Saturday, November 28, 2020

Too much choice?

Sinningias -- Infinite variety


Too much choice.


            How can you possibly have too much choice?


            I’m convinced that if you have more variety of plants that you will sell more.


            There is a theory that humans, when confronted with too many variations of an item, will ultimately get confused and buy none of them.




            I tried to buy a toaster once and could not decide how its features were different or better.  I bought the $20 one.


            Too much choice conflicts with the long tail theory.  In music, all the money goes to the top 10 songs. But the least popular still may sell one or two.  Digital products allow this because there is no cost to stocking every song ever made.


            Physical products are more limited because they take up space in the store and may never be sold.


            Are plants like this?  Do plants follow the 80-20 rule, which says that 80% of the sales come from 20% of the plants shown.


            A Mum in the Fall, a Geranium in the Spring, a Poinsettia at Christmas.  You would be foolish to go against this 80-20 rule. But if you grow commodity plants, don’t expect to sell at higher than normal prices.


            However, if you grow a choice of unusual plants, price is irrelevant, and the long tail of variety works.


            More choice is what you want.

Monday, November 23, 2020

How do you maintain a shortage?

                                               Diastema comiferium grown by Ingrid

How do you maintain a shortage?


            Supply and demand.  High demand --- raise the price.  High supply --- lower the price.


            What every business tries to do is raise the price as high as possible to stay in business for the short term and the long term.


            If your product is perceived to be priced too high relative to the competition, sales go down, so you lower the price in the short term to sell your inventory.  If you must lower your price below your cost, then in the long term you go out of business.


            But we want to study the example of very limited supply and no competition. The sales price can be very high to satisfy the select few who are willing to pay the high price. (Hot Plant)


            If somehow the supply can be increased, what to do?


            My previous advice was: “The obvious marketing plan is to have 10 for sale but have a thousand in the back greenhouse.”


            If I have 100 pots per week that can be sold for $10 each, what are 1,000 pots per week worth?


            A plant buyer never knows how much it costs to produce the plant nor how many you have, only what they are willing to pay for it.

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Panic --- What's the next 'New Hot' plant?

                                                          Sinningia 'Kaleidoscope'

Panic --- What is the next new ‘hot’ plant?


            Right now, just about any houseplant can be sold.


            What we are searching for is the plant that everyone wants.


            If there was ever a Catch-22, it is this dilemma.  The plant collector wants the plant that nobody has.  Then that means that there aren’t any to have.


            The original Catch-22 was when you could only get in to see the Major when he wasn’t there.  If he was in his office, you could not get in to talk to him.


            Who knows what plant should we be propagating so when it is sought after, we can have more than 10 to sell?  The obvious marketing plan is to have only 10 for sale but have a thousand in the back greenhouse.


            Fortunes have been made with guessing what scarce resource you should buy up and wait for the demand to hit.


            I knew a guy who bought a lot of slide rules anticipating that when nostalgia set in, slide rule jockeys from the 60’s would pay a lot to get one again. --- Don’t know how that worked out?


            You can comment below.  What is the plant?

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Raspberries and Hanging Baskets

'wittle' Hanging Houseplants in Production


What does a raspberry have to do with a hanging basket?


            Since I like red raspberries, I buy them often.  You can get them almost every week of the year.  How can they do that?


            Natural grown raspberries give one-two crops a year.  Eat all you can, then wait till next year.


            All the supermarket red raspberries that I’ve eaten are brought to you by Driscoll’s {all we do is berries}, the apparent dominant brand in berries.


            How does a minor brand exist?  You don’t care about Driscoll unless you care about berries.  Then if you’re going to buy a berry, may as well buy a Driscoll --- they’ve been good in the past.  Besides, you don’t know of any other brands.


            Can houseplant hanging baskets be dominated by ‘wittle’ Hanging Houseplants originated by Gary’s Specialty Plants?


            What are the parallels?  Minor product with no established brand name.  The brand name could be promoted in reverse.  You see the ‘wittle’ hanging houseplant, then notice the brand you never heard of.  The next time you want a small hanging basket you look for ‘wittle’.


            If it works for raspberries, it can work for hanging houseplants.

Sunday, November 1, 2020

The Anniversary Issue

Sinningia 'Li'l Georgie' - The life time project


The Anniversary Issue


            I missed the April anniversary story.  The plan never worked.  I was going to write it early, then on time, then a little later.


            So here it is.


            Started in April 2012, I have eight years done and moving into the ninth year.  Check other blogs, most can’t do that.  So, I have longevity.


            For me, it is incredibly difficult to find a topic, write with focus, type, and publish.


            My blog is about plants, but I can’t help but lean into philosophy.  I reject hundreds of ‘points of view’ in my head because --- who cares what I think.


            I have plant people ask for more information about ‘plant culture’.  I find that very boring and difficult because everyone’s environment is different.  Maybe someday.


            Anniversaries are for reflecting --- Past and future.


            I’ve had phases of Streptocarpus, Sinningias, and Primulina.  Then Strings of Things.  We constantly chase the hot new plant --- It’s where the money is.


            The future is the most interesting.  Sinningias need to come back.  Garden Centers are begging for them.  String of Hearts ‘Pretty Pink’ will be a gold mine if supply can be created.


            Who knows what new ‘hot’ plant will pop up?  By definition, there will be a shortage.


            Peperomias are hiding in the weeds.  There are hundreds of species and they ‘live’ as houseplants --- always a good value.  And we’ve barely touched Begonias --- one of the old original houseplants.


            Some of my blog stories strike me as very good.  Some --- who cares?  But you don’t know which is which, before you write.


            Seth Godin, genius blogger, knows --- Good ideas come from bad ideas.


            Happy Anniversary!

Wednesday, October 21, 2020




                   What's better than one handsome rooster?

                     Twin handsome roosters.

Sunday, October 18, 2020

We'll see!

                                                     Kevin Cohn

We’ll see.


            This story is copied without permission.  You can give the author full credit and see what he is applying it to at: .



“We’ll See.”

Once upon a time, on a fine fall morning, an old farmer went out to tend his animals and crops.

At first light, the farmer was dismayed to see his fence had been crushed by a falling tree during the night. All three of the farmer’s prized horses had disappeared.

The other villagers moaned in sympathy: “Whatever will you do?” they asked the farmer. “This is terrible,” they all cried, shaking their heads sadly, “and right before harvest time, too.”

“Your harvest will rot in the field. What will your family eat this winter? How will you get your crop in without horses?” one of the villagers asked the old farmer.

“We’ll see,” was the farmer’s only reply as he returned to his chores.

Later on that morning, the farmer heard the sound of hooves and, looking up, saw his three horses had returned! What was more, the three horses had two wild horses running with them.

Soon, the villagers were heard to express their delight at the farmer’s good fortune.

“What a wonderful thing to have happen!” the other villagers cried. “What a wealthy man you will be with this new stock of animals!”

“We’ll see,” was all the old farmer would reply.

After lunch that day, the farmer’s son was trying to break one of the wild horses to the saddle. Suddenly, the wild horse threw the son to the ground. Running to his injured son, the farmer found his son’s leg badly broken.

The neighbors were soon around to give their opinions.

“What a terrible calamity,” the villagers said. “What a disaster.”

“Now you really won’t be able to get your crop in, without a strong son to help you. He will take months to heal. Whatever will you do now?” the other villagers asked the farmer in despair.

The farmer would only shrug and say: “We’ll see.”

Later that afternoon, military officials rode into the tiny village, with a great clattering of weapons and jostling of horses. Looking grim and serious, the soldiers announced an official conscription. Every young and able man was to be drafted into service that very day.

The farmers son, having just been injured, was left behind, even as other sons and husbands were taken.

No one in the village could believe the old farmer’s good fortune. And not everyone was entirely happy about it.

“Surely the most tremendous good fortune has smiled upon you today,” the villagers grumbled. “How can anyone be so lucky?”

But the old farmer would only reply, “We’ll see.”

The End



The parable applies to my plant world this year.  We were doomed and then we weren’t.


            Will the houseplant boom continue into 2021?


            We’ll see!