'Make me a good, but cheap mix of plants for our promo week.' This used to be the way German retailers ask growers to fill the shelves of their supermarket. However, nowadays more and more retailers ask for new and special varieties to differentiate their mix from their competitors. And this offers opportunities for the growers. German perennial grower Stephan Plesse of dieter denzer gartenbau, for example, can sell its mixes for higher prices when adding more 'special' plants. These plants are often propagated by cuttings or tissue culture instead of than seeds.

The team of dieter denzer.

"First, we only saw this trend at the large garden centers", says Plesse. "A lot of our products go to a large German garden center and since the retailers and DIY stores started to offer plants too, this garden center is asking for different and more special varieties to differentiate itself from these retailers and DIY stores. However, over the last two years, we see this drive to differentiate from the competition also among the retailers."

In contrast to garden centers who buy individual plants, German retailers work with mixes that are already prepared by the grower. Plesse explains how German retailers fill their shelves with plants: "A retailer asks us to make a list of different perennials for a certain week. Then, we will select the varieties, make a list and propose it to the retailer. The retailer will check the list and gives his go or no go."

Picture on the left: the 20 ha sized growing area of dieter denzer gartenbau. Picture on the right: ASTER DUMOSUS in dieter denzer's new pots. The slogan of this pot is "Let’s swing“. "We have chosen for this name because the pot is curvy and this year we celebrate our 40th anniversary."

'A good but cheap mix of products.' According to Plesse, this used to be their most often heard request from the retailers. As price is an important factor for the retailer, it is for the grower too. "And this often puts us in a difficult position as we have to offer a healthy, strong, compact and above all cheap product that fits to the current trend and needs to be ready on time. Consequently, this limits us in our choices when deciding what to grow for the next season. New or special varieties are often more expensive, due to the fact that they are grown from cuttings instead of seed, because they have a more expensive license and/or are stronger, more colourful and voluminous. So, when offering too many of these varieties, the retailers will lose their interest as the prices will be too high. However, we have to keep offering the retailers an interesting assortment. Therefore, despite the fact that these varieties are more expensive, we still use this varieties to upgrade our assortment. We have to find a balance, but we are often the one who delivers more than what is paid for."

Fortunately, offering a similar list of products to several retailers is not 'the norm' anymore and this offers opportunities for growers. "Over the last two years, we increasingly receive request from retailers to offer them a mix with some special or new varieties that will differentiate them from their competitors. Then, we take this opportunity to offer them the new and more special varieties that are often a bit more expensive. In this way, the retailer can offer a 'unique' assortment and we receive higher prices for our mixes. So, it's a win-win situation."

For more information
dieter denzer gartenbau
Stephan Plesse
Email: stephan.plesse@denzer.de