May 1st is here. There is still some planting going on, but the majority of the work in wholesale is moving plants. Plants have been getting moved from planting lines to benches to houses and finally outside. Even once set down in a house, they often get moved once or twice – as some things ship out, and small spaces open in various areas, plants get moved to consolidate and create larger open spaces – only to be filled within 30 minutes by another set of plants.
Another significant group of plants getting moved around are all the tropicals. Over the past 4 weeks, at least 7 trucks (large 18-wheelers) have arrived loaded with tropical plants from Florida. Each time a truck arrives, the crew first has to move anything and everything out of the loading dock to make room for the new material. Then the truck gets unloaded. These plants do not arrive in boxes, on carts, or on pallets that can be rolled off the trucks. Every plant in a pot larger than 6 inches has to be carried off the truck manually – one at a time. It can take hours with many people helping to get everything off a truck. And then each item needs to have the brown paper wrap removed to identify the plant and get a label on It. At first, the plants are packed tightly together to make sure everything gets off the truck. Then the plants get moved again to be spread out. And many get moved again to be placed outside before the next truck arrives.
This is a prime example of why teamwork and communication are important in any operation, and our team is one of the best.
The fall and holiday seasons have flown by and the wholesale crew continues to be hard at work. The mums planted in the 9-inch pots last summer sold well throughout the fall season – we had an increase in sales over the 2019 season (before COVID hit us); 80% of those mums were shipped out to commercial landscape customers and the remainder were sold through our retail centers.
Pansy and viola sales were also strong this year, and they have not stopped. We will ship out the last 35 trays of 6 inch yellow violas to a customer tomorrow morning! While pansies and violas are always the most dependable annual, their popularity is spiking among customers planting their own gardens.
The poinsettia crop was a great one this year. Sales in 4.5-inch and 6.5-inch were a bit lower than previous years, but 8-inch sold out and 10-inch sales were up from the past 2 years – guess that means consumers are looking for bigger poinsettias in their homes during the holidays season.
As the fall sales wound down, we began to see exciting upgrades to our greenhouses. New plastic roofs were installed by our wholesale managers and their team. That crew is quite efficient at removing the old roofs, pulling on the new poly film, and making it secure. Additionally, new Polycarbonate walls are getting installed by Greenstreet’s facility team. The results are already amazing.
Even before the Holiday sales were in full swing, our Liners business began to pick up for the Spring 2022 season. Unrooted cuttings have been arriving for planting into plug trays. In the month of December, we had over 61,300 unrooted cuttings arrive via express shipping – most of them from Central America. Our crew has planted them into plug trays or into an oasis medium. Furthermore, our team has also been taking cuttings of many non-patented items that we propagate on-site – such as Lysimachia, Marguerite Potato vine, Lantana New Gold, and more.
In the main office, we have officially completed our 2022 Spring/Summer Wholesale Catalog and sent it to the printer – copies should be here soon! If you can’t wait til then, download a pdf copy from our website.
This may be the closest Wholesale comes to having a “slow” season – but they are already gearing up a spring season that will be here all too soon.