By catering to customers’ seasonal color preferences and creating inspired combinations, you can easily extend your selling season and grow more sales.
Bright yellows and reds dominate the landscape in late summer and fall. Gardeners can extend the season with a combination of colorful, hardy plants in Camp Fire, which combines Superbells® Yellow Calibrachoa, Flambé® Yellow Chrysocephalum, and Supertunia® Red Petunia.
By Kerry Meyer, Project Director, Proven Winners®
Any business worth its business plan is concerned with expanding sales. For industries like ours that are heavily impacted by seasonal sales, expanding the sales window — and the season — is one certain way to increase sales. These “shoulder-season” sales will be dependent on increasing traffic in the garden center and offering products that work well. We know that what our customers care about most is color — everything else is secondary to that concern.
This means that we also need to be highly concerned about color. Having color on our plants is certainly important, but having the right colors is even more important.
Sure, there are some people who will buy red, pink, yellow or chartreuse, regardless of season (that’s me — I love red!). However, studies have shown that the season impacts what colors people think are most attractive for flowers.
In spring, pinks, blues and purples are king. In the summer, attention turns to the hot colors — bright oranges, reds and yellows tend to be most eye-catching. For fall, more muted versions of those summer colors are tops — rusty oranges and burgundies are favorites over bright red. But bright yellow continues to be strong for both summer and fall.
Have you noticed that the Proven Winners® National Combinations lean heavily to pink, blue and purple? That’s because they appeal to the spring buyers. Of course, you’ll also want to have combinations with red, yellow and purple for the customers who prefer bright colors, but make sure your major focus plays to the crowd and your own customers’ tastes.
Now is the time to plan for fall. Here are some great season-extending ideas.
Combination planters for spring have become a must-have item for consumers and every garden center, great and small. Why aren’t we doing more combination planters for fall? There are so many possibilities.
Many spring combinations are stuffed quite full and look beautiful, but this arrangement can be challenging to grow in the summer. However, tightly stuffed plantings are exactly what you should be planting for fall. When those cool temperatures come in, the plants don’t grow. Leaving room for growth isn’t necessary. Stuffing them full of color is the way to go.
Two hardy and popular plants for fall combine for a different perspective in color. The Comfort Zone combination includes bright yellow Lemon Symphony Osteospermum and deep purple and white Anytime™ Sugarplum Pansiola.
When choosing plants, look for items that can take a hard frost before succumbing to the weather. I love Coleus and many of the colors are just right for fall, but with even the slightest frost, they are done. The same is true for Ipomoea (sweet potato vines). Although I do think foliage is a great way to add color for Fall combinations.
What are good foliage options for fall combinations? Dolce® Heuchera should certainly be on the list. The onset of cool temperatures makes the colors even more spectacular. Resist the urge to tell people, “and they are perennial, you can plant them in your landscape after they are done in fall.” Gardeners probably already know that, and decorators don’t want to have to think about planting. Ornamental grasses are another good foliage choice.
Fall is football season. Are you taking full advantage of the rabid fans in your midst? Add team-centric gear for the local high school, college and/or NFL football teams and then create planters that cater to the those teams. Red and white is easy enough to find in flower colors. Black and gold is a bit harder – but don’t forget the container is a color too, as are the team flags or ribbons you add to “brand” it for a team.
Matching large planters to flank the front door should be on your list. So should small planters that can be used on the tailgate table as a centerpiece. Keep them fresh and give your customers an excuse to come back every home-game weekend for a new one. How do you get the word out? Walk around the parking lot tailgate during the first home game and hand out coupons. You’ll more than likely be offered a brew and brat and you might be snagging new customers who will come back to check out what you have next spring, too!