Matt Ruibal

Departments - Three Questions

Ruibal’s Plants of Texas’ vice president of growing operations talks trends, what his customers are buying and why knowing what they like is key to a successful business.

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March 26, 2019

Photo courtesy of Matt Ruibal

In the April 2018 issue, Greenhouse Management spoke to Matt Ruibal about how his business courts landscapers. You can find Ruibal’s comments here. Below, Greenhouse Management checks back in with Ruibal.

Greenhouse Management: What have been the big trends your customers have been asking for in the past year, and why do you think that is?

Matt Ruibal: Definitely the succulent market. That’s been a big thing that’s been steady over the last couple of years, but it’s really peaking right now, really being strong right now. It’s not anything new, but I think it’s just becoming widely popular. I think the more apartments come [into popularity], and the more people that come in, it’s an easy, interesting thing that people really seem to like, and they’re easy to take care of. One thing we’ve been doing is we offer succulent classes, where you get [with] 20 to 30 of your friends and you get to work with the plants.

GM: What crops are currently popular with your landscape customers, and are there specific colors — like Living Coral, the newest Pantone Color of the Year — you’ve seen people asking for?

MR: The pentas and the vinca are definitely still very strong and keep moving up just because you can plant them relatively early in the season and they’ll go all the way through until fall. The color trend just depends on the year. One year it’ll be white. The next year it’s mixed. The next year it’s rose. So you can’t gauge what the hot color’s going to be for the next year. I’d love to be able to, you just can’t. I think Living Coral will be [popular]. I don’t know if it’ll be the color, but yeah, there’s definitely a lot of interest in that. I’m sure there is a color we’re going to add, but once again it won’t be drastic, it’ll just be shifting. Say, if white didn’t sell [well] last year, we’ll either keep those flat and then move them to a rose or something.

GM: In selling to landscapers, is familiarity with their needs, knowing what they’ve ordered in the past and knowing what they might like, key to keeping them happy?

MR: It’s completely needed. If you don’t know what they’re going to do or what they have done, then you’re flying in blind and you never want to do that. You want to have a good grasp of what your big guys are going to use or what they have used, that way we can afford to ask them if there’s something not available because we plan stuff six months before they do. So we have to have a pretty good idea of what they’re going to do, just so we can get the stuff ordered, make sure seeds and plugs are ready or available, and if they’re not available then we can get with them and offer them subs or different options for what they used in the past, for what they may use in the future.