Begonias and beyond

2019 Increasing Profits - Begonias

Green Valley Greenhouse relies on top-shelf plant material from Plantpeddler to fuel its growth.

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August 27, 2019

Green Valley Greenhouse produces bedding plants, mum, spring combos and other plants at its 17.5-acre facility in Ramsey, Minnesota.
Photos courtesy of Green Valley Greenhouse

Green Valley Greenhouse, located in Ramsey, Minnesota, specializes in seasonal finished crops. That means, for instance, that it starts its annual production each year with Easter Lilies before transitioning to major spring crops such as patio pots, hanging baskets and various 4-inch annuals. From there, it’s onto the next cycle. 

According to Co-owner and President Aaron Davis, Green Valley’s sales are split between its own garden center — located on the same site as the greenhouse — big box stores and local grocery chains. With such an array of customers to serve, the business needs high-quality plant material to start the growing process with. 

“It’s very important to us to maintain high-quality standards,” Davis says. “We are going to let that define us.” 

That’s where Plantpeddler comes in. The Cresco, Iowa-based operation is Green Valley’s largest supplier of plant material year-round. Green Valley gets everything from begonia cuttings to geraniums to poinsettias from Plantpeddler. The relationship between the two companies dates back to the late 1990s, around the time when Davis and fellow co-owner/CEO Brad Wolf took over the business. 

“They are great with their customer service. If there’s a problem or something needs to be substituted, they let us know right away,” says grower Jamie Bloomquist. “Their quality is great. If we have any requests, they always try to fill our needs.” Bloomquist says she knows Plantpeddler’s material is always quality because it hasn’t been oversaturated with PGRs and always has healthy roots. 

“They’re close to us too, so they can ship on carts instead of having to box up the plants and [they] ensure that it’s shipped properly,” Wolf says. “It’s essentially a greenhouse-to-greenhouse transaction.” Bloomquist also cites Plantpeddler’s trial garden — which was just expanded this summer — as a reason why Green Valley trusts Plantpeddler. She says seeing how 1,000-plus new genetics perform outdoors, and in a similar climate to Minnesota’s, is essential in knowing which plants to order and which plants to stay away from.

Now, Green Valley is in the process of scaling up — sales have risen each of the past two years — and is adding an additional 2.5 acres of greenhouse space to its operation as a burgeoning partnership with a retail client demands more space. As that project moves forward, and Green Valley begins mapping out what it’ll be producing, they know that whatever it is that they are growing — be it begonias, combo planters or poinsettias — they know they are growing from a position of strength. 

“We’re getting a lot of different genetics from one place, and that’s huge,” Davis says. “Mike [Gooder] is very visible and helpful to us, so it’s both a great relationship and great product.”