Four More Gardening Dilemmas

Does anyone other than me find it frightening that many growers still don’t have a clue what their products look like or how they perform in real life? This is known as the out-of-sight, out-of-mind syndrome.

There is nothing more beautiful than an empty greenhouse after a successful season, but can you imagine cars being manufactured without performance tests? What to do?

The answer: Visit trial gardens in your state or gardens in your town. Time is always limited but to see is to believe. Most of our products are fabulous and you will be pleased as punch to see a garden full of your cultivars. However, you will also be that much more educated when it comes to making choices for future products. And when someone asks you what you think of plant such and such, you can do more than shrug your shoulders.

One For The Road

After all my years of research, articles, talks and lectures about how to prepare plants for the marketplace, it is doubtful that a few more words will dent the hide of ignorance. However, we must tone the plants prior to moving them to the retailer, and hardening them off does not include a shot of fertilizer to green them up as they go out the door. What to do?

The answer: Reduce fertility by half and hold back water as possible. Don’t stop fertilizing, simply reduce it. I realize some systems don’t allow much manipulation of fertility concentrations, but figure it out. If we don’t take the time to reduce fertility and water in the last few weeks before sales, retailers will sell an inferior product and gardeners will be less inclined to succeed.

And in case you haven’t gotten my gist yet, they are the important ones. Helping the public succeed must be the philosophy of every link of the floricultural chain, and drowning your plants in blue water as they depart is a definite chain chinker.

Shoppers Love Good Labels

Labeling costs money, and as margins shrink, costs must be reduced. Perhaps better labeling is more of a retailer problem than a grower problem. But let’s face it: We’ll end up doing most of it ourselves anyway.

Numerous articles have recently shown how other countries seem to be able to use larger, more colorful and more educational labels than we do–and still make a profit. It is well known that color sells our product, and it is inevitable that labels will become part of that color. This is certainly true with products like perennials and specialty annuals that may not always be in full color at time of sale. What to do?
The answer: Special labels may be justified for special programs, such as one for a line of perennials or specialty annuals. If shoppers are attracted to labels then additional plants will be sold. However, get ready, because the label that states “Red Petunia” will be insufficient in the next couple of years.

Gardening Must Be Fun

Gardeners are a varied lot, including those who delight at the sight of 99-cent impatiens to those who buy flats of the same impatiens, to those who wouldn’t have an impatiens in their garden. From our point of view, it doesn’t matter; as long as everyone succeeds. That is, when the one black petunia or one tall perennial or a dozen calibrachoa baskets are planted, they are ready to take off and provide fun for the gardener.

A good planting begets more plants, more good stories and results in more gardeners coming into the fold. Otherwise, they will buy chocolates, get big and fat and won’t be able to bend over to plant our magnificent plants at all–all because we sold them a lousy plant. What to do?

The answer: Do your best, have fun and enjoy the fraternity of gardeners. They are the future.

Leave a Reply

More From Varieties...
Hydrangea ‘Endless Summer BloomStruck’ (Bailey Nurseries)

January 19, 2017

Bailey Nurseries Hosting Spring Previews in February

The previews, which provide education, new variety information, and retail support programs, will take place in Illinois, Minnesota, and Boston.

Read More
Selecta Sponsor bed at Raker trial gardens

January 18, 2017

2016 C. Raker & Sons Field Trials Results

Check out the 2016 field trials results for C. Raker & Sons in Litchfield, MI.

Read More
Joe Cimino, Sakata Seed America

January 17, 2017

Sakata Seed Names New Senior Sales Manager for Ornamentals

Joe Cimino comes to Sakata with past experience at Sun Gro and Florexpo.

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

January 19, 2017

Bailey Nurseries Hosting Spring Previews in February

The previews, which provide education, new variety information, and retail support programs, will take place in Illinois, Minnesota, and Boston.

Read More
Selecta Sponsor bed at Raker trial gardens

January 18, 2017

2016 C. Raker & Sons Field Trials Results

Check out the 2016 field trials results for C. Raker & Sons in Litchfield, MI.

Read More
Joe Cimino, Sakata Seed America

January 17, 2017

Sakata Seed Names New Senior Sales Manager for Ornament…

Joe Cimino comes to Sakata with past experience at Sun Gro and Florexpo.

Read More
JinPin Flower Seedling Company partners

January 17, 2017

Ernst Benary Partners With Chinese Young Plant Grower o…

The partnership creates a new company called Jinpin Flower Seedling Company, which will focus on providing young plants to the rapidly growing Chinese bedding plant market.

Read More
Dipladenia Sundenia

January 11, 2017

New Tropical and Foliage Plants That Offer Hidden Benef…

Tropical and foliage plants can offer extra paybacks to your customers in terms of health-promoting benefits such as filtering the air, reducing stress, and absorbing noise. Consider these new varieties, hitting the retail market in 2017, for your product mix.

Read More
craspedia-golf-beauty-danziger-feature

January 9, 2017

Growing Tips for Craspedia ‘Golf Beauty’

Laura Robles of Mast Young Plants offers advice on ‘Golf Beauty,’ a novelty plant with can’t-miss yellow flower heads and silver foliage that blooms throughout the summer.

Read More
Bride with wedding orchids.

January 7, 2017

How to Stand Out in the Orchid Market

With the popularity of the Phalaenopsis orchid growing and its saturation in the market, orchid growers are hunting for new ways to stand out from their competitors.

Read More
California Coast

January 3, 2017

Expect Big Changes for California Spring Trials 2017

California Spring Trials 2017 will be here before you know it. Find out what you can look forward to and get a head start on planning and registering for your trip.

Read More
westerlay-orchids-feature

January 1, 2017

How Westerlay Orchids Solved Its Bacteria Problem

Water-borne bacteria was causing havoc with Westerlay Orchids’ production, so the company took preventative action to ensure the health of its plants.

Read More
nepeta-purple-wave-with-roses

December 30, 2016

Allan Armitage: Plants That Can Bring Success in the Ne…

Are you wondering which plants to grow? Here are some perennials, annuals, and herbs that are gaining popularity.

Read More
Honeybelle combo

December 27, 2016

19 New Combos for Containers Big and Small

Check out 19 combos and mixes new for the retail marketplace in 2017 that offer something for every container type.

Read More
sun-parasol-original-crimson-web

December 20, 2016

Suntory Launches Unrooted Cuttings Program for Sun Para…

While the domestically produced rooting program for the Sun Parasol will continue, growers who would like to purchase unrooted cuttings will have the opportunity for the Sun Parasol Original varieties and Garden Crimson.

Read More
santos flare

December 20, 2016

Ball Horticultural Expands Potted Plant Offerings With …

Ex-Plant, which specializes in potted plants, will become a part of Ball’s PanAmerican Seed division.

Read More

December 16, 2016

Please Take Greenhouse Grower’s 2016 Poinsettia S…

Are plant sales up or down compared to last year? How did Black Friday set the tone for this season? What varieties and sizes were your best sellers? Did you try anything new this year to appeal to younger consumer demographics? We tackle all of these questions and more to help you understand the trends in Greenhouse Grower's 2016 Poinsettia Survey.

Read More

December 13, 2016

Dümmen Orange Shares Trends And Season-Extending Tips A…

As a purveyor of a wide collection of poinsettia and potted plant genetics, Dümmen Orange offered attendees a look at current trends – and a glimpse into the future – at its annual event in Columbus, OH.

Read More
Lollipop Flaming Hot Melon combo

December 13, 2016

21 New Combos For Spring To Fall Color In 2017

With the flood of new varieties and flower colors coming on the market, there is no end to the combinations and mixes available for hanging baskets and containers.

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