Page 7 - Griffin Gazette Spring 2017
P. 7

“In exchange for their positive environmental                                                           Due to utility, Carex continues to gain
impact, native plants offer several maintenance                                                         momentum in the horticultural and
advantages. They require less water and less                                                            ecological landscape markets. From
fertilizer after establishment. Native plants are                                                       obligate to upland conditions, sedges thrive
less susceptible to pests and diseases, too.”                                                           in an assortment of environments, help to
                                                                                                        control erosion, provide habitat and are an
                                                 Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii ‘Little Goldstar.’  excellent native alternative to Liriope. Take
                                                 Photo courtesy of North Creek Nurseries.               advantage of the versatility of this genus by
                                                                                                        creating a native sedge collection. From the
Callisia rosea ‘Morning Grace.’ Image courtesy   Erigeron pulchellus var. pulchellus ‘Lynnhaven         shade and sun tolerant Carex amphibola
of North Creek Nurseries.                        Carpet.’ Photo courtesy North Creek Nurseries.         (eastern narrowleaf sedge) to the salt
                                                                                                        tolerance of Carex comosa (longhair
In exchange for their positive environmental     For this to happen, and plants to arrive ‘just         sedge) and the erosion control capacity of
impact, native plants offer several              in time,’ retail buyers need to rely on their          Carex pensylvanica (Pennsylvania sedge) –
maintenance advantages. They require less        trusted and knowledgeable growers or                   sedges are a fantastic lawn alternative and
water and less fertilizer after establishment.   suppliers. If you don’t know, ask! Work with           act as living mulch for the perennial border.
Native plants are less susceptible to pests      your Griffin sales representative and their
and diseases, too.                               extended network of experts; they offer a              Fern availability is selling out at record
                                                 wealth of knowledge and are ready to build             pace. In addition to texture, some species
From the Bench Up                                a successful native plant program with you.            of ferns provide architectural appeal such
Building a successful native plant program                                                              as Osmunda cinnamomea (cinnamon
for retail doesn’t need to be overwhelming       For growers, you’ll need to diversify your             fern) and Adiantum pedatum (northern
or difficult. Native plants aren’t fussy.        product mix by adding depth to your                    maidenhair), while others cure erosion
Far too often, native perennials are             customers’ sales windows and encouraging               issues such as Dennstaedtia punctilobula
unnecessarily cast into the ‘messy’ or           repeat retail sales. Spring and fall are peak          (eastern hayscenterd fern) and Matteuccia
‘wild’ categories. This impression is both       seasons for planting perennials. Add depth             struthiopteris (ostrich fern).
unfair and unwarranted. Successful retail        to seasonal flower power by supplementing
strategies for selling native plants are rooted  spring and fall color with tried and                   A quick tip for growers: To reduce your
in knowledge, network and depth.                 true collections.                                      production cycle and free up valuable
                                                                                                        greenhouse space quickly, consider potting
Knowing when to pot specific crops and           Consider Carex and Ferns                               up larger LP32 plugs for a quick finish in a
the associated finish times allows growers       Perennial gardens aren’t all about the                 1-, 2- or 3-gallon containers.
to reliably deliver prime perennial product      flower power. Texture is also trending now!
for impulse purchases and quick turns.                                                                  Tips for Selling Native at Retail
                                                                                                        Whether you’re using a branded program
                                                                                                        such as American Beauties Native Plants
                                                                                                        or traditional black pots, create a space
                                                                                                        for patrons to linger and learn about the
                                                                                                        beauty and benefits of native plants. Make
                                                                                                        it prominent, informative and impactful.
                                                                                                        Design it with your customer’s success in
                                                                                                        mind, show them that you mean business
                                                                                                        and stand proudly behind the beauty and
                                                                                                        utility of natives. Educate your staff and
                                                                                                        have at least one employee on board as the
                                                                                                        ambassador for your native plant program.

                                                                                                        Make your native plant ‘zones’ easy to
                                                                                                        identify. As an example, create collections
                                                                                                        around butterfly and bird attractors,
                                                                                                        plants that tolerate wet feet, drought-
                                                                                                        tolerant water-wise gardens and native
                                                                                                        plants for dry shade. Incorporate bold
                                                                                                        interpretive signage similar to products
                                                                                                        offered by Garden Center Marketing,
                                                                                                        Inc. Utilize partnerships and promote
                                                                                                        like-minded organizations such as the
                                                                                                        Pollinator Partnership, the Xerces Society,
                                                                                                        the Audubon Society and the National
                                                                                                        Wildlife Federation. These organizations
                                                                                                        offer a host of information about native
                                                                                                        plants and their interaction with birds, bees
                                                                                                        and butterflies.

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