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Re: Breeders' Rights

You asked for my opinion, and that doesn't happen too often, so I can't
give up yet, but it seems to me that we may just be talking past each
other here, because I still have the same questions.

halinar@open.org wrote:

> Chick:
> Three dollars wholesale isn't the same as three dollars retail.  I
> would probably offer it for $15 to $20 retail for a decent size plant.
> However, if I can wholesale it then I can keep selling it year after
> year without having to deal with hundreds or thousands of customers.

I understand that. I sell wholesale too and I sell plenty of plants for
three dollars or less.  The plants I sell at $3.00 are older varieties
that I have too many of, that won't stop multiplying, and I need to sell
them or throw them in the compost.  What I don't do is go looking for new
plants to sell for $3.00.  If you think your plant is worth $15-20 retail,
I don't understand why you can only get $3 for it wholesale.

> At the wholesale level there are few hostas that are worth three
> dollars or more.  Some hostas go for a little as 50 cents and that's
> for a large eyed single fan.

I'm getting the impression that either you are wholesaling to wholesalers,
which is a whole different animal, or you are in a very different market
from me.  It is not hard to find good, newer hostas retailing for $15-25
here at local garden centers here, and these plants are not wholesaled at
$3.00.  If they were, retailers would be marking them up 5-8 times cost.
One of our biggest wholesalers in this area, lists about 80 hostas, only 5
of them selling for $3.00.  Nothing below that.  These folks deliver in
tractor trailers and have a $1000 minimum order, so they are not selling
to niche markets.  I would estimate that the average wholesale for a good
plant is $5-8.

If you are selling to Walmart type stores, you are asking the wrong
person, if you are wholesaling to other wholesale growers, it seems to me
that you are competing with the Dutch and the tc labs, and I wouldn't know
anything about that either, except I don't envy you.

> >Why not just grow a good plant that's already available in tc?
> And who am I going to sell it to?  Besides that there will be lots of
> other people selling the same plant.  I don't have any intention of
> specializing in hostas at the reatil level and competiting with all
> the collectors who already put out a catalog.  Even at the wholesale
> level it's difficult because the buyers already have their vendors
> they buy from, so they don't jump to a new grower that easily.

Ok, maybe I'm reading too much between the lines, but from all you've
said, I just don't understand your situation. Maybe your plant is not as
ordinary as you make it sound to me.  The fact that you are not impressed
with hostas makes it hard for me to guess how good your plant is, but I
have to admit that it's hard for me to picture another Francee sport that
would compare with what I consider very good, but readily available

It seems to me that you are saying that you can't grow a really good plant
because somebody is already growing all those and selling them for $3.00.
So I'm sitting here thinking, is somebody selling Showboat or Robert
Frost, for example, for $3.00?  These are two hostas that I consider very
good plants, not offered at wholesale in my area by anyone I can find.  If
they are available at $3.00,  you are dead meat because why would anyone
buy your ordinary plant if they can get these two for the same price?  And
I just may hop in my truck and make a buying trip out to your area.  (I
was going to suggest you grow Lakeside Kaleidoscope just to irritate Mary,
but I decided not to press my luck.)

So, if we can assume that nobody is really growing these plants for $3.00,
then you must be saying that nobody would pay more than $3.00 wholesale
for them.  If that's the case, you are selling to a tough crowd and I
wouldn't want to be in your area.  Where the hell are you anyway?  Maybe
there is no market for really good hostas in your area.

But if people would pay $4-5 for a really good hosta, as I think they
would in most places, it seems to me that you would be better off growing
a better plant.  If you have 50 plants of your Francee now, it would cost
about $150 to replace your stock with Robert Frost and grow that instead.
Once you have the stock, It costs just as much to grow a mediocre hosta as
a great one.

If you really can't get more than $3.00 for Robert Frost, then I just
don't understand your market and you should probably be asking Bill Meyer
for advice.


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