What plants go over well at your sales?

mrs.b_in_wy(5a WY)February 12, 2011

Hello all,

I'm a MG intern, hoping to graduate this fall/winter. The plant sale is May 21, and I'm looking for ideas for things to take.

There are a few things from our yard that might be appreciated (i.e. rooted cuttings from grapes, the Russian flowering almond, Bittersweet, etc.), but I have more veggie varieties than anything (mainly tomatoes, peppers and squash). I've also learned over and over that my idea of wonderful isn't everyone's idea of wonderful. For example, my dear friend admitted she threw away her Black Cherry tomatoes because "they didn't look right."

We've been assured that anything we want to bring that is healthy and not too young will be happily accepted, but I'm interested in others' experiences about what has been popular at your own sales.

Thanks so much for any input!

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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

Almost anything in bloom will sell. I always(when available)bring plants not found in the usual nurseries. I always go along with my plants to answer questions regarding plants not generally familiar. All my plants offered are in at least one gallon nursery pots. To have plants available I have to start a year ahead. Al

    Bookmark   February 20, 2011 at 10:10AM
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nmgirl(8 S.NM)

Cheap ones. Our buyers seem fairly indiscriminate and want bargains.
For some reason grasses, cacti, agaves and other xeric plants are traditionally poor sellers. Which is a shame since that's what we need to grow here. It tells me most of our customers are new to the area and have no idea what to plant.
We sometimes have luck with herbs. We're considering offering 3 gallon pots of herbs, esp. basil, this next sale. Have 2-3 healthy plants per pot and no planting involved. The customer can take it home and use it as is. We're hoping it'll go over well with apartment/condo/no yard/small yard people.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2011 at 10:47AM
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Last year we had a lot of requests for vegetables, however I am the only avid vegetable grower in our group. So I decided to start some heirloom seeds for the sale this year, including tomatoes, ancho peppers, and cucumbers.

In the past we have purchased flats of annuals to sell, but we found we cannot compete with the box stores and they are simply not worth the trouble unless one of your members decides to grow something special from seed.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2011 at 8:32AM
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Hi. From my experience of propagting poinsettia we had high profits and they rooted quite fast. People want started veggies for the most.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2011 at 10:45PM
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mrs.b_in_wy(5a WY)

Thank you calistoga, nmgirl and zuni for your helpful advice. I'm sorry for my delay in thanking you as well. I've been madly sowing, potting, digging, etc. and wandered away from the computer for the last few months.

Calistoga - Taking things in bloom makes sense. Too bad I won't have anything like that. Lots of Buddleia davidii germinated and is potted up (something like 35 pots left even after a mini seedling swap and my own planting out a couple weeks ago). They're probably too little to sell this year (2"-3" high right now). Maybe I can keep them over the winter.

NMgirl - Cheap makes sense as well. I've no idea how the local group likes to price things. People around here do seem interested in herbs, so maybe some of my extras would be welcome. The herb pot idea really sounds like a good one. Good point about the xeric varieties. They'd probably be the way to go for a lot of people here, too.

Zuni - Veggies are kind of my addiction as well. The kitchen table is covered with pots of squash, watermelon, cantaloupe, corn and cucumber right now since the back patio is still too cold to leave those guys out over night. The tomatoes got kicked out several weeks ago, though. The peppers sulked when I tried that with them, so they went back to being house pets again :) Hopefully customers at your sale will be thrilled with seeing heirloom varieties and snap them up. Heirloom or simply open pollinated is pretty much all I started. I hope all the "weird" names don't scare people away. I'm thinking of taking along a few catalogs that list several of the varieties I end up taking in order to give people a reference.

Thank you again to all for your input!


    Bookmark   May 4, 2011 at 11:08PM
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mrs.b_in_wy(5a WY)

Thanks also to TheMasterGardener1. Doing poinsettia cuttings sounds like an interesting project. I'll keep that in mind for next year. With luck, these next couple weeks will warm up and let the veggies do a little more growing such that they're a nice size by sale time.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2011 at 11:23PM
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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

For our spring sale we had over 1600 tomato and pepper plants. All the local nurseries were also full of tomatoes, yet we sold out. Our secret is we had 56 varieties of tomatoes, most of which the public never heard of, but they were anxious to give them a try. We sold hundreds of geraniums we had started from cuttings in the fall and were blooming in four inch pots. We printed up several sheets with descriptions of the tomato varieties and put them in separate binders so customers could study and decide which they wanted to try. We also ask all buyers to add their email addresses to a list so we can email them ahead of our next plant sale. Al

    Bookmark   May 7, 2011 at 9:34AM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

The Master Gardener spring plant sale here in my area made a big feature out of tomato plants etc. also. Vegetables and cheap? donated ornamentals. That's what I got from their promotional web pages, anyway - I've never been to their sales.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2011 at 12:44AM
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zzackey(8b GA)

We rented booth space to other vendors so we were kinda limited in what we could sell. Trying not to compete with them! Several people wanted to buy our herbs that we had for display only. The herb lady cancelled at the last minute! Anything flowering. Blueberry and blackberry plants went well. People here really aren't that into foliage plants or anything not flowering!

    Bookmark   August 3, 2011 at 7:20PM
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jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

If it's not flowering, have a picture of one doing so.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2011 at 6:19AM
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madabouteu(8A - central Alabama)

We keep getting requests for "stuff not at the big box stores". Also, heirloom tomatoes sell well, much better than the hybrids sold at the big box stores - Cherokee Purples sell very well! In Wyoming, early maturing heirlooms might be the best to grow. Unlike nmgirl, I found succulents sell fairly well here in humid Alabama, but I take care to offer ones that do well in our environment.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2011 at 7:05PM
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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

We had our fall plant sale a week ago. I had about 20 polyanthus tuberosa in one gallon pots. Only a couple were in bloom, some had bloom stems started. With the blooming samples(marked sold to be able to keep them for display)we were able to sell most of the others, with instructions given to assure they would bloom. Very few had ever seen or smelled a blooming tuberose, and they were pleased to find them for sale. I already have another 20 started for next years fall sale. Al

    Bookmark   October 23, 2011 at 9:45AM
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poppa(z5 MA)

Bittersweet? You'd really do that to someone?

    Bookmark   March 26, 2012 at 11:20PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

I'm a former MG and an active member of several clubs, two of which had regular plant sales. We did great with the dwarf conifers (& other dwarf trees & shrubs) that come in a variety of selections from Iseli Nursery in Oregon. I and a friend would order 100 plants (5 selections of 20 4" plants) every year and sell out in 2 days in an art fair setting. They come in 4" pots and are so cute when you get them they literally sell themselves.


    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 1:47PM
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napapen(ca 15)

The Napa Ca group is concentrating on Tomatoes of many varieties. Sold out this year at the first sale 2013.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2013 at 5:36PM
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