After months of promotions, the HGTV Home Plant Collection arrived in garden centers across the country last week, just in time for Mother’s Day.
“A small amount arrived in the retail stores on Tuesday with the larger push happening this week,” says Bachman’s Floral, Gift & Garden’s Jeff Pilla. Minneapolis-based Bachman’s is one of the more than 375 stores nationwide that have begun receiving the plant collection.
This first collection from HGTV, dubbed “Expressions,” is aiming for a premium niche, with plants in quart and gallon pots, in 14-inch hanging baskets and 12-inch mixed plantings in urns. No smaller pots are currently included.
The Expressions collection of 34 annuals varieties is just the first that HGTV plans to roll out over the next couple of years. The next collection to debut will be perennials, currently scheduled for 2013. Other plant groups like trees and edibles are likely in the future as well.
As for the current collection, Expressions has been subdivided into four groups, well matched in color, bloom timing and growth:
Confetti Craze is made up of petunias in bold, saturated purples, red, pinks and yellows. HGTV created two mixes within this group (which can be sold in a hanging basket or an urn) – Bold Primary, with red, purple and yellow petunias, and Tropical Blowout, with red, purple and pink petunias.
This grouping is the most varied, with delicate whites and yellows, as well as large purple and salmon blooms. There are three mix plantings in Friendly Fusions – Orange Bliss, made up with soft corals, salmon and whites, Purple Genius, with three shades of purple and a touch of white, and Glow Yellow, which has muted yellows and whites.
Sassy Sweethearts is the most color-coordinated of the groupings, with only reds, pinks and whites. It includes a range of plants, including euphorbia, ipomoea, geraniums and petunias. It’s mixed planting is called Pink Flirt and balances frilly whites with romantic reds and pinks.
Big & Bold
Big & Bold lives up to its name, with large flowers like dahlias and geraniums included. The colors are front and center, with sharp yellows, reds blending with rich burgandy and purple. The mixed plantings focus on one main color, the appropriately named Brilliant Burgundy and Gorgeous Gold.
Participating retailers had to meet a three criteria in order to qualify for the program.
- There needs to be a minimum of 250 square feet of floor space in a prominent location devoted to the HGTV Home Plant Collection.
- Retailers are to use the POP materials provided.
- HGTV supplied a style guide to displaying its products, which is to be followed.
How Is The Collection Performing So Far?
This is a tricky question to answer, since the collection hasn’t been in stores for even a week.
“Most of the [plants in quart and gallon pots] that arrived last week have already sold through and there is only a small amount of the urns left,” Pilla says. He added that he would be in a better position to assess the Collection after another week had passed.
One reason only the annuals collection is available in 2012 is that this is a soft launch. The program is being taken out into real world situation in order see how it performs and make adjustments before the full launch in 2013.
“It’s a mistake to push something out and expect it to work flawlessly,” says Agricola’s marketing manager, Sarah Hayes. Agricola Management Group is the exclusive licensee for the HGTV Home Plant Collection.
Which proved true for one retailer in the Midwest, who told us she wanted to work with Agricola with some initial feedback on pot size and the quality of urns. Yet she likes the concept of the program and intends to continue participating.
“We have a huge brand to protect, we wanted to make sure we are doing our due diligence,” says Hayes.
Hayes and Agricola’s CEO Randy Hunter discussed the nuances of matching a product line to an established brand like HGTV.
First, Hunter pointed out, HGTV is viewed as having trust-worthy and obtainable programming. For products to match that image, they would need to offer quality and style, but not luxury.
That translates into mid-range prices for good quality, the same niche most independents aim for. The mixed containers were selling for $39, well shy of upper end containers which can be more than $100, but also above cheap mixes that run for less than $20.
“The overall concept is, no matter where you are on the scale from obsessive gardener to novice, this collection offers something for you,” says Hunter.