There are a bevy of tools available to growers via the Internet or their phone’s (or tablet’s) app store. Keeping abreast of everything can be challenging.
We’ve collected information on a few of the tools growers need to be aware of.
Mason Day, the founder of GrowIt!, sees his app as Yelp for plants. Users can snap photos of plants they encounter in their day-to-day life and then rate them on a scale of “leave it, like it or grow it.” The photos are filtered by region, making each user’s experience customized geographically. If you’re in Michigan, you’re not going to see plants from Florida and vice versa.
At first, GrowIt! might seem to have a consumer-only focus. But creative growers can get near instant feedback from impromptu focus groups via the app.
“Growers can go on there and post photos of things that they’re growing,” Day says. “If they have a mixed combination program, and they want to know what people think about it, they can go out and take pictures of their combinations, label what’s in it, upload it to the app and see what people in the area rate it.”
More than 6,000 photos have already been uploaded to the app and more plants are being added to the database every day. Day sees the app becoming more friendly and informative for the industry-at-large.
“GrowIt! is heavily consumer focused but we see it as a venue for the industry to figure out what consumers like,” Day says. He adds that if consumers in a particular geographic region are giving high-ratings to blue salvias, then growers and retailers will know which varieties they should be producing and selling more.
Growers and grower-retailers who want to learn more about what plants are performing well in their area would be well advised to frequent www.all-americaselections.org
. All-America Selections tests new cultivars, doles out awards for best performance and attempts to earn and hold onto the trust of gardeners.
The organization recently added a program trialing herbaceous perennials. They will conduct the trials in association with the Perennial Plant Association.
Benchcards from Ball Horticultural and America in Bloom
Benchcards can help your plants standout at retail. If you’re not using them currently, you should consider visiting www.ballseed.com/Retailers/BenchCards.aspx
and downloading the free cards available from Ball and America in Bloom.
The benchcards include a strong message encouraging people to “Discover the Surprising Side of Plants.” Each card contains a little known fact about the benefits of plants. For instance, one card pictures a child watering a garden of flowers with a note reading, “Keeping plants in a child’s learning environment enhances learning capabilities by helping them focus and concentrate.”