If you’ve seen one black plastic grower’s pot, you’ve seen them all.” It’s not really an old saying, but it could be. Luckily more and more growers are trying their hand(s) at decorative pots–using them to differentiate themselves from other growers and to catch the eye of retailers and their consumers.
Ryan Mast, national sales manager at Rush Creek Designs, contributes this growing trend to the huge increase in container gardening that started a couple of years ago. “The idea was that a younger generation was able to walk into a greenhouse or garden center, buy their already potted up flowers and put it on their front porch,” he says. “I think that’s now being taken to the next step and starting with more growers.”
Mast says that many of the growers using Rush Creek decorative pots, use them as pot covers. “They take their grower pots, drop them right into the more decorative pots to add a little bit more spice to the arrangement,” he says. “With plastic prices coming down, it’s something they can fit into their programs and still hit that $9.99 or $14.99 retail.”
Bathroom Towels To Flowers
Jeff Palsrok of Michigan West Shore Nurseries agrees with Mast that decorative pots are a great way to appease retailers and appeal to consumers. Color trends are something Palsrok pays close attention to, using sources like Pantone to stay on top of the season’s hot color(s). “Read up on what’s happening in the market,” Palsrok says. “Whether it’s towels for indoor bathrooms or flowers, color trends change on a yearly basis and it’s important to stay informed.”
One key to having success with decorative pots is to keep it basic. “Don’t try to be too cute,” he says. Focus in on colors that will set you apart from your competition but also catch a shopper’s eye. “Decorative might just be a trendy color. Garden centers are giving into these higher end pots more so than the chain stores might.” This year Michigan West Shore had success with bright-colored pots planted up with well-matched varieties. There can be a drawback to working with a broad scope of colors, though. “Dealing with mass merchants, it’s a little harder to track what exact items did really well.”
“Also, from a growing standpoint, I think there’s a limit to how decorative and nice a pot can be,” Palsrok adds. “If the product you ship in doesn’t look good in a week, then they’re stuck with a high cost pot and flower that will basically get thrown away.”
Ramping Up Design
CTi Plastic (Centrade Inc. in Canada) is a big believer in the value of using decorative pots. “We’ve taken a basic decorative plastic pot and done some work to ramp up on the design value of the pot to give the end consumer better value for their money,” says Stacey Rumpf of CTi Plastic.
For CTi, they’ve seen that a trend in pot shapes has led to a more squared-off look, as opposed to the traditional round. Texture is another big trend for them. “We’re gearing up for 2010 with natural looking textures on the pot’s finish for a stronger look.” Rumpf explains that by adding texture and paint to their pots, they develop more dimension.
Among other trends, Stumpf is seeing a lean toward more neutral colors that tend to blend well with home decor. “We have colors called wood, putty, Godiva and aged black,” which is their strongest and has a zinc appearance.
“It’s about being up-to-date in your marketplace,” she says. “Retailers are a good example of this. They want something that’s very specific towards them. You really have to crave out your niche and figure out what containers are going to best dress your plant material.”