“What have you done to take advantage of the current foliage plant boom and/or establish your business as a plant expert?”

We’ve always been known for our blooming and foliage plants. We do quite a few “Blooming Garden Baskets” with a small angel figurine in them for sympathy gifts. We explain that sending plants for sympathy gifts is a great idea because family members typically take them home to enjoy and they also will have the angel as a keepsake. We’ll also suggest them for short-term nursing facilities because patients often stay a little longer than flowers will last, and clients like that there will be something in the patient’s room that lasts longer. It’s an easy sell, they’re very cost-efficient to make and the profit margins are great.
Darlene Nelson
DLN Floral Creations
Naperville, Ill.

I offer a special on different 2-inch, 4-inch and 6-inch pot plants as well as 6-inch hanging foliage plants every week. I list them as “Growers Choice” so the vendor can select plants he wants to move and give me better pricing. This kind of arrangement can work just as well for smaller businesses, too.
Kasey L. Thornton
United Salad Company

My business focus is permanent botanicals, and in 2018, I added plants and foliage-only designs. Examples include miniature white compotes of ivy or fern, small maidenhair-fern wreaths, micro-greens in clay pots, large urn statement pieces with a variety of foliages and centerpieces featuring a combination of green bulbs with mixed spring greens. Customers love them!
Tamara Boos
Willard, Ohio

We are an Interior landscape company that specializes in bringing plants indoors to clean the air. Our focus is on sustainability and human health. We promote that, as well as that we do not use pesticides and work only with natural products.
Cheri Heffernan
Cheri’s Touch Interiorscapes
Amherst, Ohio

We’ve been known for years as a place to get advice, so playing “Ask a Florist” is nothing new for many of us, I’m sure. We must know at least the basics of plant care, so I make sure all who work for me do. We often let folks know the easiest way to care for plants and, just as important, the best ones to buy – especially for the newbies. They will remember you if their plants thrive.
We also spend time telling people not to over fuss with some plants because many thrive on a little neglect. We often hear how a cactus or succulent died although “I water it every day!” You have to teach customers; for example, spider plants won’t produce “babies” until they are a bit pot bound. I tell folks to treat their plants like a boyfriend or husband (this works best with male gender): “Ignore them a bit, and they will try harder to impress!” We have many customers who come in just for advice, and they often bring friends and/or buy more things. It’s all about growing the next generation of customers and keeping those we already have.
Neville MacKay, CAFA, PFCI
My Mother’s Bloomers
Halifax, N.S. Canada

I source mostly foliage plants that are regularly used in flower arranging or for venue decoration (song-of-India and other Dracaena, areca palms, Philodendron ‘Xanadu’, ornamental pineapples, Cordyline, sprengeri ferns, a few varieties of Heliconia, etc.) I propagate many plants from the mother plants and gift them to my loyal customers. This makes them happy and even more loyal to my business. They buy more, and they come to me for advice for their gardening requirements. I calculate that I get nearly 35 percent more business by doing this. Most important is that I have created an “Oxygen Zone” by surrounding my small flower stand/shop with plants, and consumers like that. I also have collected nearly 1,000 books on flower arranging and gardening that I lend to my top clients. They regard me as the plant, flower and gardening expert.
Pandharinath Mhaske
Sneh Florist
Pune, Maharashtra, India