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What to Grow & Sell in 2017

New cuttings are tested
Sales tracking shows that Supertunia® Vista Bubblegum® Petunia is consistently popular with consumers.

If you know what consumers buy at retail, you can take a lot of risk out of planning for 2017.

Growers and garden retailers have a trusted resource at their fingertips with the new Four Star bar code sales data from 2016. This program, which was begun in 2013, was designed to give growers and retailers hard data on what consumers are buying.

Consumer surveys and interviews only go so far, but retail sales data (now tracked at 10 retailers around the country) shows true consumer preferences and purchases. By using this direct feedback from consumers to plan for 2017 growing and retail operations, Four Star customers have a definite advantage.

Plan 2017 with confidence

“This program evolved because we know what sells and want to give confidence to our customers,” explains Amber Coch, Retail Ready Sales Manager. “We have customer feedback via the 2016 sales, which helps us plan our own production for the next year. We produce higher numbers of the top varieties so that they are available to meet demand.”

“The information is really helpful as we continue to help retailers offer more value to their customers,” she notes. “Those retailers who create a destination (such as a Proven Winners® Store-within-a-Store) help their customers easily find the products that are going to make them successful and give them superior garden performance. This success, along with things like high quality container options, creates returning customers and higher profits.

The bar code tracking ranks the most popular plants from retail sales of Grande™ and Royale™ containers, 10-in. hanging baskets (combinations and monocultures), shrubs and perennials. Sales data are broken down to rank varieties, show container size preferences and point to the most popular combinations for future planning. Four Star provides customers with complete lists of the following:

  • Top 25 Grandes
  • Top 25 Royales
  • Top 10 10-in. Hanging Basket Combinations, Supertunia® monos and Superbells® monos
  • Top 5 ColorChoice® shrubs
  • Top 5 Proven Winners® perennials.

“With so many varieties available in the marketplace, we feel this information can really help growers and retailers narrow down their choices to give consumers the ‘best of the best,’” she adds.

Classics and new varieties

“Every year for our production, we develop a mix of the existing varieties and combinations with promising new ones that are trialed and carefully selected,” Coch says. “Because we work with growers around the United States, we also understand the need for different mixes suited to different regions, and have a good handle on those top varieties so that they are always in production.”

The bar code data gives both growers and retailers confirmation of the demand for classic bestsellers, such as Supertunia Royal Velvet Petunia, Señorita Rosalita® Cleome, and Diamond Frost® Euphorbia. “These classics typically have really high sell through,” she notes.

But the data also show the impact of new Proven Winners® and Proven Selections® varieties that have entered the market. “Superbells Holy Moly!™ is huge,” Coch notes, “and is the number one selling Superbells monoculture hanging basket. Superbells Grape Punch is a wonderful improvement and buyers see the difference. Consumers gravitate to whatever is striking when they see it on the shelf.”

Partnering with growers and retailers

The bar code program originally started by measuring 2013 sales with just a few retailers, and has now expanded to about ten firms in the U.S. In addition, Coch relies on an “advisory board” of retailers for advice.

“What sets us apart is all the work we do to measure sales with the bar code scanning system, our trialing programs and our work with a small group of garden retailers to advise us,” Coch explains. “We value their feedback and the collaboration between us, because it helps us build better partnerships. We’re interested in helping our customers be successful. As an example of this collaboration, I’m finalizing our retail selections for 2017 now, and I want to get this group’s feedback so that we are all more successful together.”

2016 Bar Code Sales Sampler

These lists are just a sample of the actual sales data available. Contact your Four Star representative to get information on all the best selling products from 2016.

Top 6 Grande™ Varieties

  • Supertunia® Royal Velvet Petunia
  • Lemon Coral™ Sedum
  • Diamond Frost® Euphorbia
  • Sweet Caroline Light Green Ipomoea
  • Snowstorm® Giant Snowflake® Sutera
  • Supertunia Vista Bubblegum® Petunia
Supertunia© Royal Velvet Petunia
Supertunia© Royal Velvet Petunia

Top 5 Royale™ Varieties

  • Graceful Grasses® Purple Fountain Grass Pennisetum
  • Graceful Grasses® King Tut® Cyperus
  • Graceful Grasses® ‘Fireworks’ Pennisetum
  • Lemon Coral™ Sedum
  • Lemon A-PEEL® Thunbergia
Lemon Coral™ Sedum
Lemon Coral™ Sedum

Top 3 10-in. HB Combinations

  • Starry Night
  • Bahama Beach
  • Bermuda Skies
Bahama Beach Combination
Bahama Beach Combination

Top 3 10-in. HB Supertunia® Monos

  • Bordeaux™
  • Royal Velvet
  • Vista Bubblegum®
Supertunia® Bordeaux™ Petunia
Supertunia® Bordeaux™ Petunia

Top 3 ColorChoice® Shrubs

  • Cityline® Rio Hydrangea
  • Cityline® Venice Hydrangea
  • Bobo® Hydrangea
Cityline® Rio Hydrangea
Cityline® Rio Hydrangea

Top 3 Proven Winners® Perennials

  • Dolce® Blackcurrant
  • Dolce® Crème Brûlée
  • Dolce® ‘Blackberry Ice’
Dolce® Blackcurrant Heuchera
Dolce® Blackcurrant Heuchera

Top 3 10-in HB Superbells® Monos

  • Holy Moly!™
  • Pink
  • Evening Star
Superbells® Holy Moly!™ Calibrachoa
Superbells® Holy Moly!™ Calibrachoa


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