Saturday, August 11, 2018

How to decide who gets this rare plant?

String Of Hearts - Pink

The collectors are coming out of the woodwork.  This rare pink form of String of Hearts (Ceropegia woodii) is very desirable.  If you really want one, what price will you pay?

The eBay market has some reasonable low prices ($14 - $ 36).  The catch is that nobody has any quantity.  If I ration every customer to 6 pots, I will need 300.

Pink variegated plants grow slowly.  It may take a year to get 300 Pots.

Now who should get them …. And at what price?

When there is short supply, most small businesses take care of their best customers.  Good Will counts.

Less friendly but fair is ‘First come, First served’ at the ‘Fair Market Price’.

How to determine the market price when there are so few available?

The demand for these pretty pink hearts will never be satisfied!

String of Hearts - Ceropegia woodii variegata

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

String of Dolphins... You gotta see this!

String of Dolphins
 String of Dolphins… You gotta see this!

            Plants can be interesting in any number of ways--- color, flowering, variegation, size or shape.

            Common names and novelty help attract casual lookers.  We have String of Peas (Senecio rowleyanus), String of Beads (Senecio herrianus), String of Bananas (Senecio herrianus).

            Now we’ve found the most clever of them all ---String of Dolphins.  By looking at the leaves up close and at the right angle, there is no doubt that this is a Dolphin.  The diving Dolphin has one or two fins on its arching body.

            I don’t understand how this novel plant (Senecio pregrinus) has not been around. It’s not in commercial production and is still only found from eBay collectors at high prices.

            I paid those high prices and am attempting to build stock.  So far, it is easy enough.  Those indoor gardeners lucky enough to find one will have no trouble growing Dolphins at the windowsill.

            Will this be the next internet wonder to sweep through the expanding houseplant craze?

Diving Dolphin's body

Monday, July 30, 2018

International News

         Chris Beytes, Editor of Grower Talks' Acres Online, visited our Penn State Flower Trials at Landisville and talked to the group with his insights on the horticulture industry.  He stopped by my table at the Mini trade show where 15 vendors advertised their plants.  He told me that his wife, who has a horticulture background, had recently discovered the Chinese Money Plant and its high price.  So, Chris has been following this internet phenomenon.

          I am honored that he included my story into his online news and commentary, seen by 23,102 loyal readers around the World.

Chris Beytes...

         "I was impressed to learn that Gary Hunter of Gary's Specialty Plants was moving loads of small foliage plants and hanging baskets to area retailers. He got into houseplants from annuals about 8 years ago and now moves a ton of them. He even had the current "it" plant, Pilea peperomioides, in 2.5-inch pots."

Showing off Chinese Money Plant at Landisville Flower Trials 

Sunday, May 27, 2018

How to create the next Pilea peperomioides?

Pilea peperomioides

           The Chinese Money Plant came out of nowhere.  It is the equivalent of a country song hitting the top ten.    Every song that is produced is expected to be a hit, but no one can predict if a new song will be the most popular.

            A few growers caught on to the wave of demand for Pilea peperomioides.  Were they lucky to grab the limited supply and put effort into keeping the ball rolling?  Well, you can make your own luck.

            The Pilea that looks like a Peperomia is a legitimate easy to grow houseplant.  After the boom, there won’t be a bust.  It will take its place in the assortment of standard houseplants.

            Can a grower create a purposeful viral demand for a new plant?  No.

            Seldom has there been this bottom-up demand for a plant that was not even being produced in the United States.

            So, let’s get serious about creating the next Pilea peperomioides.
            To me, the most logical unknown plant is Peperomia polybotrya, ‘Owl Eye’.  It’s mentioned in the Pilea discussion as similar and is often confused with each other.

            Guess what?  There is no supply.  At least no big numbers that are required to support a new viral demand.

            Peperomia polybotrya is a very attractive foliage houseplant.  It has large shiny oval leaves with a pronounced omphalodium (navel), with radiating lines.  Thus, the appearance of ‘Owl Eyes”.  (No, I never knew the word ‘omphalodium’ or what it means)

            Conventional vegetative propagation could supply local demand, if it exists.  There will be sales by association with the Chinese Money Plant.  There can not be run away sales because there will be no supply.

            Enter tissue culture.  If someone commits time, money and effort into a tissue culture project, then infinite supply is possible.  But if ‘Owl Eye’ never leaves the bottom of the hit charts, it will be folly.


Peperomia polybotrya

Friday, May 25, 2018

I'm World Famous Again!

Buy your ticket now !

          Come to Madcap & Co, Lancaster, PA to learn about new and interesting houseplants.

          Learn more and Buy your ticket here:

Sunday, April 22, 2018

And What Do You Do?

Kevin Cohn

            When we meet someone new and try to get past the awkward dance of what to say, we look for neutral ground.  After a few minutes, it’s usually safe to ask: “And what do you do?”

            When it’s my turn, I’ve always said: “I’m in the greenhouse business, I grow plants for sale.”  The first part has always been misleading because it sounds like I sell greenhouses, so I added the plants.  It’s matter-of-fact and not that interesting.
            I ran into a TED talk that presented that we should start our answer to—what do you do, with “I help….”

            “I help Garden Centers find interesting ‘Mini’ plants.”

            This usually leads to follow up questions like: “How do you do that?” or ‘What kind of plants?”

            If this meeting is with the Garden Center houseplant buyer, I can go deeper.

            I have a collection of foliage houseplants that are not commonly available.  They are selected to be suitable for Miniature Gardens and Terrariums.

            But we know that 90% of ‘Mini’ plants sold are not used in a Miniature Garden or Terrarium.  They are grown as a windowsill plant or moved into a bigger pot as a houseplant ---often put into a decorative container.

            And what do you do?