products released and label updates for crop protection agents in the greenhouse and nursery market. Fame Fungicides (FMC Corp.) FMC Corp. has introduce Fame fungicides, a family of FRAC 11 group (Strobilurin) products that delivers fast-acting, patented fluoxastrobin protection against major soil and foliar diseases. Rainfast in 15 minutes, Fame fungicides can be used on most greenhouse and nursery plants and provide fast foliar and root uptake. “Proven by university research, Fame fungicides offer fluoxastrobin action, which ensures a high degree of systemic activity to provide very rapid disease protection and stop further growth of established disease,” says Naimur Rahman, strategy and fungicide marketing product manager for FMC. The Fame fungicide family includes: • Fame SC: a suspension concentrate fungicide containing fluoxastrobin that controls major diseases, including anthracnose, downy mildew, powdery mildew, scab and leaf spot. It provides rapid foliar and root uptake […]

Read More
Offshore farm profiles Dummen Orange Las Mercedes Solanaceas GH

September 8, 2015

Dümmen Orange Implementing Consistent Standards On All …

Owning and operating several locations can be a challenge in maintaining consistent quality and cleanliness across the board. This is true of both breeders and growers. But those who do it right have invested in technology and practices that ensure that plant quality matches, no matter where their plants are shipped from. That’s the goal for Dümmen Orange. Now the world’s largest producer of unrooted cuttings, the company has a combined 150 hectares or 370 acres of production space worldwide, dedicated to cuttings production. Recent acquisitions of product portfolios, both this year and in the past few, has raised the company’s cuttings production expectation to more than 1.4 billion, including 350 million in North America. It has farms all over the world (see the 2015 Top Cuttings Producers ranking to see where), and produces cuttings for its own genetics, as well as collaborating with more than 30 third-party breeders across all […]

Read More
Bill Lewis grower manager at Delray Plants

August 31, 2015

Delray Plants Takes Preventative Approach To Pest Contr…

Trying to control pests effectively on a wide variety of crops is a major undertaking. Delray Plants in Venus, Fla., has been using biological controls as a part of its pest control program for more than 10 years. It operates 300 acres, which includes covered structures and 7 acres of outdoor field production.

Read More
Bob’s Market and Greenhouses’ Ron Morris pours Stockosorb into the hopper for distribution on the conveyor line

August 13, 2015

How Bob’s Market And Greenhouses Improved Growing…

My father started our company 45 years ago growing bedding plants, mainly early season production and finished plants for our West Virginia market. It was in the early 1980s that we started growing earlier spring production and shipping materials to southern markets, and by the late 1980s, we also produced pansies for fall. We started using hydrogels when they first came on the market in the early 1990s and found that they really helped with our production by keeping plants healthier for these new markets. Over the years, we’ve grown to be a large young plant producer and have a sizable business growing finished plants in cell packs, 4 1/2-inch pots, 6-inch pots, gallon containers, hanging baskets, multiple sizes of large containers and large baskets for municipal use. Creating The Ideal Soil Mix With our old system, it took several workers to mix pre-made soil with slow-release fertilizers in cement […]

Read More
Fertilizer Rates Feature Image

August 12, 2015

Selecting Fertilizer Rates For Several Spring Bedding P…

Fertilizing bedding plants can be difficult due to the differing needs of the large variety of plants that we grow. Many operations do not grow enough of any one crop to cater the fertilizer specifically for each crop. Therefore, grouping crops with similar fertilizer requirements and having two to three fertilizer strengths available is a practical way to ensure plants are getting the fertilizer they need. With many new plant varieties on the market, we wanted to conduct a trial at Cornell University to determine best fertilizer rates for several common bedding plant crops. 22 Bedding Plants Studied To Establish Fertilizer Rates Plugs and rooted liners of 22 crops (Table 1) were transplanted into 4-inch (500 mL volume) round pots with a commercial peat/perlite based substrate. The plants were grown in a glass greenhouse at Cornell University during the spring season at a spacing of one plant per square foot. Heating set […]

Read More
Feature image The Aphid Guard Aphid Banker Plant, coming soon to the market, supports beneficial insect populations.

June 21, 2015

The Latest In Crop Protection

Protecting your plants from the latest threats is no easy task, but new product lines promise to safely and effectively eliminate a wide range of pests and diseases, without harming your employees or the environment.

Read More
Bee On Flower

June 18, 2015

Pest Management And Marketing Strategies For Bee-Friend…

Michigan State University Extension shares pest management practices to produce plants that are safe for pollinators and marketing strategies for clearing up confusion about bee-friendly plants.

Read More

June 13, 2015

UMASS Fertilizer Trials Recommend Nature’s Source Organ…

In a recent online fact-sheet at its Extension website, the UMass Amherst Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment lists Nature’s Source Organic Plant Food 3-1-1 as “the best liquid organic fertilizer,” according to Dr. Douglas Cox, Stockbridge School of Agriculture. It is called-out by the Extension after a number of years of studying the use of organic fertilizers for growing commercial greenhouse crops. The trials evaluated traditional water soluble and granular slow-release chemical fertilizers. Dr. Cox recommends Nature’s Source Organic Plant Food 3-1-1 as a liquid fertilizer that is readily available, cost effective, OMRI-listed and with good label directions for greenhouses. He also mentions the ease-of-use in how it mixes well with water and can pass fertilizer injectors. “Nature’s Source is currently the best liquid organic fertilizer,” Cox wrote in his article “Organic Fertilizers – Thoughts on Using Liquid Organic Fertilizers for Greenhouse Plants,” “I have seen no foliar chlorosis yet with this fertilizer. Nature’s source is widely available and a great […]

Read More

June 10, 2015

BASF’s Sultan Miticide Receives California Regist…

BASF Sultan miticide recently received registration in California, giving ornamental growers a new rapid, targeted mode of action for mite control. Sultan miticide, with active ingredient cyflumetofen, offers ornamental growers targeted knockdown of all life stages of tetranychid mites, with long residual control. It has practically no toxicity to beneficial insects, including predatory mites and pollinators. Sultan miticide offers a new mode of action to combat cross-resistance with other commercial miticides, and is compatible with integrated pest management programs (IPM). “The long-awaited California registration of Sultan miticide is exciting news. Greenhouse, nursery and landscape professionals in the state now have a new class of chemistry that gives them fast control over all life stages of plant-damaging mite populations,” says Joe Lara, senior product manager for BASF. “Sultan miticide now provides California growers with a much needed new first choice for miticide resistance management programs that won’t disrupt populations of beneficial […]

Read More
Bee on a Sedum

May 27, 2015

Industry Associations State Their Support Of National P…

AmericanHort, Society of American Florists, American Floral Endowment and Horticultural Research Institute joined together to embrace key aspects of the federal government’s recently announced National Strategy for the Protection of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators. The long-awaited strategy has three major goals: reducing honey bee colony losses, increasing Monarch butterfly populations, and restoring or enhancing millions of acres of land as pollinator habitat through public and private action. According to the statement, the associations are studying the details, but they agree that the overall approach appears balanced and mostly sensible. The rest of the statement reads as follows: “The national strategy’s overarching goals dovetail well with the focus of the ongoing Horticulture Industry Bee and Pollinator Stewardship Program. Under that initiative, we have directly funded several priority research projects, and collaborated on additional research funded by others, to provide critical scientifically sound guidance for professional horticulturists. We are developing a grower […]

Read More
[gravityform id="35" title="false" description="false"]