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How to buy and sell this year-round favorite.

by Monica Humbard

    Alstroemerias, with their long shelf life and broad range of colors, seem seasonless when it comes to their appeal. However, to ensure success, you should consider what colors sell best at different times of year, market variations and highest production times. In addition, we offer recommendations for merchandising them effectively to increase sales.

top color choices
    The top-selling Alstroemeria colors are white, pink and orange, according to Henk van der Voorden, area manager for breeder Könst Alstroemeria B.V. in the Netherlands. He says these colors tend to be in high demand year-round. Debbie Collado, director of mass markets for cut-flower supplier Omniflora Inc., of Norwood, N.J., shares a similar list of year-round favorites but substitutes yellows for oranges.
    Some Alstroemeria colors are more seasonal. Ms. Collado finds that the most popular colors in the spring are lavenders and pinks. Mr. van der Voorden says yellow is a top seller at that time of year but is difficult to sell in winter, especially December.
     In autumn, Ms. Collado sees the demand rise for oranges and yellows. Mr. van der Voorden notices reds become more popular in the fall and into winter.
     As a result of the fluctuation in their popularity, Mr. van der Voorden says yellows and reds are less stable in price. Plus, he says, good red and yellow varieties are more difficult for growers to breed. However, he adds, some better red varieties are expected to be on the market next year.

market variations
     Mr. van der Voorden notes that growers in Colombia, the No. 1 exporter of Alstroemerias to the United States, offer a broader range of varieties than those found in Holland, the No. 3 exporter (Mexico is No. 2). He explains that this is because of the countries’ different climates.
     Mr. van der Voorden sees a tendency in Holland to grow varieties with thicker stems because the growers can command much higher prices. He says the sturdier stems are perceived as being of better quality and are appreciated by florists, especially those whose clientele accept this higher price point.

the best time to buy
     According to Mr. van der Voorden, April and May are the highest production months for Alstroemerias, so you will find the highest-quality products then. “That is a good time to buy lots of Alstroemerias for a reasonable price,” he says.
     However, he adds, good-quality Alstroemerias are available year-round, so the variations in price at different points of the year are not that significant anymore. “Most Dutch growers have lighting in their greenhouses now and can produce enough quantities in wintertime also,” Mr. van der Voorden explains. “Because of that, the winter price is not so high anymore compared to five years ago.”

how to increase sales
     Because the price for Alstroemerias changes little throughout the year, Ms. Collado says most retailers run year-round standing-order programs for the flowers. She says effective standing-order programs include three bunches for $10 or make-your-own bouquets. She recommends offering varied types of bouquets with different Alstroemeria varieties.
     Ms. Collado also suggests highlighting Alstroemerias’ long shelf life and the fact there is a variety for every color scheme. To relate these characteristics to shoppers, she recommends showing stems at varying stages to demonstrate shelf life and merchandising your Alstroemerias in a spectrum of colors to represent their range.
     Mr. van der Voorden insists that the key to increasing Alstroemeria sales is to merchandise them at bud stage to give customers maximum vase life. He also believes large buds that reveal the flowers’ color before they open and fewer leaves at the top of the flower bunches attract more attention and contribute to higher sales as well. He finds this to be especially true when Alstroemerias are sold in bunches.

Reach Contributing Editor Monica Humbard at (800) 355-8086.

Top Fall Colors

Top Spring Colors
  offer customers potted and garden alstroemerias

    Although mostly known as cut flowers, Alstroemerias also are available as genetically dwarf potted and garden plants. Their wide range of color choices and long life make them good choices for customers who want beauty and value.
    Sandee Loeffler-Sidun, director of marketing for grower Bay City Flower Co., Inc. of Half Moon Bay, Calif., says potted Alstroemerias “make fabulous patio plants for the spring.” The company’s hana bay® Alstroemerias are available from late March to early May, just in time for spring holidays and for customers who are ready to enjoy the outdoors again after the cold winter months. Potted Alstroemerias require high light, so patios or porches are ideal spots for these plants, she points out.
     Ms. Loeffler-Sidun suggests displaying them in a high-light environment or outdoors. She also recommends that retailers “always use informative signage to increase overall floral sales.”
     Könst Alstroemeria of the Netherlands is offering consumers a new line of Alstroemerias for their gardens. Last year, the breeder introduced its Inca Collection of garden Alstroemerias to California-based growers.
     Könst chose California for its suitable growing conditions. The plants grow well in the state’s mild climate and keep flowering the whole season year after year. Könst also has developed varieties that can withstand colder temperatures (around 20 F) for a couple of days, making them suitable for colder regions of the country, reports Joost Hendriks of Könst.
    EuroAmerican Propagators, LLC, will serve as the collection’s exclusive sales agent for the United States. Könst will start selling to all the brokers and growers of EuroAmerican Propagators in the United States next year.



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Florists' Review Enterprises, Inc.