Spread Out With Diversity

scaNow is the time for diversity on your retail bench. The whole world will be marching into your place, so this is your opportunity to show them what you can offer beyond the usual inventory. Yes, you carry the popular crops that everybody else carries, but what makes you special?

Diversity is important because it’s what breaks you out from the generic and the commodity. It’s the reason customers go to a garden center instead of a chain. However, you don’t need to delve deep—just widen the playing field. Populate your cart with a little of this and a little of that—something unique here and something unusual around the corner to keep the customer exploring.

It’s simple: when you order your standard material, include some trays and pots that wander off the well-worn path. Here’s what we are shipping this week that is interesting, different and distinctive:



Wax begonias are the workhorses of our industry, but these Winged Begonias and Reiger Begonias are more like fashion models on the runway. In full bloom, they are showstoppers and deserve to be up front in display areas.

We support the Winged Begonias pretty aggressively and carry them in (6) sizes: 4.5-inch, 6-inch, 12cm, 8-inch, 1801L and 10-inch hanging baskets. From the famous Dragon Wings to the Million Kisses, Bon Bon and Baby Wings—we have them all in generous numbers. This is a category with growing sales.

Our Reigers are available in (7) different colors in 4.5-inch pots, and we still have baskets in Yellow and Orange. Reigers are stunning in full bloom so they tend to sell out early.



This is another crop we support with a strong selection. We carry (20) different types of Salvias in (6) different sizes. Try Mystic Spires Blue in 4.5-inch, Velocity Blue in 6-inch, Salsa Scarlet in 1203, and Vista Symphony Mix (purples, lavenders and whites) in 1801L.



We sell our Dahlias as a mix, but it is a pretty strong blend of colors, shades and styles. Dahlias have come to symbolize the start of summer, so be sure to order enough to make a showy display. We like our mix because it includes light and dark shades along with the fancy bi-colors.



These are the summer snapdragons. We sell (2) kinds: the standard upright version and the spreading type that tilts the bloom at an angle. Both are fantastic summer performers. This is another crop we support with (3) sizes of pots, (2) sizes of trays and in hanging baskets. Angelonias come in whites, pinks, blues, lavenders and purples; unusual colors would be the Rose and the Plum.



Lantanas are sold in smaller pots and in the landscape trays only. Bright balls of tropical color will make you get noticed. Lantanas come in lots of colors and bi-colors—not neon, but very bright and cheerful Hawaiian shades—so just get a few of each one. For landscapers, we recommend the mix as an easy way to infuse a rainbow of Lantana colors into a bed.



This is the tropical with style in flower and foliage plus a fast-growing habit. We sell Cannas in 8-inch pots, but they will fill a vertical space pretty quickly. Bear in mind, these are reasonably sized tropicals—not giants like the alocasias. We recommend ‘Red King Humber’, ‘Cleopatra’ and ‘Lemon Punch’ as a basic set. Add ‘Australia’, ‘Ermine’, and ‘Freckle Face’ if you want even more diversity.



We talked about our combination baskets last week, but we have a line of custom-mix Combination Planters as well. New this year we have 24-inch window boxes; we are also selling 12-inch, 14-inch and 16-inch planters. Shady Love is our best seller, but we have (25) different recipes available to ship.



This designer plant offers great diversity within the crop itself. The tint and cut of the leaves make it a fine choice when you need full-season color without much fuss. Our selection varies with the season and the demand. Right now we have (20) different colors in (4) sizes of pots and (2) types of trays. Shades range from a very light, bright green all the way to a deep, dark, almost black leaf.


geraniums ivy

Ivy Geraniums are both new and old. Our heritage geraniums, they have improved with new breeding. We have been extremely impressed with the quality of both the Caliente and Calliope series, and we offer the respected Contessa and Temprano series as well. All varieties are available in both 4.5-inch pots and 10-inch hanging baskets.



Our personal favorites, Verbenas grace the cover of our Spring Idea Book this year. We like the pastel colors, but Verbenas feature dark solids and interesting bi-colors as well. This is another category where every tray you order should be a different cultivar.



We mentioned Portulaca as a strong growth category at last year’s Field Day. The reason is that these plants combine the drought tolerance of succulents with incredibly vibrant color and a very easy-to-grow attitude. They offer bright colors for hot, dry places. Not only do we sell them as groundcover in 4.5-inch pots and 1203 trays, but they make surprisingly good 10-inch hanging baskets as well.



Its distinctive flower comes in blues and whites, although we have a pink, too. We offer Scaevola in (4) different pots, (2) flats and in a hanging basket also. This unique variety offers a different look, and it has its fans. We’ve had Scaevola in steady production for years, and it appeals to people who like dignified and well-stated presentations.