6 Things Every Gardener Wants In Plant Varieties (opinion)

Promote deer-resistant plants so consumers don't end up with plants looking like these hostas.

Spring has sprung in most areas of the country, and hopefully, landscapers, gardeners and retailers have a little more spring in their step. But even though the season is bringing in much-appreciated orders and cash, it’s important to remember to provide customers with plants suited to their needs.

The Cultivar Is King, But Not To  Everyone

We live in a cultivar world. Every plant that is bred, named and patented is sold and talked about by the cultivar name. Every botanist, horticulturist, grower and retailer embraces the importance of cultivars. However, our customers at ground zero do not. My daughters are pretty typical consumers and don’t have time to worry about the name of a geranium or verbena. Unfortunately, that is true of many landscapers, who simply ask, “What’s in color?”   

I think we have all pretty much come to the same conclusion — let’s keep the decorators (like my daughters) happy, let’s keep trialing, breeding and building the best cultivars known to man and woman, and then not worry about what she calls it.

Not All Animals Are Created Equal

Ask someone who has contracted Lyme disease what he or she thinks of deer, or ask someone who has spent hundreds of dollars decorating with those special cultivars we talked about what they think about deer. It is no longer an isolated problem that we can dismiss or laugh about — deer are having a significant effect on plant sales. People ask me why I am so fired up about the new hybrid hellebores. This is a no-brainer — they are better than ever, they are colorful, they are early and deer don’t eat them. Every state has a list of deer-resistant plants. Call the Extension office and get it. Let’s market the concept of deer-proof plants.

My Daughters’ Gardens Revolve Around Their Decks

The garden of tomorrow, if not already today, is on and around the deck. While large gardens will always be found around some houses, your kids and grandkids will be spending a good percentage of their gardening dollars on enhancing the beauty of the deck and the space around the deck.

Baskets and Containers Aren’t Going Anywhere

Because they enhance the deck and the area around it, mixed baskets, which have been introduced for the last three years will only get stronger. Growers and retailers are recognizing that young people have far less time and interest in putting together a mixed basket than they have money to pay for one.

However, and a big however it is, these crappy green 12-inch plastic imposters we call baskets must go. They are too small for any maintenance but in a greenhouse — good grief, the retailers can’t even keep them alive. For these specialty combinations, use a premium basket, at least 14-inch, lined with absorbent moss or something like it. If not, we are just messing up a great concept — again.

Bring Veggies On Board

Everyone loves veggies, and we know that men want more vegetables, so let’s give them some for on and around the deck. They can be in baskets, containers and tucked away in sunny corners by the barbeque pit. Perhaps most men would rather die than give up their ‘Beefsteak’ tomatoes, but the new breeding in patio tomatoes (and peppers, strawberries, eggplants, etc.) is outstanding, and will only get better. Grafted tomatoes (who would have thought?) are neat as can be. Let’s bring to the veggie crowd the same excitement we try to foster with flowers. The breeding is here, the distribution is here and the market wants them.

Give Them The Right Plant For The Right Place
Gardeners and landscapers love shrubs.They only need to be planted once, and many require very little maintenance. Shrubs work well on decks, too, but only if they are tailored to stay short, compact and colorful. I see wonderful breeding in buddleias, hydrangeas, spireas, crepe myrtles and other easy-to-grow shrubs. Once again, let’s do this right. Let’s not sell a 6-foot tall buddleia to my daughter when we can sell her one that at maturity is only 3-feet tall.   GG

Leave a Reply

More From Varieties...
Suntory Blue Rose Applause

October 21, 2017

Suntory’s Blue Rose ‘Applause’ Now Available to U.S. Florists

‘Applause’ was originally introduced to the U.S. in 2011, and since then it was been successfully tested and selected to meet new market conditions.

Read More

October 17, 2017

14 New Shrubs With Fringe Benefits

What’s popular with shrubs? Consumers want varieties that will give them more return on their investment, in terms of long-lasting blooms and multi-season appeal that lasts from spring until fall and at times stretches into the winter months. Here are 14 new varieties of shrubs and sub-shrubs to consider for your product mix in 2018.

Read More

October 14, 2017

PlantPeddler Hosting Poinsettia Variety Day in December

The event will feature side-by-side comparisons of more than 100 commercial and pre-released varieties from seven breeders.

Read More
Latest Stories
Suntory Blue Rose Applause

October 21, 2017

Suntory’s Blue Rose ‘Applause’ Now Available to U.S. Fl…

‘Applause’ was originally introduced to the U.S. in 2011, and since then it was been successfully tested and selected to meet new market conditions.

Read More

October 17, 2017

14 New Shrubs With Fringe Benefits

What’s popular with shrubs? Consumers want varieties that will give them more return on their investment, in terms of long-lasting blooms and multi-season appeal that lasts from spring until fall and at times stretches into the winter months. Here are 14 new varieties of shrubs and sub-shrubs to consider for your product mix in 2018.

Read More

October 14, 2017

PlantPeddler Hosting Poinsettia Variety Day in December

The event will feature side-by-side comparisons of more than 100 commercial and pre-released varieties from seven breeders.

Read More

October 10, 2017

Coastal Callas Is a Dream Fulfilled for Founder Adrian …

Adrian Espinoza and his family founded Rancho Espinoza Inc. and Coastal Callas in California seven years ago with a mission and purpose to provide consistent quality and reliable supply of calla lilies to the marketplace.

Read More
Azalea Encore Autumn Bonfire

October 4, 2017

Big Changes on the Horizon for Woody Ornamentals

The future looks bright for the woody ornamentals market, with exciting new varieties in the pipeline that will offer greater disease resistance, cold hardiness, bloom capacity, and more.

Read More

October 3, 2017

25 New Blooming Potted Plants for Luxury Sales

Consider these new blooming potted plant varieties that offer full blooms, unique foliage, and a touch of extravagance and easy maintenance for time-strapped customers who want to pamper themselves.

Read More
Hydrangea 'Berry White' (Bailey Nurseries)

October 2, 2017

Woody Ornamentals Market Set for Growth

The woody ornamentals market is looking up. Now, out-of-the box thinking about product offerings and consumer education will keep things moving in the right direction.

Read More

September 27, 2017

New Mum Intros From California Spring Trials 2017

For fall gardening product selection, you can't go wrong with offering mums. Here are a few of the new introductions that we saw at California Spring Trials 2017 that will be making their retail debut in 2018.

Read More
Hydrangea ‘Endless Summer BloomStruck’ (Bailey Nurseries)

September 26, 2017

Bailey Nurseries Enhances Product Development Program, …

Plant Introductions, which Bailey purchased almost three years ago, is being rebranded as Bailey Innovations, an entity that will breed and trial new varieties in Georgia.

Read More
Green Fuse Lupine Staircase Pink

September 24, 2017

How to Effectively Grow Staircase Lupine

The Staircase Lupine series, part of Green Fuse Botanicals’ First Light Perennials collection, has the potential to put on a great display with solid and bicolor hues.

Read More
Terra Nova 2018 Catalog

September 23, 2017

Terra Nova Nurseries’ Latest Plant Catalog is Now Avail…

The new 2017-2018 plant catalog, which features hundreds of varieties, series, and collections from Terra Nova Nurseries, pays homage to the company’s 25th anniversary.

Read More
Armitage GWA Buffalo Tour 5

September 21, 2017

Tour of Buffalo Gardens Reveals Hidden Gems And Communi…

This past August, Allan Armitage joined the Association for Garden Communicators on a tour of Buffalo. It was a reminder that that we can make a difference in neighborhoods, in cities, and in people’s lives.

Read More
Suntory Grandessa argyranthemum - feature

September 18, 2017

Breeders Open Availability for Unrooted Cuttings; Here&…

With new avenues for buying young plants for vegetative production, growers should have an easier time finding availability and receiving shipments of unrooted cuttings for the coming seasons.

Read More
Ball, Tagawa Succulents Partnership

September 14, 2017

Ball Seed to Partner With Tagawa Greenhouses on New Suc…

The new program includes in-demand retail products that are popular with younger shoppers, allowing growers to easily build a comprehensive succulent program and stay on-trend in the marketplace.

Read More
Strait-Laced Elderberry

September 10, 2017

Check Out the Top Varieties On Display at Farwest 2017

A panel of plant experts, along with show attendees, selected their favorite offerings during the Farwest 2017 New Varieties Showcase.

Read More

September 5, 2017

Hort Couture Announces New Propagation and Broker Partn…

The new grower-propagator partners are deeply vested in the independent garden center channel with propagation expertise, as well as finished production focused on the independent grower.

Read More
Helianthus Sunfinity (Syngenta Flowers)

September 3, 2017

Growing Tips for Helianthus Sunflower ‘Sunfinity…

This annual sunflower is a profuse bloomer with strong branching that produces multiple flowers per plant from spring to fall.

Read More
Ball Seed Field Day 2017

September 2, 2017

Highlights from Ball Seed’s Annual Field Day and Landsc…

Attendees of the one-day event had the opportunity to see new plants in up-close-and-personal trials, and engage with speakers and product experts.

Read More