Research indicates that shrubs in mixed containers have piqued the interest of consumers. Alec Charais, marketing
1 | What makes using shrubs in decorative containers appealing for the end consumer, and what should a grower know before implementing a production program that incorporates them in the mix?
When it comes to container gardening and gardening in general, people are looking for plants that are an extension of their own personal style. For
2 | Are there certain varieties that work best, and what should someone keep in mind when creating a combination recipe?
The beautiful thing about it is that really, anything can work. Certainly, there are some items that are more desirable than others. Flowering shrubs with a long bloom period and compact
3 | In terms of finishing time and the care involved during production, what are some key cultural considerations (pruning, PGRs, fertility, etc.) for growers?
There are a number of ways for growers to produce decorative containers that feature ornamental shrubs. For example, Hydrangea
4 | What should retailers do to keep them looking good on the shelf? How about consumers once they get them home?
Like all retail products, the first rule is to sell the inventory so you don’t have to care for it long term. That said, their care is really no different and is likely easier than with annual combos since shrubs don’t require constant deadheading and nutrition. If the grower has incorporated a slow-release fertilizer in the media, then infrequent water-soluble nutrition is more than enough to supplement their requirements. The same would be said for the consumer once they have them home.
5 | From a pricing perspective, what about the cost/price/value equation? Are their price points to keep in mind?
This is where many growers get hung up. Due to the long-term nature of woody plant production as compared to bedding plants, liner selection is the most important influence on both quality and profitability. This allows flexibility for the grower to simply bring material in when they are ready for it, minimizing the amount of time caring for it. Some growers may opt to use potted liners or bare root if their facilities are set up for it, which can reduce their up-front costs provided they have the production capacity for this. NM
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