The true difference between The Greenery and bargain box store plants.
The main assumption made is that The Greenery Difference = $. When comparing different plant brands, Jay DeGraff the owner of The Greenery, doesn’t deny there is a small $ difference, but clarifies the reasons why. We spent an hour and a half talking about this subject, but I will try and sum it up using the 5 W’s.
Who sells the plants makes the difference.
Jay has 27 employees on staff, some who have been schooled and/or have experience in horticulture, forestry and the latest gardening practices. He also makes a point of paying his employees higher than the minimum in order to encourage their growth in the field and to provide a much needed service to the community.
When you need your question answered at a box store, most likely you’ve played a game of Hide and Seek trying to locate an employee only to be disappointed by their best answer – “read the label on the plant.”
What is the difference between The Greenery and box store plants?
His immediate answer was simple – Quality. He then quoted George, the original founder (in 1969!) of The Greenery, who said “You don’t build a house without a good foundation.” In plant terms, the foundation he is referring to is the soil. The Greenery’s plant foundation includes a well-balanced, good draining soil with optimum moisture control, nutrient specific fertilizers designed to continually feed the plants while giving you an optimum performance. Bravo! Also, The Greenery only uses “clean” soil. Clean soil? I know, it seems like an oxymoron but it means their soil is free of certain noxious weeds and pests so they don’t invade your yard!
When comparing quality plant brands (such as Monrovia) and low-end plant brands (such as Sun Spot) sold at box stores, the plant foundation of low-end brands include low grade soil and soil fillers such as sawdust. Another dirty secret is their soil is not “clean”. Just think of all the weed seeds and pernicious pests waiting just beneath the surface ready to divide and conquer your newly planted yard. So, I’m sure you’re still wondering, “Why do their plants look so good?” The “nutrition” their plants receive is applied through their watering system, which is why they still look decent on the shelf. However, when you take it home and put it in the ground it may fail to thrive because it’s “vitamin” water is no longer being applied. How long would you last on a diet of stale bread and vitamin water?
When plants are sold makes a difference with how they will grow.
They carry and sell plants when it is an appropriate time of year for specific plants. When staff are asked why they don’t have a particular plant in stock, they will enlighten you as to why this would be a bad time of year for them to carry it as well as for you to plant it. They will happily take down your name and info. to notify you when the plants arrive and it’s safe to plant!
They don’t care when plants are being sold, just as long as they sell. Anything and anytime just to make a buck. Also, some stores don’t even have to pay for the plants sitting on their shelves until after the consumer purchases it. It is guaranteed $ for them with no product liability which is another reason they can lower the cost.
Where the plants are grown makes a huge difference.
They buy their plants from growers within California and few from Oregon. Actually, 75% of the green goods sold at The Greenery came from growers within a 50 mile radius. Their main bedding plant grower is in Ripon. If the plants are started in Ripon, they definitely have a great chance of thriving in the Central Valley.
These stores get their plants from anywhere in the country. No wonder why they have an assortment of beautifully blooming plants for sale in the dead of winter. I dare you to plant a Florida grown plant in the Central Valley right now. If it survives it would be a miracle…grown plant.
Why spend more money on a plant?
You will get a better quality, well taken care of plant that will continue to thrive and add curb appeal to your home year after year, sold by an employer who values his employees and his community. Whew! Deep breath. Also, we’re really only talking about spending a few more bucks.
Why gamble your seed savings on sawdust fed plants, using the self-checkout lane only to take home a plant that may or may not be right for planting here and could possibly shrivel up and die, only to save a few bucks? Or worse, the plant won’t quite grow or won’t quite die, which doesn’t add curb appeal and takes away the possibility of returning it for a refund.
Still not Team Greenery?
Ok, Jay also told me you will get the biggest bang for your buck when buying bedding plants from The Greenery. These are typically annuals that need to perform the year you plant them. Their bedding plants are grown for a longer time before they make it to the shelf for sale, thus having a larger, stronger root system with blooms to match.
They spend all their resources on quickly making their bedding plants look great on top, with no resources put into the foundation and roots of the plant. You would be buying a flat of flowers only for them to fall flat at home. They are pumped full of nitrogen to make them bloom and glow with green, but they have no roots. It would be like going out on a date with someone who is superficial with good looks and great hair. Do you really want to take them home to mom?
Ultimately, Jay spends his resources on growing and selling a quality product, while charging us as little as he possibly can to keep this Turlock grown, shop around the corner, open for us to enjoy. Sure, you might get lucky when growing box store plants, but dig a little deeper and ask yourself “is it truly worth it?”