The Rise Of The Deco Pot

Recycled paper pots

Pots aren’t just something for a grower to put a plant in anymore. The presentation of the plant for the consumer — the container, sleeves and wraps, tags and signage, even a story — can be almost as important as the plant itself. It’s a trend we saw in full force at OFA Short Course this summer.

The Deco Trend

“As container gardening’s popularity continues to grow, we are seeing an increased focus on growers selecting containers based on the end consumer’s preferences,” says Dave Edenfield, business development manager for McConkey.

It’s a trend driven by many forces outside our industry, he says. Americans are living in smaller spaces, moving more frequently and have less space for a garden. Container gardening is a chance for them to express themselves without making the permanent commitment in the landscape.

“There is more pressure on growers and garden centers to choose growing containers whose appearance appeals to the end consumer,” Edenfield says. “A plant purchased at retail is now more likely to be displayed in the container it’s sold in, rather than removed from the container and planted in the ground. The plant and container need to be considered as a whole package, carefully chosen to meet the target consumer’s needs.”

Stephanie Winslow, president of Flopack, agrees. “If companies are not heading that way, I believe they will become irrelevant to the industry. The end consumer puts money in all of our pockets and helps our businesses grow,” she says. “How can we not be concerned with the end consumers’ like and dislikes? You have to have something that will grab a consumer’s attention, or they will move on and go somewhere else.”

A beautiful plant is what first grabs that consumer’s attention, but a great complementary container can add extra value to it, says Stacey Rumph, key accounts manager for CTI Plastic.

“It will certainly make the purchase an easier decision,” she says. “Given the trend toward a more complete look, it’s important that the container and packaging all lend itself to the sale of a plant. It’s like putting together an outfit. If you wear the right accessories, it’s going to pull everything you’re wearing together.”

Finding Inspiration

The fashion analogy is more than coincidental. Design trends in these new consumer-friendly pots go beyond what’s currently popular in the garden center.

“We research what is going in home décor, clothing and jewelry fashion, color associations, the food industry and consumer spending trend reports, both in North America and globally,” Rumph says. “We try to get involved in as many consumer feedback groups and trial gardens as possible. Preferences vary quite a bit regionally and across the markets and clients we cover.”

All that consumer feedback is critical, Winslow says. “You have to know your target market — almost better than they know themselves. There has to be a blend of functionality, a price that everyone can live with and ultimately design/presentation that will transcend generations of plant buyers.”

Recognizing a potentially profitable color or design trend in another area is important, but sometimes, understanding what drives those trends can be even more valuable. “We often look to other industries that have responded to cultural changes successfully,” Edenfield says. “We see a lot of parallels with food. There’s a growing emphasis on being more connected with food and nature, but people are busier than ever. The food industry has responded with more gourmet-style, “foodie” products that still allow people to do part of the prep work and get the essential experience of cooking without the frustration.

It’s similar to gardening, he says. “Growing in containers allows you to get the experience of natural beauty without the perceived hard work and permanence of growing in the ground. [Growers] who can provide that upscale, quick-ready package are seeing the most success.”

Tell A Story

A relatively new term we’re hearing in garden retail merchandising and displays is “mannequin.“ Rather than build a standard end cap display of plants, smart retailers are pulling together different elements to create an “outfit,” as Rumph described earlier. The container is an important part of the presentation.

“Just like any other retailer, you have to paint a picture for the consumer, and tell them a story, not just have random pieces thrown together,” Winslow says.
It’s also important to understand seasonality, Rumph says.

“Early spring or specific holidays tend to be trending heavily toward color-specific plants and pots to match. That extra ‘pop’ you can get out of a bright-pink flowering plant with a matching pink pot can make a plant truly stand out. We are always playing with different glossy finishes or sparkles as alternatives for these types of special event purchases.”

McConkey helps growers tell a different type of story with its rEarth program, offering pots made from recycled water bottles. “It’s an easily understandable message that fits in perfectly with sustainability initiatives. Everyone ‘gets’ the water bottle; the eco-friendly message isn’t so complex that it distracts from the plants,” Edenfield says. “One of our customers, a grower-retailer, has had great feedback by running radio ads on their new containers made from recycled water bottles, which are also curbside recyclable. This improves the green image of their business and reminds people to recycle.”

Growers: Know Your End Users

How can you take advantage of these trends for your plants? Even if you’re not directly involved in retailing, the first step is to understand who is buying them, or more important, who you want to buy them.

“Start by envisioning your target customer. What does her home look like? What mood or image does she want to convey by choosing your plant?” Edenfield says. “Several of our retail center customers sell mainly to older, more affluent women. This customer selects containers and plants that make her home look tasteful, upscale and comfortable – for example, an old world, antique-style container. Is your target customer a younger apartment-dweller who wants to grow an herb garden on her patio? She might prefer a modern upright planter with clean lines and a trendy accent color.”

Take advantage of the knowledge your container supplier can offer on these decisions, Rumph says.

“Growers know their key clients and work with them closely year round to pick the best plant genetics. Our job is to work with the grower and the client to ensure what they present to their end consumer fits the image of the marketplace they’re representing.”

Leave a Reply

More From Crop Inputs...
tomato spotted wilt virus angular-necrosis-of-leaves-and-plant-stunting

September 28, 2016

Tips For Managing Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus In Mums

According to a report from Michigan State University, symptoms of tomato spotted wilt virus on chrysanthemum include yellow blotching and rings, necrotic lesions, and stem collapse.

Read More
cannabis-crop-protection

September 27, 2016

Washington State Outlines Pesticide Criteria For Cannabis Production

The state has also compiled a searchable list of pesticides that fit the criteria for use on marijuana.

Read More
Orius_June 2015

September 25, 2016

Peace Tree Farm Hosting Biocontrols Event In October

“Advanced Greenhouse Biocontrols for Ornamental and Vegetable Producers” will feature advice from biocontrol authorities Lloyd Traven and Suzanne Wainwright-Evans.

Read More
Latest Stories
tomato spotted wilt virus angular-necrosis-of-leaves-and-plant-stunting

September 28, 2016

Tips For Managing Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus In Mums

According to a report from Michigan State University, symptoms of tomato spotted wilt virus on chrysanthemum include yellow blotching and rings, necrotic lesions, and stem collapse.

Read More
cannabis-crop-protection

September 27, 2016

Washington State Outlines Pesticide Criteria For Cannab…

The state has also compiled a searchable list of pesticides that fit the criteria for use on marijuana.

Read More
Orius_June 2015

September 25, 2016

Peace Tree Farm Hosting Biocontrols Event In October

“Advanced Greenhouse Biocontrols for Ornamental and Vegetable Producers” will feature advice from biocontrol authorities Lloyd Traven and Suzanne Wainwright-Evans.

Read More
steve-larson-bayer

September 23, 2016

Bayer Continues Its Shift Into The Ornamentals Market

The company has announced its 12 distributor partners, and also recently named Steve Larson — formerly with Color Spot Nurseries — as its ornamental specialist.

Read More
Biocontrols and beneficials absolutely can be used in outdoor production, with the use of banker plant systems

September 19, 2016

Learn About Biological Controls In The Greenhouse In A …

Michigan State University Extension (MSU) and Kansas State University Research and Extension are collaborating on a pre-recorded online course on “Biological Control for Greenhouse Growers.”

Read More
Bees And Pesticides

August 23, 2016

Studies Offer Conflicting Views On Neonic Effect On Bee…

How much exposure to neonicotinoids do bees need before their health becomes affected? That’s the question two research teams look to answer.

Read More
Chrysanthemum Aphid

August 22, 2016

How To ID And Manage Black Aphids In Chrysanthemums

Growers in Michigan have recently been reporting a higher presence of this pest. Here are some tips on how to control it.

Read More
Cannabis Crop Protection

August 22, 2016

Cannabis Group Stays Focused On Consistent Standards Fo…

The Foundation of Cannabis Unified Standards (FOCUS), is an independent, third-party, not-for-profit organization, is in the process of developing cannabis-specific standards for everything from cultivation and extraction to packaging and retail.

Read More
Leaf Septoria In Cannabis

August 21, 2016

Three Diseases To Watch For In Cannabis Production

The development of root rot, powdery mildew, and leaf septoria can damage cannabis to the point of complete crop loss.

Read More
Greenhouse Whitefly

August 18, 2016

Vestaron Planning For More Research And Development Of …

On the heels of launching Spear-T, its first bioinsecticide, Vestaron has received additional financing that will be used to develop new products with new modes of action.

Read More
BioWorks Mycotrol

August 17, 2016

New Organic Mycoinsecticide From BioWorks Now Registere…

BioWorks’ Mycotrol can be used to manage whitefly, thrips, aphids, and other insects in greenhouses and nurseries.

Read More
Downy mildew lesions on light coleus cultivars feature

August 12, 2016

How You Can Control Downy Mildew In Coleus, Roses, And …

Downy mildew diseases are potentially devastating to ornamental crops and at the very least can cause unsightly damage. Check out the latest research and recommendations for preventing it.

Read More
Jen Browning BASF

August 4, 2016

Horticulturist And Entomologist Jen Browning To Speak A…

Browning will discuss the use of nematodes in managing pests in greenhouses and nurseries.

Read More
Poinsettia, Heavy Whitefly Infestation -Lower Leaves, Insect - Feature

August 3, 2016

Tips For Successful Late-Season Whitefly Control

Managing late-season whiteflies successfully on poinsettia requires preventative measures put in to action early in the production cycle.

Read More
Cannabis Crop Protection

July 28, 2016

Solving The Cannabis Crop Protection Problem

A largely unregulated sector of the industry, state departments of agriculture, biocontrols companies, and other industry pros are dedicated to helping growers make the right pesticide decisions for their operations.

Read More
Aphids On Older Leaves

July 25, 2016

How You Can Stop Aphids By Understanding Their Interact…

Knowing which aphids target which crops and how aphids colonize and move on plants goes a long way toward setting up an effective management plan.

Read More
BASF Orkestra Intrinsic

June 21, 2016

New Mode Of Action From BASF Offers Deeper Disease Cont…

When it comes to disease control, you need all the help you can get. BASF recently hosted growers, Extension personnel, and trade media to present its newest fungicide with two active ingredients, offering dual modes of action.

Read More
Nematodes-feature

June 4, 2016

New Biocontrols Provide Effective Pest Control In Green…

Biological chemistry manufacturers have introduced several new products recently that offer a range of insect and disease management options. Here’s a look at some of them.

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