Smithers-Oasis North America Design Director Sharon McGukin, AIFD, AAF, PFCI
enjoys sharing floral tips and techniques for celebrating life with flowers.
2021 is the year of the green plant
This plant phenomenon is both trendy and timeless. While flower shops have always sold green plants, we haven’t seen interior plant popularity take roots like this since the 1970’s.
What’s the key to this revival of plant popularity?
Plants are a good value and the perfect choice for long-lasting designs. They are an inexpensive way to bring natural style and fresh air to a room. Fresh air?
Yes! Thanks to respiration, plants take in carbon dioxide to create energy and give off oxygen. People take in oxygen to create energy and give off carbon dioxide. Energetically we make good, healthy roommates.
Studies prove that we are healthier and happier when living with plants. Being in touch with our foliage-bearing friends calms us down. Lowers the heart rate. Improves our focus. Encourages exercise while we tend an abundance of indoor and outdoor plants. Adds beauty to our personal space.
How can you connect earth-friendly plants with eco-conscious customers in your floral business?
Promote plants via social media
Showcase interesting plants online via social media and video clips.
For some people, plants are like pets. Encourage them to adopt more.
- Introduce new varieties; revisit old favorites.
- Share fun foliage facts and plant parenting tips.
- Post photos of fast, easy eco-chic plant decor.
Up to date on your plant nomenclature? No? Google, is your friend! Look online for botanical names, history, and care & handling tips to share with plant-buying customers.
How-to’s for Hoyas
Create ‘care cards’ to send home with newly adopted plants.
Shoppers love stories, so share some. For example, this hoya plant doesn’t like to sit in water. Suggest adding small gravel, pumice, or perlite inside the slate-colored 6.5-inch tall Quart Tapered Cylinder to support a 4-inch plant pot and provide water drainage to keep his toes (roots) dry.
Did you know this ECOssentials pot is made from agricultural harvest byproducts? Straw, bamboo skin, corn coffee husks, etc. It’s natural color and chiseled vertical grooves provide the look of stone, but it’s lightweight. It offers a good space for growing roots.
speaking of roots
One popular trend that’s taking root quickly in the houseplant world is rooting plants in glass vases of water.
Kevin Ylvisaker AIFD, CAFA created a rooting system using a series of 7.5-inch budvases. He made a cedar platform for the center of his table in a sunlit room. He drilled holes in the platform to hold the glass vessels. He filled each vase with water and ivy cuttings.
What other ways can we share the beauty of a growing plant? Showcase the plant’s bulb and root system as a design element.
Plants under glass
We use glass vases for fresh flower arrangements. Why not plants?
Try making these long-lasting, fragrant Spring designs from a 6-inch pot of hyacinths. Take one hyacinth stem.
- Clean the soil from its bulb and roots.
- Add stones and a bit of water in the base of a 7.5-inch cylinder.
- Set the hyacinth bulb on top of the stones.
Create the same style using a 7.5-inch Hurricane vase with tulip or daffodils blooms and bulbs.
For another interesting hyacinth design:
- Fill ¾ of a small-sized Paragon vase with fresh water.
- Set a hyacinth bulb atop the cinched-in section of the vase.
- Place the flower vase in a sunlit area and watch the roots grow.
What cool design ideas can you share for planting blooming plant bulbs in glass?
Kevin shares his plant-parenting ideas in the video below.
Recommend low-maintenance plants to first-time Plant Parents so they’ll enjoy plant parenthood.
Like this easy-to-please pothos. Commonly called “Devil’s Ivy,” he’s happiest in indirect sunlight, water, and a pot with good drainage.
Live plants need a drainage hole and plant saucer, or a layer of charcoal (or pebble-sized rocks) for proper water drainage. Kevin suggests using a clear Lomey dish for the plant saucer; a 6-inch clear Lomey for the Ellipse vase and a 9-inch Lomey for the Ellipse planter.
Rigid, durable, and lighter than ceramic, ECOssentials are sturdy enough to have a drainage hole drilled into their base. “They look like stone and may feel hard as a rock when you try to drilling a drain hole into one,” says Kevin.
He used a Titanium Coated Drill bit to make drain holes in the ECOssentials he used. To save time, he drills all of the containers at once. He then shared another creative idea.
in floral foam
Kevin followed these steps:
- Wrap the orchid’s roots and soil in a ball of moss.
- Secure with bind wire.
- Place the kokedama in an ECOssentials Designer Dish.
- Position deer antlers as an armature to hold it in place.
- Add color and texture with a pair of amethyst geodes.
The Kokedama can also be hung in a sunny window.
Plant-lovers enjoy getting their hands dirty. A ‘how-to’ session creating a kokedama is perfect for a socially-distanced hands-class, online DIY video, or step-by-step instructions in your blog. Can you kokedama?
Did you know you can root plants in floral foam?
Here’s an easy way to propagate plants in foam.
- Place a 10.5-inch Midnight Design Ring inside an 11 ¾-inch ECOssential Designer Dish.
- Place plant cuttings deep into the wet floral foam.
- Allow cuttings to grow a root system.
- Cut the rooted foam into slices; replant in the soil of larger pots.
Color group plants
Color group plants for greater visual impact.
Mix colorful foliage plants or blooming plants with green plants, succulents, cacti, or carnivorous plants. Tin containers are perfect for these plant combos. The plants have different water needs? Simply use a separate liner for each one.
Plan an outdoor “plant party” for your next big shipment of plants. Socially-distance the customers, but not the plants. Advertise a ‘grab & go’ plant sale, in advance.
No greenhouse on site? Set up a tent filled with tables and benches and plants of all sizes and prices. From succulents to areca palms, price and label each plant by name. Use signage to relate the health and environmental benefits of plants and how to care for them.
What other in-store small, masked-group plant activities can you offer?
- Terrarium Bar
- Plant Potting Bar
- ‘Grab & Go’ Plant Potting Kits
- Hands-on Planting Classes
- DIY Herb gardening
- Children’s ‘Playing in the dirt’ plant-potting events
These interactive opportunities share the importance of living with plants. Groom future customers by offering in-store or online children’s events that teach plant appreciation.
My eight-year old granddaughter and I often discuss the connection between people and plants. Yet, every visit she looks at my ficus trees and says “I still don’t understand why you have trees inside your house!” Sharing with children the natural connection between people and plants trains future customers.