Bringing Style To Supermarkets

When I attended the Super Floral Show in Columbus, Ohio, this summer, I was really impressed by the growers who specialize in blooming potted plants and serving supermarkets. I just drove down for the day and wish I would have spent two days at the show. Each grower exhibitor I visited had great news and was excited about new products and programs. It was a really upbeat event.

The growers who lead in blooming potted plants are stronger than ever. They’ve survived dramatic consolidation of their retail base as regional chains became conglomerates and winnowed out lesser players. They are continuously reinvesting in their businesses, distribution capabilities, innovative products and supply chain relationships.

East Coast giant Kurt Weiss Greenhouses rolled out a new program called Elements, matching plants with home décor in concepts inspired by furniture retailer Ikea. Each of the four outer corners of its booth had a color-scheme vignette of a living room fireplace. To think more like a designer, Kurt Weiss hired a floral and design industry veteran to develop the program.

Dave Foltz, vice president of sales, says buyers like the color-theme promotions, especially in between holidays. This concept has been a way to raise the value of the plants at an affordable cost to the grower and retailer and provide affordable style to consumers.

Canadian giant, Westbrook Greenhouses, has been sourcing upscale pottery and wooden and metal containers from China to provide added value at an affordable pricepoint. In addition to price, more growers have been saying the designs are more attractive than domestically-produced pottery and more in line with home décor. Westbrook’s Rej Picard told me, "We are bringing in container loads from China. Everyone has got African violets and kalanchoes. This is why we needed to get into value added."

Grower Norm White in Virginia, who built his reputation on mums, continues to bring new varieties into the blooming potted plant mix. He is pleased with sales of potted celosia from cuttings matched with a jazzy purple pot cover. He sold 40,000 6-inch plants this year. His painted poinsettias also are still going strong.

But what I was really impressed with was Norm’s participation in a new marketing consortium called Senses Merchandising and Promotion, headed up by former Stop & Shop buyer Sandra Hering. The idea is to bring breeders, growers and retailers together to provide lifestyle décor concepts consumers want in plants.

Growing operations so far include Aldershot of New Mexico, Hermann Engelmann Greenhouses, Loops Nursery and Greenhouses, White’s Nursery and Greenhouses and Yoder Canada. The retail brands are Living Décor for gift-ready/home décor-ready plants in upscale containers and Living Quality, for when consumers want a new plant but don’t necessarily need a new pot. A new palette of colors will roll out every season, just like in the fashion and interior design worlds.

"We’ll be shortening the supply chain," Hering says. "Breeders can bring new products to market faster and get feedback fast. Retailers will see new products. Growers will get preferential treatment and be part of testing and trialing. This will be built on quality and documentation. We’ve got to test and know how long things will really last. We will have impactful displays, not just products and price, and not the cheapest."

I’ve always believed more could and should be done to promote blooming potted plants and am glad to see it happening.

Leave a Reply

Latest Stories
Laura Drotleff

December 6, 2016

Are You Driving Young Growers Away? [Opinion]

In a time when the industry is facing a critical shortage of both labor and skilled, educated growers, it's important that grower operations don't unwittingly turn candidates off to a career at their business or in the industry in general. Take a closer look at your hiring practices to ensure you are being inclusive and not breaking any laws.

Read More

December 6, 2016

America In Bloom Moves Forward With New Management Comp…

Effective Jan. 1, 2017, management of America In Bloom will transition from AmericanHort to Second Wind Management, which is owned by long-time AIB Executive Director Laura Kunkle.

Read More
bailey-nurseries-team-feature

December 5, 2016

How Bailey Nurseries Has Found Solutions To The Labor S…

A changing seasonal workforce led this Minnesota-based company to explore new labor sources through the H-2A program and refugee organizations, and it’s working out for the better.

Read More
mycoapply-from-mycorrhizal-applications-feature

December 5, 2016

New Growing Media Advancements Giving Growers More Opti…

With innovative, sustainable growing media components, growers will be able to improve plant health, achieve consistency among crops, save money, and reduce inputs, while saving space on storage.

Read More

December 5, 2016

Benary’s Jennifer Calhoun: How We Can Make Plants…

I see one main issue facing our industry in getting more people to buy plants — we assume that the way we used to sell plants is the way millennials will want to buy them. Nothing could be further from the truth. We sell plants in small packs that you plant in a hole in your garden, with a generic label that says “blooms all season.” Millennials don’t have gardens, so they want a plant they can put on their fourth floor apartment balcony, or better yet on a shelf in their living room near a window.  We give them too little information to help them be successful under those circumstances. But what we don’t realize is that if the plant dies, they feel personally responsible for killing another living thing which is so painful that they would prefer not to take the chance a second time. If we sold […]

Read More

December 5, 2016

A Visual Guide To Garden Retail Merchandising

Antje Verstl, a German visual merchandiser who has worked with many high level garden retailers in Europe, has a lot of practical, and inspirational advice on how to transform your plant yard into an exciting place to shop. Take a look at this gallery, and enjoy a visual guide from Verstl. Her book, “Eagle & Frog!,” is now available for purchase by an American market through her website.

Read More
mikaela-hermstedt-penn-state-university

December 4, 2016

Shinoda Foundation Names Penn State Horticulture Major …

Mikaela Hermstedt, a 21-year-old senior from Lincoln, DE, plans to pursue a career in commercial greenhouse production of flowering plants.

Read More
all-america-selections-new-website-home-page

December 3, 2016

New Mobile Responsive Website From All-America Selectio…

All-America Selections has launched a newly redesigned and revamped mobile-responsive website that includes a more attractive design, enhanced search tools, and easier and simpler navigation.

Read More
Sea Breeze Catharanthus combo

December 2, 2016

Four Mixed Container Trends To Watch

Mixed containers are still one of the best-selling SKUs at retail. Pay attention to these four trends that are making their mark on multi-liner mixes and combination containers.

Read More
kelly-norris

December 2, 2016

Kelly Norris: How The “Me Too” Philosophy Affects Plant…

When you’re selling the exact same thing as everyone else, it’s unrealistic to expect customers to buy only from you.

Read More
mcconkey-plastic-shelves-feature

December 1, 2016

How Color Point Is Stopping Cart Theft With Plastic She…

Plastic shelving on carts acts as a deterrent to theft, and employees enjoy the benefits of being able to handle the racks without difficulty or injuries.

Read More
oasis-water-valve-feature

November 30, 2016

How You Can Water Plants Based On Basket Weight

The Oasis from Control Dekk is designed to reduce water use by giving baskets the exact amount of water they need.

Read More

November 29, 2016

How Changes In Plant Patent Law Could Affect Your Varie…

There is an ongoing discussion happening among plant genetics companies about the current laws and ethics of plant breeding, and what the future holds for the improved lawful protection of genetics.

Read More
foxglove-aphid

November 29, 2016

How Greenhouse Growers Can Manage The Foxglove Aphid

Recent research is shedding new light on the foxglove aphid. Understanding host plants, identification, and biology will help growers deal with this pest.

Read More
endless-summer

November 29, 2016

Endless Summer Hydrangeas Will Soon Feature New Identit…

Bailey Nurseries, which first introduced the reblooming hydrangea a decade ago, says the new identity will feature a more contemporary look to appeal to current and future gardeners.

Read More
Trays move on an overhead conveyor to the end of the production line, where workers carefully pack the cleaned, sized, graded, counted and sorted Calla tubers

November 29, 2016

Texas Judge Halts Overtime Rule; Here’s What It Means F…

According to Craig Regelbrugge at AmericanHort, the injunction against the overtime rule is welcome news for horticulture.

Read More

November 29, 2016

How The Industry Is Ensuring Consumer Success With Plan…

Greenhouse Grower RETAILING reached out to growers and suppliers for their ideas on how to attract and keep new plant customers. Here's what they had to say about ensuring gardening success.

Read More

November 29, 2016

Heroes To Hives Seeks Veterans For Beekeeping Training

Michigan State University is bringing together two great causes of our times — supporting vets and boosting pollinators — in its new program aimed at teaching professional beekeeping to former soldiers.

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