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Re: Mail Order Nurseries/ plants

Well, Jim, of all of us, only Gene could actually talk about pricing
plants:-)  I'm sure it's not an easy task.

I think my major problem with the big box stores is that they sell so
much stuff improperly labeled or incorrectly named.  They are mostly
dealing in the every-day sorts of plants (tho' sometimes offer things
you'd never expect to find there), which is just fine tho' it means
that smaller concerns have got to specialize or die, really - can't
compete with the prices on some of the plants I've seen at, say Lowes
or Home Depot.  I buy from them occasionally - got some rather nice
hosta this year for quite low prices, as a matter of fact. 

Given what Patricia said about growing for WalMart; think if I were a
wholesale grower for them I'd want to get out of the business....talk
about micro-management.  Argh!

Around here, if you don't get to the plants about the day they
arrive, they turn into very sad puppies quickly and sit there moaning
at you while they die.  I think your area may be a bit different from
where I am in that regard.

Marge Talt, zone 7 Maryland
Editor:  Gardening in Shade
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> From: james singer <jsinger@igc.org>
> Marge, Gene, Kitty, Noreen, all.
> Very enjoyable and enlightening discussion. One point I did not see
> maybe overlooked], however, is the impact that competition has on 
> pricing. Recently, the local Wal-Mart put many of the standards 
> [ixoras, dwarf indian hawthorn, hibiscus, et cetera, et cetera] on
> at $5.00 per 3-gallon pot for one of their semi-annual weekend
> lot extravaganzas. Within hours, Home Depot had dropped the price
> the same plants to $5.00, a "Manager's Special for This Weekend
> it said.
> At the nursery where I work, we don't monitor competitors' prices,
> our plants are often twice the price of the discounters'. But we're
> in the business of selling plants. We sell landscapes and plants
> part of it but by no means most of it. [Many clients spend more on 
> their cobblestone driveway than on their backyard.]
> It would seem to me that if you are a mail-order nursery, you have
> double squeeze. First, your advertised price can't be too different

> from what the other guys in your cohort are asking for the same
> [or nearly the same thing--but if you're growing on from liners, 
> someone else is growing on from the same liners], and second, when 
> shipping costs are piled on plant costs, the resulting price still
> to be competitive with a local up-scale nursery.
> I'd also like to say something in favor of the discounters. They
> seem to get the bulk of their plants from Monrovia or Hines or
> These are good growers of acceptable quality plants. Standard
> but nice plants. Many of the locals also get their standard stuff
> Monrovia or Hines or both. What you get at the discounters is
> stock--no matter how inattentive staff is, the plants don't usually
> on the bench long enough to be adversely impacted by ignorance or 
> neglect. Volume marketing means what it says, selling a lot of
> Island Jim
> Southwest Florida
> Zone 10

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