Take Five | Selling Houseplants Can Grow Your Business
Maybe because so many Millennials are apartment dwellers. Maybe because Empty Nesters crave something to take care of. Maybe because the decluttering rage has people keeping only things that bring joy. Maybe because not breathing toxic air is a good thing. Maybe because the planet needs its water purified and carbon stored. Or maybe because houseplants bring natural life and beauty to any space.
And, maybe, during this collective obsession, it would behoove specialty shops to add a selection of living plants to their product mix. Even introducing a few, perhaps a springtime special, or trendy tree, will bring calming, living energy to any shop.
Given all of the above, it’s no coincidence that indoor plant purchases are growing at a frenzied pace. Added bonus: it’s pretty much guaranteed that customers won’t be buying them online!
Of course, as a body-mind-spirit retailer, you undoubtedly know that plants are the backbone of life on earth, essential for the well-being of humanity. Life literally depends on plants and we thank them profusely. So, how about letting your shop lead up the garden path and represent what it means to nurture the planet in an indoor foliage sort of way?
Flora and fauna fervor is great, until it (the plant) dies. We’ve all murdered a few. But rather than giving up and purchasing a plastic version, with your help, customers can succeed with their potted pals. There’s so much to learn about (and from) our leafy loves being forced to live inside. Even the more well-adjusted ones haven’t mastered talking (out loud) yet. So, if it’s scary to dig in, here are five suggestions to cultivate and carry houseplants in your shop:
1 Find the easy to grow ones.
If your green thumb is still a bit ‘green,’ stay away from the tricky ones. Find a wholesale nursery (or even a home supply store) and ask lots of questions. Google easiest indoor plants to grow. Choose ones that will work in various conditions, since all plants (and their future homes) are different. Some need tons of light, some don’t. Some need lots of water, some don’t. However, the one thing they all need is love, so make sure they get plenty.
2 Get to the root.
Streamline your research and print up easy to follow instructions. Let customers know you’re available to answer questions after they adopt their perfect plant. Don’t offer guarantees, but it’s guaranteed that if said purchase dies quickly, they won’t be happy. (Read: Storm in with a major attitude!)
3 Display beautifully.
Don’t just stick one in a corner or randomly put some in a window. Invest in some unique, artsy pots so shoppers will be inspired to buy them together. Search out containers that won’t ever be found at a nursery, of course. Perhaps ask a local ceramic artist to create a one-of-a-kind line just for your shop. Plants make perfect gifts, especially if they’re paired with a stunning container.
4 No jungle.
Nothing’s worse than having limited choices, so offer a decent variety of sizes and types. However, since you’re not a plant store, don’t overwhelm – stick to the basics and give simple directions such as:
- Transplant when it gets root-bound, depending on the plant and the container size.
- Give time to adjust to a new environment. If they go into shock, there may be serious consequences. Be alert to any sudden changes (i.e. Leaf drooping or droppage, etc.), making rapid adjustments to where they were set, how much water they were provided and their humidity level.
- Don’t put plants on the same watering schedule since they’re all different. Sticking a finger into the soil to see if the top inch is dry is the best gauge.
- Many houseplants go dormant in winter, stop producing foliage and may shed old leaves. Explain that, during dormancy, cut back on water, stop fertilizing and protect from sudden temperature changes such as drafts and heater vents.
- Some of the hardiest, neglect-tolerant plants are: Ivy, snake, Zamioculcas, zamiifolia (ZZ), dracaena, zebra, areca palm, fiddle leaf fig, flowering peace lily, pothos and ficus. If you don’t mind a bit more care, no one can resist an elegant orchid plant, with moth orchids the easiest. Their showy flowers last for weeks, so they’ll be an eye-catcher. Although succulents and cacti look like an easy, sturdy choice, most are challenging to grow indoors. And do fahgetabout finicky ferns!
5 Create a “secret garden” section.
If you’re ready to flourish, set aside an area to sell plant-related items. A corner, an area near a window, a place that doesn’t do well and needs some beckoning plant vigor. Wherever you choose, fill it with things such as: grow-your-own herb sets; decorative garden tools; indoor gardening and/or landscaping books; bells and chimes; plant stands; birdhouses and feeders; plant stakes; garden signs, etc.
Final Warning: No matter how real they look, or how easy they are to maintain, fake plants (plastic or silk), will never fool anyone and will never compete energetically to the lush, vital, alive ones! Nip that idea in the bud!